The Importance of Self Assessment in Leadership

Worried that you're not performing as well as  you can? You're not alone. Leadership comes with responsibilities that few are ready to shoulder right from the get-go. But, with continuous self-assessment, leaders can prepare themselves for any challenges that the lie in front of them. 

Check it out what you will find on this article about self assessment in leadership:


While climbing the corporate ladder to its highest levels might seem like a goal to constantly strive towards, studies might have aspirants considering otherwise. 50% leadership transitions fail, while another research points to the fact that 40% of new executives fail within 18 months. Clearly, the odds are stacked against leaders from the get go. But does this mean that you should drop your dreams of guiding your organization to greener lands? Hardly. If anything, all this points to is the sheer importance of self assessment in leadership. 

Why Self Assessment in Leadership Matters

The tricky thing about leadership is that often qualities that come of as strengths and are indeed the reason why someone is selected to lead often end up being the reason for things going south. Everyone knows of Steve Jobs and how he guided Apple to the top of the personal computer market, only to be forcibly removed a little under a decade later. Jobs was hardly the only one and for every leader that seems to have made it big, there are scores of failure stories that point to the fact that the higher up you go, the more unforgiving the terrain is. 

But, just how can a leader find an honest to goodness feedback on what his/her strengths and weaknesses are? After all, confirmation bias is a real thing and most of the time, we do tend to steer clear of negative feedback. Other people might not give a true account out of fear or rivalry, too. But, while the threats both within and without us are no doubt formidable, they are certainly not insurmountable.

The first order of business is to find out where you’re lacking. Founder of Professionalism Matters, Dana Brownlee says that a leader will show some telltale signs of going wayward, these are usually…

  • People on your  team haven’t criticized any of your ideas in over a month.
  • You are spending more time planning your own career goals than your team members. 
  • You don’t have at least three completely non-work related conversations with a team member in a week.
  • Different team members tell you different things if asked your top three priorities for the year.
  • Team members are afraid of failing.

While these are signs that you need self assessment in leadership asap, you can always find ways to use your existing success as a foundation to build an even better version of yourself even if things are going great. 

Leadership Self Assessment Strategies

Effective leadership assessment utilizes both self and peer reviews to achieve a holistic view of one’s capabilities and shortcomings. This way, they can develop introspective habits that can help them reflect on their own actions, but also use third party feedback to validate and confirm their suspicions and assertions. A few ideas…

Journal your mistakes: Journaling is a very effective leadership skill that can help you keep tabs on your habits. Did you make a decision that didn’t give out the intended results? Is there anything you said to a teammate that you probably shouldn’t have? Was there a better way to say it? Have you slighted someone in a meeting? While the occasional slip of tongue or a solution gone awry are common, they would all be for not if you end up repeating them. If you become aware of such actions, then jot them down in a diary for reflection.

Try out one (or multiple) self-assessment tool(s): There is no one way to attempt a self study session and each person will gravitate towards a different style. The following self assessment for leadership tools are great places to start…

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: MBTI is a popular personality archetype indicator that can be used to gauge what kind of a person you are. MBTI uses a categorization system that clubs different combination of traits into 16 different personality types. Find out which one are you!
  • Gallup Strengths Finder: Self assessment in leadership needn’t always be broiled in self-pity. You should consider exploring your strengths, too and the Gallup Strength Finder tool is one of the best ways to do so.
  • Harward’s Implicit Association Tool: We all have attitudes and beliefs that we often neither report to others or to ourselves. Harward’s Project Implicit is designed to help you understand your implicit biases and gain a finer understanding of your mind’s inner workings. It can also be used to gauge your team-members.
  • Princeton MCG Leadership Blindspot Assessment: As the name implies, the tool can help you understand areas of oversight across four categories – yourself, your team, your company and your market. The leadership blindspot assessment survey is ideal for leaders wanting to understand not only themselves, but how they affect the world around them.

Always be looking for feedback: Your own efforts at self assessment in leadership can only take you so far. You will more than likely overlook a critical portion of your personality and there are always traits that we identify as our biggest strengths when in fact they do us a disservice. 360 degree feedback surveys are a time tested tool that HR departments worldwide use to gain a clear picture of a situation. You can use a similar survey to find out your own strengths and weaknesses from a set of colleagues. 


Consider asking your mentor: The person you look up to has probably been where you are, so, is your best bet for asking for some quality feedback. While all mentors provide good, having frank conversations on where you went wrong and what would they have done if they were in your place can also help jump start your self-analysis. You can also discuss insights you gained from the steps above to iron them out. Your mentor doesn’t have to be a business person either. A lecturer from college or your parents can help you understand yourself better, too.

Concluding Thoughts

Self assessment in leadership is a never ending debate with yourself on how you can improve and take your organization to even greater heights. They can serve as a wake-up call to pressing issues that would have otherwise gone unnoticed and set you on a path to a better version of yourself. 

Have any ideas on how self-improvement has helped you out in your professional or personal life? Feel free to share them with us!

Self Assessment in Leadership

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