Assessments are gaining in popularity and credibility and in the world of executive development, they are now nearly impossible to avoid. Having said that, there is still a fair amount of skepticism that accompanies results. Some of this doubt relates to the over-simplification or categorization of personality. It is rare that any one instrument can shine a light on the complexities of an individual, however, to dismiss results can significantly harm a leader’s career path.

While I have a bias toward using the Hogan Leadership Assessment for executive development and the DiSC for team development, the following tips apply when considering the data that is revealed through any psychometric instrument:

Context is (almost) everything—Statistically significant instruments will rarely deliver skewed results. So if you were having a bad day when you answered the questions, will that impact the outcome? It depends on the instrument, but it’s unlikely. Having said that, the home you grew up in, your office culture and the career you've chosen should be considered as you digest the information.

 For your consideration:

  • What is true about these results?
  • What information are you quick to dismiss?
  • How do these results reflect who you were as a kid or early in your career?

 Make it practical—Assessments are designed by scientists, making some of them not very user friendly. Your coach should be certified in the instrument he or she is administering (complete the Facebook version of Myers Briggs at your own risk) and able to provide practical, useful, meaningful insight into the results.

For your consideration:

  • In the context of your personal life, professional goals and organizational culture, what is important to note about these results?
  • Which results are new for you and which are consistent with feedback you’ve heard in the past?
  • How do these results support your definition of high performance and professional success?

Don’t eat the elephant—Assessment results can be overwhelming, making it easy to avoid the details or the less savory feedback. However, most instruments should highlight 3-5 strengths and challenges for you to prioritize. Align those areas with your personal interest, motivation and organizational needs in order to come up with a reasonable leadership development plan.

For your consideration:

  • What small steps can you take toward applying the development activities recommended within the instrument or by your coach?
  • When and how often can you review your results over the course of a year?
  • How can you track your new behaviors and the related success?

Enlist a partner—Whether or not you have engaged a coach, you should definitely ask your boss or a trusted colleague for support. You don’t need to share your results, but you should consider sharing your development goals and asking for ongoing feedback and help.

For your consideration:

  • How might your results help or hinder your ability to deliver on your goals at work?
  • What strengths could you ‘turn up’ a bit to help mitigate your challenges?
  • What type of feedback would be helpful for you to seek and receive from someone else?

High performance leadership starts with a deep understanding of self, an ability to relate to others and the willingness to shift behavior based on priorities and context. While psychometric assessments are not a silver bullet, they are quickly becoming an essential tool to enabling individuals and teams achieve high levels of leadership effectiveness.

Which assessments have you found the most (or least) useful? How have assessment results changed your leadership style or behaviors? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *