Analysis of Assessments
Self-assessments are of significant importance for obtaining a better understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses and developing plans for self-improvement. They are helpful for becoming aware of an individual potential for achieving vital life goals. For me, self-assessments were critical for getting to know myself and finding out whether I can become a good leader. Among numerous assessments, I found leadership traits, authentic leadership, and team excellence questionnaires the most insightful and useful because they were beneficial for getting acquainted with the traits I never paid attention to and think how to become a better person and potentially strong leader.
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Leadership Traits Self-Assessment
Traits questionnaire is helpful for identifying weak and strong personal qualities and characteristics that determine one’s potential as a leader (Robbins et al. 300). For me, this assessment tool was the most insightful one because it helped to understand myself better, as the test involved both my perception of myself and others’ opinions. I was surprised by the findings of the assessment because most people agreed on the strong traits I believed I had, such as being self-confident, trustworthy, persistent, friendly and dependable. On the other hand, our perceptions of my diligence and determinacy were different, as the opinion expressed by other pointed to lower results than that graded by me. Therefore, this assessment has changed my behavior, as I started reviewing techniques for developing weak qualities and eliminating any weak aspects of my personality.
However, the most significant impact of this assessment is the realization that my strengths and weaknesses are connected with potential success in working and personal life. Thinking of positive personal characteristics, it is evident that reaching life goals in both spheres of life will not be problematic. Nevertheless, I am concerned with the low level of determinacy and diligence, as somehow this inability to stay focused might affect the ability to become a good leader, motivate people working and communicating with me, and complete set tasks effectively.
Authentic Leadership Self-Assessment
The focus of this self-assessment technique is made on estimating different dimensions of authentic leadership – that based on individual’s unique self (Roe 12). This test helped to reveal both strong and low authentic leadership qualities. For instance, I was not surprised with high self-awareness and balanced processing results because I always found it easy to analyze information and opinions of others before making vital decisions and I was always driven by inner values. However, low relational transparency surprised me, as I believed that I was an open and easy to communicate with anyone. This aspect was even more astounding keeping in mind that respondents to the first assessment perceive me as friendly. Even though some findings of the assessment were a revelation for me, there were no visible changes in my behavior. Still, the inner changes were significant, as I started analyzing my words and communication manner in order to find out what might result in impaired ability to open my true self to other people. As for now, I have some more questions. Nevertheless, it is clear that even though I am friendly and open to new communication, I tend to avoid talking about my life and goals. Somehow, it may affect the ability to show who I really am.
Just like the first assessment, this test is significant for both personal and working life because it is not only about leadership but also interpersonal relations. In this way, my strengths may be helpful for addressing people’s feelings properly and still remain myself and preserve my moral values. On the other hand, my weaknesses increase the risks of impaired communication if they are ignored.
Team Excellence and Collaborative Team Leader Self-Assessment
This assessment tool is essential for understanding whether an individual is an effective team member capable of cooperating with different people (Northouse 389). Before completing the questionnaire, I was always confident in my ability to work productively in teams, organize groups, and cope with the tasks excellently. That is why the results of the test were no surprise to me because they proved that this belief was true, as most of the answers were positive (had the highest grades). However, as I answered the questions, it became evident that there are some critical issues with trusting other team members. Therefore, there was only one relatively negative personal trait – inability to trust people. It might have a negative influence on my personal and working life because life is about interactions, and achieving the most vital goals is inseparable from trusting people. Nevertheless, being an efficient team player, I may learn to cope with this challenge so that the revealed strengths will be helpful for improving outcomes of my activities and the quality of work-related and personal interactions.
Application of Self-Assessment to Leadership Concepts
The value of the three self-assessments described above can be explained by their practical applicability and the criticality of using the revealed strengths for becoming a strong leader and weaknesses for turning into a better person. In general, all of the assessments are beneficial for developing essential leadership qualities and eliminating risks of letting down members of my current and future teams. Nevertheless, each of them should be viewed separately in order to obtain a better understanding of the findings.
Leadership Traits Self-Assessment
This self-assessment is based on the so-called trait approach to leadership. According to it, a leader is a set of particular positive character traits and skills that determine the chances of success in leading people. The foundation of the theory is the approach known as the great man theory that as well points that being a good person requires possessing particular skills and personal qualities (Northouse 39). As for the effective leader, according to this theory, five leadership traits are critical: self-confidence, determination, sociability, intelligence, and integrity (Northouse 40). These traits are generalized concepts, as they include numerous other qualities that are still connected to the larger group. The idea is that the possession of these traits should be seen and acknowledged not only by an individual but also their group in order to perceive a person as a good leader (Martin et al. 87).
This approach to leadership is commonly criticized due to the fact that the fundamental assumption is that leaders are born. It means that leadership is a talent granted by nature. Therefore, one cannot develop the needed traits and skills to become an efficient leader (Rudani 546). In this way, this theory is limited because it ignores one of the most common ways of becoming a leader – hard work on self-improvement and studying. Nevertheless, it is still beneficial as the foundation for understanding one’s peculiar skills necessary for turning into a strong leader and identifying the gaps to be filled. From this perspective, the narrow focus of the theory is what connects it to effective leadership if accompanied with the desire to study and develop and leadership practice. Returning to the self-assessment, it revealed that I lack some determination skills, as it was stated by the respondents who helped me to complete the questionnaire. If I believed that this theory was a universal truth, I would have given up my attempts to change and self-improve to become a leader. However, the very fact that I believe in constant personal growth drives me to keep studying.
