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 the remaining four (of eight) self-assessments to help educate leaders about their natural leadership styles and preferences in order to become more self-aware. Check out the beginning of this series here, and the first four leadership theories and assessments here.
In the previous post, I covered four leadership theories and associated self-assessments. In this post, I continue by presenting the remaining four theories and assessments, and conclude the post with some questions to consider during subsequent reflection.
Path-Goal Leadership Questionnaire
The Path-Goal Leadership Questionnaire stems from the path-goal theory of leadership. This theory is about how leaders motivate followers to accomplish designated goals. The aim of this leadership theory is to enhance follower performance and satisfaction by focusing on their motivation. The theory assumes that there are four behaviors (styles) that leaders can enact. The four behaviors are:
- Directive leadership: a leader who gives followers instructions about their task, what is expected of them, how it is to be done, and the timeline for when it should be completed. A directive leader sets clear standards of performance and makes the rules and guidelines clear to followers
- Supportive leadership: the leadership style that consists of being friendly and approachable; includes attending to the well-being and human needs of followers. Supportive leaders go out of their way to make work pleasant for followers and treat followers as equals, giving them respect for their status.
- Participative leadership: consists of inviting followers to share in decision making. A participative leader consults with followers, obtains their ideas and opinions, and integrates their suggestions into the decisions about how the group or organization should proceed with the task at hand.
- Achievement-oriented leadership: characterized by a leader who challenges followers to perform work at the highest level possible. This style of leadership establishes a high standard for followers and seeks continuous improvement. These leaders also show a high degree of confidence in their followers and feel they are capable of establishing and accomplishing challenging goals.
Take the Path-Goal Leadership Questionnaire here. The questionnaire will report your strong and weak path-goal leadership styles (of the four outlined in the theory) and the relative importance you place on each of the styles. This is also a 360-degree feedback assessment.
Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ)
The MLQ is based off of the transformational leadership theory. Transformational leadership is a process that changes and transforms people, and often incorporates charismatic and visionary leadership. It is concerned with emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals. This theory is highly involved with assessing followers’ motives and satisfying their needs. It requires an exceptional form of influence that moves followers to accomplish more than what is usually expected. Ultimately, transformational leadership is the process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and follower.
Take the MLQ here. Your scores will break down into the seven factors of transformational leadership theory. Factors 1 through 4 are regarded as the four “I’s” of transformational leadership; their descriptions are explained in the questionnaire. Factor 5 (contingent reward) and factor 6 (management-by-exception) are the two factors that create the transactional leadership style. Transactional leaders exchange things of value (pay or benefits) with followers to advance their own (or others’) agenda such as organizational goals. Finally, factor 7 (Laissez-Faire) is considered a non-leadership factor, having little to no influence on followers or what happens within the organization. This is also a 360-degree feedback assessment.
Authentic Leadership Self-Assessment Questionnaire (ALSAQ)
The ALSAQ comes from the authentic leadership theory. The theory, as the name suggests, is concerned with whether leadership is genuine and “real.” The four components of authentic leadership are:
- Self-awareness: (in regard to this theory, it means) the personal insights of a leader; a process in which individuals understand themselves, such as their strengths and weaknesses, and the impact they have on others.
- Internalized moral perspective: a self-regulatory process where individuals use their internal moral standards and values to guide their behavior rather than allow outside pressures to control them.
- Balanced processing: a self-regulatory behavior referring to one’s ability to analyze information objectively and explore other people’s opinions before making a decision. It includes being able to solicit viewpoints from those who disagree with you and fully consider their positions before you make a decision; it requires avoiding favoritism and remaining unbiased.
- Relational transparency: being open and honest in presenting one’s true self to others; it also means being able to control one’s level of transparency too. It involves sharing core feelings, motives, and inclinations with others in an appropriate manner.
Take the ALSAQ here. Scores will report your inherent strength in the four components of authentic leadership.
Servant Leadership Questionnaire
The servant leadership questionnaire stems from the servant leadership theory. The theory assumes that leaders are ethical and lead in ways that best serve the greater good (organization, community, society). Servant leadership emphasizes that leaders be attentive to the concerns of their followers, empathize with them, and nurture them. Servant leaders put followers first, empower them, and help them develop their full personal capacities. These leaders place the good of followers over their own self-interests and emphasize follower development. Based on the theory, there are seven behaviors of servant leaders:
- Conceptualizing: the servant leader’s thorough understanding of the organization. This allows the leader to think through problems, know when something is wrong, and how / when to address such problems.
- Emotional healing: being sensitive to the personal concerns and well-being of others; recognizing others’ problems and being willing to take the time to address them.
- Putting followers first: the defining characteristic of the servant leadership theory; using actions and words to clearly demonstrate to followers that their concerns are a priority. It requires the leader to place followers’ interests and success ahead of their own.
- Helping followers grow & succeed: knowing followers’ professional and personal goals and helping them accomplish those aspirations; servant leaders make followers’ career development a priority.
- Behaving ethically: doing the right thing in the right way; holding to strong ethical standards, including being open, honest, and fair with followers. Servant leaders do not compromise their ethical principles in order to achieve success.
- Empowering: allowing followers the freedom to be independent, make decisions on their own, and be self-sufficient. It is a way for leaders to share power with followers by allowing them to have control.
- Creating value for the community: creating value for the community by consciously and intentionally giving back to the community. This can include being involved in local activities, encouraging followers to volunteer, and so on.
Take the servant leadership questionnaire here. Scores will report your inherent strength in the seven servant leader behaviors. This questionnaire is also a 360-degree assessment tool.
Concluding with Reflection
The ultimate goal is to reflect on the combination of results of the self-assessments (and any 360-degree feedback you are able to receive). During reflection, consider the following questions in an effort to better understand yourself and become more self-aware.
- As you look across your results of the eight different tests, do you notice any trends? Are they positive or negative ones? If negative, what do you need to alter in your leadership style to mitigate certain tendencies?
- Did any of the results surprise you? Why? If an assessment revealed you are weaker in a leadership competency than you thought, what are some immediate actions you can take to improve certain leader behaviors?
- If you are able to receive feedback from others on some of the tests, where your self-assessments congruent with others’ results? If not, how so? Where are the major gaps and what do you need to do to close that?
- Of the eight theories, did any one or two stick out to you in particular as having the highest potential for effectiveness? I encourage you to research that theory (or theories) further to gain a better understanding of the theory. A simple Google search of the theory name can provide a wealth of knowledge.
The next post concludes the Leader Awareness Series with four more assessments. These final tools are not products of the “traditional” academic study of leadership from the last century. They are more contemporary ones, or ones that are not necessarily intended for leadership, but can help in your own leader awareness.
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.).