This is a continuation of the Leader Awareness Series, which addresses the need for leaders to be self-aware. Research proves that the more a leader is self-aware, the higher their performance. Bottom line: the more self-aware you are, the better leader you are. This post addresses four (of eight) self-assessments to help educate leaders about their natural leadership styles and preferences in order to become more self-aware.
As stated in Part I, the academic study of leadership is about a century old. To this point, there are around 15 major leadership theories, each theory having several proprietary models to explain and enact that theory. Below are eight assessments that are based on eight of those theories that best aid in leaders becoming more self-aware.
With each assessment, I outline what it aims to measure and how to interpret scores. I also introduce the theory that the assessment stems from and if that assessment can be used to obtain 360-degree feedback. If I claim the assessment can be used as 360-degree feedback, I recommend readers print out up to five additional copies of that particular assessment and have available superiors, peers, and/or subordinates complete the assessment ON YOU as well. That way, you can compare the results of your self-test to their responses. I know mention of 360-degree feedback may trigger anxiety from Army readers due to the MSAF-360 tool. 360-degree tools mentioned throughout this series are considerably shorter. Most important to stress though, is the value of receiving this type of feedback. I encourage readers interested in this series to be willing to commit to receiving external feedback as part of it in order to achieve the most value possible.
Leadership Trait Questionnaire (LTQ)
The LTQ is based on the trait approach to leadership. Though often challenged as being limited in scope to leadership, the trait theory asserts that effective leaders possess necessary inherent traits. However, different trait theory research has resulted in differing lists of required traits. Over time, five traits common to all related research are: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability.
This questionnaire measures 14 different personal characteristics of leadership that have been determined to be common traits to leadership.
Take the Leadership Trait Questionnaire here. This is also a 360-degree feedback assessment.
Leader Skills Inventory (LSI)
The LSI is based off of the skills approach theory to leadership. The skills approach is a leader-centered perspective that emphasizes certain skills, knowledge, and abilities are needed for effective leadership. These skills and abilities can be learned and developed; they are not necessarily inherent to “natural leaders.”
The questionnaire breaks up answers into three categories of skills: technical skill (knowledge about and proficiency in a specific type of work or activity), human skill (knowledge about and ability to work with people), and conceptual skill (ability to work with ideas and concepts). Technical skill is generally oriented toward management where conceptual skill is more toward leadership.
Leader Behavioral Questionnaire (LBQ)
The LBQ comes from the behavioral approach theory to leadership. The behavioral approach focuses on what leaders do and how they act. The theory determines that leadership is composed of two general kinds of behaviors: task behaviors and relationship behaviors. Task behaviors are focused on accomplishing the goals established, such as organizational ones. Relationship behaviors are ones oriented toward people (members of your team or organization; followers). This type of behavior helps followers feel comfortable with themselves, with each other, and with the situation in which they find themselves. Behavioral approach leadership explains how leaders combine these two kinds of behaviors, task and people, to influence followers in their efforts to reach a goal.
Take the LBQ here. The hyperlink provides you a 22-page document. The LBQ is on page 18 (seen as page 88 on the document), and instructions on interpreting scores are on the following page, 19 (seen as 89). If interested in reading more about the behavioral theory, I recommend reading the whole document; it is an in-depth summary of the theory.
Situational Leadership Questionnaire (SLQ)
The SLQ is based on the Situational Leadership II ® model. The situational approach focuses on leadership in particular situations. The premise of the theory is that different situations demand different kinds of leadership. Thus, to be an effective leader, a person is required to adapt his or her style to the demands of the current situation.
Take the SLQ here. When you total your scores at the bottom of the document (by each column), you will determine which “alternative action” you most naturally use: action 1, 2, 3, or 4. Those numbers associate to a situational leadership style (S1 to S4). So, if you scored highest on alternative action 1, then you are most naturally a S1 type situational leader.
Interpret your scores here. Remember, the model infers that there is a “best type” of leadership to apply based on the current situation. However, the above assessment aims to determine your natural type of the four so you are aware of what style you will inherently gravitate toward. If you score lowest on S3 type, then you are now more aware that this situational leadership style will be the hardest for you to enact if needed.
If you would like to learn more, feel free to check out a great resource textbook: Leadership: Theory and Practice, by Peter Northouse (7th ed.).