Authentic Leadership Self-Assessment
The foundation of this self-assessment is the concept of authentic leadership, i.e. genuineness of a leadership style (Northouse 286). According to this approach, leadership is established by leaders themselves once they demonstrate their moral values and the ability to lead people (Northouse 332). Nevertheless, just like in case of the trait theory, a leader is a combination of qualities belonging to four groups: self-awareness, balanced processing, internalized moral perspective, and relational transparency. They include the ability to communicate with people freely and openly, estimate and address their needs, impeccable moral values, being organized and confident, etc. This theory and self-assessment tool are applicable to practice because they foster constant improvement. Therefore, human resource department may use them to develop authentic leaders.
The development of such a self-assessment tool was motivated by the increased interest in authentic leadership in recent times and the common desire to work with trustworthy leaders. The primary strength of this theory is that, unlike the trait approach, it points to the criticality of lifelong studying. From this perspective, leadership is a result of individual’s activities and choices, not a set of traits granted by nature. I find this approach progressive and comprehensive because the groups of traits are clearly defined and explained. Due to these strengths, the theory is closely associated with effective leadership because it is not limited by natural determinants of a personality. Returning to the results of the self-assessment, it turned out that I face some challenges when it comes to relational transparency, i.e. communicating freely and openly (Bruce et al. 94). Nevertheless, I still have a potential of becoming a good and efficient leader because self-improvement is seen as a norm and highly recommended, while other leadership traits are developed well.
Team Excellence and Collaborative Team Leader Self-Assessment
This tool is developed based on the theory of team leadership. According to this approach, the primary objective of a leader is to monitor team members, estimate the atmosphere in a team in order to prevent and cope with conflicts, contribute to collaboration among team members, and guarantee the exceptional performance of a team (Northouse 389). More than that, the leadership style should be natural, i.e. flexible and intuitive. Nevertheless, it does not mean that it comes from nature. Instead, the focus is as well made on leadership as the lifelong process of studying. From this perspective, a team leader is perceived as a coach and facilitator performing both internal (related to communication and atmosphere) and external functions (connected to assuring team members’ comfort in a given environment) (Iszatt-White and Saunders 90).
The strength of this approach and theory is their focus on team collaboration that is another critical aspect of effective leadership. Their results can be applied to leadership practice because they are associated with making effective decisions related to the further development of a team. Moreover, they can be used as a framework for assessing the internal atmosphere within it to improve productivity and communication.
Creating a Personal Improvement Plan
Authentic leadership self-assessment revealed that I lack some critical relational transparency skills. It means that I cannot share my feelings openly so that it is complicated to understand me. In order to become a better person and leader, it is essential to design a personal development plan that would help to cope with this issue and elaborate the necessary skills and personal quality. The best option for this plan is to use the SMART approach due to its degree of detail.
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- S – specific goal. Based on the results of the self-assessment, the specific goal is to develop relational transparency qualities. Some targets include free communication with a special focus on my feelings, ideas, and motifs as well as sharing perceptions of different situations and ways to cope with crises without the fear of being criticized.
- M – measure. The subject mentioned above is connected to the emotional need for being understood and the desire to become a better leader. Therefore, emotional comfort and the ability of others to understand my feelings, desires, and motifs are seen as the major measures of success.
- A – achievable. The possibility of success in achieving the specific goal is high because I am friendly and communicative. The only issue is to shift the focus to my needs and share them openly.
- R – realistic. Success depends on my desire to improve. Therefore, the idea is to communicate with my closest friends first and share my feelings. Later, the focus should be made on my colleagues. In general, the idea is to learn to express my opinions openly in the least comfortable environment.
- T – time. In case of critical internal changes, time is not the central resource. However, it is essential in order to keep me driven. That is why timeframe for achieving the first visible improvements is one month.
This course is one of the most valuable and insightful courses. The motivation for making this statement is the inner confidence that being theory intensive and offering some practical self-assessment tools, this course helped to identify some major challenges and issues I face that keep me away from becoming an effective leader. Still, the central revelation is that leaders are not born. Instead, leadership is a result of everyday hard work and vast effort. Now, as I have this knowledge, I realize that the course has an influence on both private and working life because I identified some key problems (underdeveloped skills) that made me unhappy and somehow reduced my efficiency as a leader. What I want to say is that this course taught me that the starting point does not predetermine the success in reaching the destination. It means that no matter what my talents and resources are, I am sure that working to improve myself will definitely make me successful. It is a new universal truth for me that I want to share with my closest people who sometimes feel diffident and need support.
Iszatt-White, Marian, and Christopher Saunders. Leadership. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2017.
Martin, Bruce, et al. Outdoor Leadership: Theory and Practice. 2nd ed., Human Kinetics, 2017.
Northouse, Peter G. Leadership: Theory and Practice. 7th ed., SAGE Publications, 2016.
Robbins, Stephen P., et al. Organizational Behavior. 8th ed., Pearson, 2014.
Roe, Kevin. Leadership: Practice and Perspectives. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2017.
Rudani, Ramesh B. Principles of Management. McGraw-Hill, 2013.