Assess Personal Skills for Leading as a Coach/Consultant
OLB 7007, Assignment 5
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Jaime Klein
10 March 2019
Introduction to Skills Assessment
Many researchers have studied the importance of self-assessments by organizational leaders, with many researchers noting that self-aware leaders are more successful (Passmore, Holloway, and Rawle-Cope; 2010). Furthermore, researchers have concluded that regularly conducted behavioral skills assessments translate to increased effectiveness (Sperry, 2013). Given that personality factors also greatly impact leadership performance (Furnham and Stringfield, 1993), it is even more imperative that organizational leaders practice intentional self-awareness to better understand their own hard-wiring and how they interact with employees. The conclusions of multiple researchers support this theory. For example, managers and organizational leaders who utilize their personality and communication strengths to develop trusting relationships with their employees are viewed more favorably (Hunt and Weintraub, 2002). This conclusion is corroborated by Eikenberry (2014) who concluded that strong relationships between leaders and employees results in more honest feedback and assessment. From these researchers, and others, it is concluded that self-assessment of leadership personalities, traits, and skills are necessities for leaders.
The importance of leader self-assessments and peer evaluations are not limited to personal knowledge and relational success. Habermacher, Ghadiri, and Peters (2014) noted that behavioral skills assessments play an important role in shaping the culture of an organization by aligning an effective communication strategy to meet the emotional needs of employees and, ultimately, improve performance and effectiveness. The impact of such assessments is particularly felt when coaches and/or consultants are brought along to facilitate this process. In this sense, self-assessments by the organizational leader and 360-degree feedback from peers and subordinates positively impact the culture of an organization and the satisfaction and performance of individual employees. This conclusion was also reached by Landis (2014) who noted that trust between leader and employee will generate the greatest level of motivation in followers to excel as members of the organization. Due to the building of trust between leader and employee, this style of leadership also creates open and honest lines of communication. As employees are encouraged to communicate and provide input to and about the leader and organization, their input then becomes incorporated into the decision-making processes of the organization. Leaders seeking the benefits of such assessments will also relationally invest in their employees as a result of their genuine care for their well-being which, as Eikenberry (2014) noted, makes the tough and often personal executive decisions required by leadership easier to communicate in the context of relationship.
While many tools for leader evaluation exist, Showry (2014) provides a “Style Questionnaire” designed to offer one type of assessment tool for leadership evaluation. This evaluative tool can be utilized for self-evaluation, peer-evaluation, or a combination of both types. I utilized the Style Questionnaire for both self-evaluation as well as peer-evaluation for this assignment. Firstly, this Style Questionnaire was given to subordinates for input as part of a 360-degree evaluation.
To help increase awareness of personal leadership traits and characteristics, three style questionnaires were completed independently by subordinates and the three assessments were all within 2-3 points of one another. Each questionnaire categorized responses as either “task” or “relationship” and delineated leadership styles as either primarily task-oriented or relationship-oriented. Each category was scored on a scale from very low to very high, with categories including very low, low, moderately low, moderately high, high, and very high. These categories provided a baseline for the leader to understand their leadership style within the larger spectrum of leadership styles. This style questionnaire served as an assessment tool for the leader as a means of increasing self-awareness which could be compared and contrasted with the scores from the self-assessment using the same criteria. The three scores from subordinate assessments were as follows:
Table 1. Subordinate Style Questionnaire Scores
The self-assessment was taken at the same time as the peer-evaluations. The results of the self-assessment were noticeably similar to the scores from the three peer-evaluations completed by subordinates. The scores from the self-assessment of the Style Questionnaire were as follows:
Table 2. Self-Assessment Style Questionnaire Scores
The three scores from these assessments did not yield any unexpected results. The leadership strength of the author has always been relationship development over task fulfillment. When people are treated as the greatest and most valuable resource, relationships will be valued over tasks. This has always been the leadership philosophy of the author and, thus, the results did not provide any surprises. Furthermore, similar assessments and evaluations have previously been submitted to the author by other followers and subordinates which yielded results similar to this questionnaire.
Nevertheless, while relationships receive priority from the author as a leader, organizational progress will not be achieved without the accomplishment and fulfillment of individual and organizational tasks. To become a more effective and efficient leader, an equilibrium must be achieved in balancing the development of relationships and the accomplishment of tasks. In the future, steps need to be taken to bring up the consistently “moderately low” score of task-oriented leadership. These steps could and should include intentionally and strategically developing a leadership team with task-oriented individuals as well as relationship-oriented individuals. On a personal level, cultivating an openness with subordinates and followers to communicate honestly about specific times and instances when task-oriented leadership is needed or lacking will prove to serve as a positive development to overall leadership.
This assessment is useful in that it positively contributes to awareness on the part of the leader and how his/her actions are perceived by those around them. As with all feedback from human subjects, one must keep in mind that no feedback is completely objective. However, the leader can use discernment and judgment to receive feedback from those around them to become self-aware of “blind spots” and, thus, increase in effectiveness. Showry (2014) notes that awareness is not learned in isolation but in dynamic relationships with others and with an accompanying openness on the part of the leaders to receive feedback from those with whom he/she has a relationship.
Each leader is unique and must recognize and acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses. Leaders come in a variety of personalities and styles, but impactful leaders will exercise their own style with confidence and seek to minimize and develop their weaknesses. In my case, relational leadership suits my personality and leadership style. It is a leadership style that research has proven to be effective as it often excels at developing relationships with employees and other stakeholders, which is a personal strength of mine. This strength should be utilized and developed to continue to improve the organization and the individuals serving in its ranks.
Knowing weaknesses is equally important as knowing strengths for organizational leaders. My self-awareness, combined with the style assessment completed by multiple subordinates, allows me to acknowledge my shortcomings in task-oriented relationships and cultures. To address and correct this weakness, I must be intentional in surrounding myself with others who possess strengths in these areas where I am weak. Due to the inherently relational elements involved in communication, I do excel in direct communication with employees and stakeholders. This is an area which I can lean on as a strength, but also leverage to continually develop my task-oriented weaknesses. As I invite others to provide input into my personal life and professional leadership, this feedback will provide continual and meaningful input about strengths and weaknesses which I can use to continually develop into a more effective organizational leader.
As these assessments are received, the goal is to improve weaknesses and build upon and develop personal strengths. These assessments can be combined with personality assessments to composite a more complete picture of personal leadership style, strengths, and weaknesses. As these assessments become a regular facet of the author’s personal and professional life, relationships will be strengthened and organizational communication and culture will continue to improve.
Eikenberry, K. (2014). What’s love got to do with it? Professional Safety, August 2014, 22-23.
Furnham, A. & Stringfield, P. (1993). Personality and work performance: Myers-Briggs type indicator correlates of managerial performance in two cultures. Personality and Work Performance, 14(1), 145-153.
Hunt, J.M. & Weintraub, J. (2002). How coaching can enhance your brand as a manager. Journal of Organizational Excellence, Spring 2002, 39-44. doi: 10.1002/npr.10018
Landis, E. A., Hill, D., & Harvey, M. R. (2014). A synthesis of leadership theories and styles. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(2), 45-56.
Passmore, J., Holloway, M., & Rawle-Cope, M. (2010). Using MBTI type to explore differences and the implications for practice for therapists and coaches: Are executive coaches really like counsellors? Counseling Psychology Quarterly 23(1), 1-16.
Showry, M. & Manasa, K. (2014). Self-awareness – Key to effective leadership. The IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 3(1), 15-26.
Sperry, L. (2013). Executive coaching and leadership assessment: Past, present, and future. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 65(4), 284-288.
NG, LR, NCU, USAR
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