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My company recently administered a leadership assessment (test) for a cross section of employees.  The Sales Management team (of which I’m a part) was reviewing the assessment of an individual in our organization we’ve deemed ready to be in a Leadership Development Program.  It happened that this person reports to me and quite frankly is an exemplary member of our sales team.  His assessment scores seemed to illustrate that he was more than ready to move to the next level and take on more of a leadership role within our organization.  Almost every attribute (save two) showed a green arrow – suggesting an area of “strength”.  

Naturally (perhaps), I wanted to take this test!  What were my strengths and were there any areas of development I might want to take a look at?  These assessments are relatively new at our company.  I certainly wasn’t part of any leadership development program and didn’t take an assessment test as I was coming up through the ranks.  I’m sure I was “assessed” in some ways when being promoted to my current management role.  

I think I was aware that I didn’t check all the boxes of being a “good” leader.  However, I was rather surprised to see so many magnifying glasses over a red square – denoting a POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT NEED. 

Leadership has been front and center in my mind lately not only due to these assessments (my own and those of my colleagues) but because of “assessments” that are happening within MenLiving and around us ALL the time.  I’m not going to go down a rabbit hole on this post but we as a country have been immersed in round about (and not so round about) “discussions” on what it means to be an effective leader and what it doesn’t for the last 5 yrs – probably like never before.  

I can list 25 things that I THINK are important for a leader.  Basically, I can “assess” who do I want to follow?  What qualities does he or she have?  Or, how do I need or want to show up as a leader.  I can write those ways and qualities down.  You very well may have a different list.  I’m guessing there’d be some similarities and consistency but the list wouldn’t be the same and in the end the list is just a list…of words.  

Does the leader possess these in all cases?  For all scenarios?  What about the essence of the person?  Their experience?  How have they been tested?  And, does the number of people who follow (or vote for) him or her equate to the level of success or the effectiveness of that leader?  

Two areas within the assessment that I found especially enlightening were USE OF POWER AND AUTHORITY (a development area) and WORKING WITH AND THROUGH OTHERS (a strength area).  At first, I thought these two were incongruent.  Almost opposites.  After further contemplation, I see that not to be the case and see the benefits and complementation of these two attributes.  

How are you showing up as a leader in your life?  What attributes attract you to a leader and which would you like to develop further for yourself?  Maybe in your professional life you’re expected to lead and maybe you’re not.  Maybe there’s an assessment test you can take to take a closer look or simply ask a trustworthy friend or colleague for some honest feedback and reflection.  You might learn a thing or two about leadership or at the very least about yourself.  Which is never a bad thing.  

6 Comments

  • Thanks for both the insight and invitation to turn inward and explore how we relate to ourselves as leaders….in partnership, relationship, family, and profession. Aho brother!

  • Chris Lozier says:

    Good stuff, Frank!

  • Tracy Brown says:

    Frank,

    In my job, my leadership strengths and weaknesses are always on full display. It is a constant challenge to be patient and empathetic. It is hard to maintain a high EQ all the time. It can be difficult to be the motivator and inspire people.

    I can’t always check the boxes of being a good leader either but I always make sure to check myself with one question- am I trying to create more leaders or am I trying to generate more followers?

    Thanks for writing the article!

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