March 2019

Leadership Assessment and Selection

Russ Barcelona

Leadership assessment and selection are pivotal processes in identifying and nurturing effective leaders within organizations. In today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, the ability to make informed decisions about leadership assignments and appointments is essential for long-term success. Leadership assessment involves evaluating the capabilities, potential, and performance of individuals, enabling organizations to identify high-potential employees, assess their readiness for leadership roles, and pinpoint areas for development. Simultaneously, the selection process aims to match the right individuals with the right leadership positions by considering a combination of qualifications, skills, and cultural fit. Together, these processes play a critical role in building and maintaining a robust leadership pipeline, which is vital for an organization’s ability to adapt, innovate, and thrive in an ever-evolving landscape.

Research consistently points to key indicators of true high potential leaders. While there is some variance across organizations as to the weighting of these factors, there is considerable agreement as to the common traits:

Problem Solving/Intelligence

Discriminates relevant from irrelevant information and draw sharply-defined conclusions. Makes critical observations and is insightful.

Employee Emotional Intelligence

In tune with subtleties in interpersonal interactions and has the ability to make adjustments to improve effectiveness. Demonstrates interpersonal savvy.

Creativity

Envisions and thinks strategically. Quickly and efficiently generates unique options.

Employee Drive

Ambitious and competitive. Has a “fire in the belly.” Shows persistence and resilience.

Results Orientation

Consistently considers factors that impact productivity and profitability

Change

Naturally inclined to consider a better way. Willing to challenge the status quo.

Leadership Agility

Maintains a drive for results while remaining flexible to evolving conditions. Can make adjustments based on business conditions or the differences in groups or individuals.

The challenge for organizations is to find valid, reliable, and objective ways to measure these factors. Many organizations rely heavily on senior or HR executives’ direct experience with the individual and a “gut feel” or on their productivity and success in only their current role. While these are important factors, the “hit rate” goes up significantly when using evidenced-based resources such as aptitude tests, personality inventories, structured interviews, in-basket exercises, etc.

At Ascend Talent Strategies, we apply our knowledge and extensive experience in conjunction with the tools available to assist our clients in identifying and selecting true positive high potentials who meet and exceed expectations. In addition, we are then able to partner with the organization and high-potential employees to further develop their leadership skills and maximize their effectiveness.

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