Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, Steve Jobs: What do all these people have in common? They are leaders who jumped into crisis situations regardless of whether they were responsible for resolving the issue. But were these just adrenaline-fueled actions, or were these individuals displaying leadership skills they had nourished for a long time so they could put their best foot forward when the time came?
Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech resonates with people even today. In addition to its emotional appeal, the speech demonstrates fundamental communication skills. It is short but focused, clearly states the plan of action, and uses language that is plain and familiar. It closes with a strong sense of purpose. Follow the link here to assess how strong your communication skills are.
Malala Yousafzai advocates for education and the rights of young girls by listening to stories of girls residing all over the globe. She ensures that she gets insightful feedback from the people she is working for before carrying out any campaigns. As a leader, you must listen to the needs of your team and incorporate what others have to say.
Steve Jobs is a good example of a leader with innovation skills, which enable someone to recognize a great idea and envision the path that leads to its realization. An innovative leader can form a vision around an idea or set of ideas and can share that vision with employees and business partners — as well as the enthusiasm for turning the vision into reality.
These are the top three skills of a successful leader, but they aren’t the only leadership skills that are vital for the growth of your business.
Types of leadership skill assessment tests
A great deal of debate has taken place to decide if leadership is inborn or if leadership skills can be developed. According to Lauren Landry in an article on the Harvard Business School Online’s Business Insights Blog, leadership skills are developed through experience. However, HR leaders must identify these skills at different stages and take the right measures to develop them further. Below are the stages at which HR leaders can make use of different leadership skill assessment tests.
When it comes to hiring, it’s time to ditch the traditional ways of manually screening resumes and switch to data-driven recruitment strategies. Eliminate the guesswork by checking candidates’ potential leadership skills. Candidates with leadership skills have a greater chance of being motivated to succeed and advance within your organization.
However, judging leadership skills is difficult. A pre-employment leadership test based on interview questions and analyzing “what if” scenarios is a common method for assessing leadership skills at this stage.
New employees get a chance to prove their leadership skills in action. That’s the performance stage, which lasts approximately one to two years after being hired.
According to an article in Training Industry Quarterly, “it takes at least 1 to 2 years before an employee is fully productive.” Employees need training and time to figure out how to do their jobs right. Therefore, the next assessment must take place after this period has passed.
At this stage, a leadership skill assessment test can ensure that employees are willing to grow and take on further responsibilities in the organization. You can assess leadership skills by analyzing performance reviews from an employee’s superiors and team members that could share insights on how their colleague is coping with tasks and adapting to the company culture.
Another step in the leadership hierarchy is when an employee becomes a change agent: someone prepared for external challenges and constantly evolving to meet current job market needs. Fred C. Lunenburg, in his article “Managing Change: The Role of the Change Agent,” describes a change agent as “anyone who has the skill and power to stimulate, facilitate, and coordinate the change effort.”
In the production stage, the leaders have started applying their solutions to problems and have been able to produce successful results. At this stage, HR assesses leaders through readiness assessment tests, understanding of company goals, technical skills assessment (in case job roles have become more digitalized), and knowledge assessment tests.
At this stage, employees are supposed to pass all assessments and be responsible to lead a team. However, with continuously evolving work methods, changing stakeholder requirements, and disruptive technologies, leaders must constantly develop new ways to lead with optimum impact and efficiency. Check out our leadership development plan for an outline of the key steps to boost leadership expertise.
Conduct leadership skill assessment tests by analyzing survey feedback from the team and higher management, conflict management skills, knowledge-sharing abilities, external connections made, and achievement of company goals.
Leaders who have been in the organization for more than 8 to 10 years come in the visionary stage. Visionary leaders demonstrate robust leadership skills and facilitate organizational effectiveness. However, to foster a successful workplace environment, visionary leaders must take an active part in fostering management and leadership skills to improve their abilities and talent for communication and creative thinking.
James Kouzes and Barry Posner’s leadership practices inventory is an example of an efficient leadership skill assessment test.
HR needs to be a driving force in leadership skills development
Even if organizations don’t have immediate obvious issues, it’s important to lay down a strategy to develop leadership in the long term. Nurturing leadership skills starts from screening a prospective candidate and continues through recruitment, onboarding, and developing a retention strategy, all the way to planning leadership succession.
Contact us to learn about how we can help you set up people-centered leadership strategies so you can cultivate efficient leaders in your organization.