Leadership Theory, Application, & Skill Development by Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2010), provides a self assessment exercise to better understand your internal strengths & weaknesses and analyse the external possible threats & exploitable opportunities matching your skill sets. This assessment will walk you through your inner self and help you you analyse it based on 5 different domains – so it is named self assessment.
- Leadership Self Assessment
- Personal Personality Self Assessment
- Myers-Briggs Personality Profile
- Personal Values Self Assessment
- Political Behavior Self Assessment
Try practising it on your own and keep a documented copy for your interviews and for your elevated speech.
The leadership potential self assessment presents a way of learning whether an individual can be a successful leader. The assessment is based on the numeric scale assigned to a set of 6 pair of statements. The score is then finally added up in order to determine the potential to be a leader. 0 to 15 represents a low leadership potential whereas 20 to 35 represents high leadership potential.
The self assessment revealed that my score for leadership potential is 29 which fairly direct that I have outstanding leadership potential. The potential enough is not capable of making me a good leader. I need to incorporate hard work and persistent in addition to sharpen my leadership skills.
One of my greatest strengths is my willingness to get in charge of the leadership role. The first statement of the assessment tries to access whether the individual is best suited for a leadership role or follower role. Since I completely agree that I am a person who is willing to take charge of a group of people, the assessment puts me better suited for leadership roles. I have a tendency to get to the top and at the same time feel that people be influenced by my actions. This is a good characteristic of a person with leadership potential and makes my strength.
In addition, the assessment also revealed that I have the potential to influence people.“Influencing is the process of leader communicating ideas, gaining acceptance of them and motivating followers to support and implement the ideas through change”. Influencing is all about the relationship between leaders and followers. One important point that is to be noted is that leaders gain commitment not with power but with the willingness to be influenced. Since I have a good score in the assessment I believe that my character reflects influencing capability.
I am a person who is oriented towards change. I am creative and I always think of new ways of doing things. Specifically, I am a person who is not reluctant to change rather I enjoy bringing changes. To be a successful leader change is also deemed important. Influencing and setting objectives is all about change and thus I believe that my trait adds up to the leadership potential that I have. History has indicated that companies that follow the same old process and are reluctant to change have been killed in the competition. Same applies to leaders as well. Those people who are successful in bringing change in a good way are influential and are a true leader. Thus, change is my nature and is one of the strengths that make me a potential leader.
It is also important to point out that all the three elements of my strengths are interrelated and should be applied in conjunction in order to reveal my true leadership potential. Willingness to take charge has no essence unless I can influence people and it can only be done by bringing changes to the prevailing system.
Although the assessment revealed my potential of being a good leader I have some weakness within me which can pose as serious obstacle. Two other factors that are important from leader’s perspective; objectives and people. In order to be a leader it is important to influence people to focus on the shared objectives. I am a person with positive attitude but sometimes obstacles to attain objectives can ruin my motivation and thus act as my weakness. In addition, being a good leader is all about getting along with people. The authors indicate that people skills are more important than anything for being a successful leader and I think that I do not have superior people skill. Although I enjoy helping other people succeed I tend to make a group based on my closeness to people. This is also one of my weaknesses.
I believe that my tendency of openness to change is my greatest opportunity. Leader these days should be able to bring change to the current perception. Steve Jobs is an example of a leader who is successful in changing the smart phone industry with his vision and his willingness to change. From his success we can conclude that change is what made him one of the most successful leaders of the modern world. I am willing to bring change and that is my nature. I do not like to stick to the prevailing theories and system and thus this area can be a significant opportunity for me if I can apply the right change.
People skill is my greatest threat as it can have devastating result if I cannot improve. It is important for leaders to avoid favoritism and be fair and objective in dealing with people. People have important bond in leadership capability as they are the ones who are willing to be the followers. In order to sharpen my leadership potential I should stand beyond the boundary of relationships and favorites. I need to develop people skill in order to influence people to be my followers and if I fail in it, I can never be a true leader.
The personality profile that is reflective of the Big Five Model has some volatile range of scoring. The profile yielded high scores in the surgency, agreeableness and openness to experience dimensions whereas low scores in the adjustment and conscientiousness dimensions.
According to the self assessment of the personality profile my greatest strengths are surgency, agreeableness and openness to experience. Surgency is associated with dominance and I am the person who wants to be in charge. The Big Five Model clearly indicates that I can be a successful leader as I have the capacity to lead by the means of dominance and I can really be the person who is always willing to influence. In addition, people with high sugrency trait tend to lead instead of settling to want to be a follower and thus this is one of my greatest strength in terms of my leadership trait.
The second strength is my openness to experience. Openness to experience is associated with traits that encourage person to try new things and change the current norms. As my personality profile yielded high score in this dimension, it makes one of my strength as well. I am a creative person who loves to bring new innovations. In the context of work I always try to do things differently in an effort to increase my performance. I support different ideas of my colleagues and seniors at my workplace instead of being afraid to implement them.
According to the personality profile I also scored good score in the agreeableness dimension of personality trait included in the Big Five Model. It associates the agreeableness trait with a tendency to get along with people. Leader with influencing tendency is always better with leader with negative dominance and I am happy that I fall in the category of leaders who can get along with the followers rather than pushing them negatively with force. The agreeableness dimension is my strength and it allows me to be friendly, gentle and sociable with the people I know.
Research conducted to understand the correlation between the five dimensions of the Big Five model and successful leader has indicated that two of the dimensions with high correlation are surgency and openness to experience. Since my score in these two dimensions are high, it concludes that I have the characteristics of an effective leader.
The personality profile indicate that I have poor adjustment and conscientiousness characteristics and hence they make my greatest weakness. Although the correlation of adjustment with leadership is low it cannot be overlooked as it is associated with emotional stability. It is important to be emotionally stable in order to be secure, positive and perform well under pressure. These characteristics are important to be a successful leader which I clearly lack. I have negative feelings most of the time and I an insecure as well. The only positive aspect under this dimension is that I tend to perform well under pressure. However, in recent years I have been tackling this trait and I am trying to be calm and positive and have been quite successful.
In addition to adjustment conscientiousness is also a major source of my weakness. It is far more important than adjustment as it has high correlation with leadership. Conscientiousness is associated with achievement and it is a measure of how dependable a person is. It is highly important for a leader to be dependable as the entire faith of the followers rest upon them. In order for people to be influenced by the leader it is extremely important for them to have a sense of dependableness. In order to be a good leader I need to prepare myself as being responsible and dependable. Although I possess some important characteristics that are presented to be my strength conscientiousness itself can ruin me and restrict me from being a good leader.
As I have included conscientiousness to be a weakness in me as reflected by the personality profile it can also pose to be my opportunity. I already have surgency and openness to experience as my greatest strengths which have the highest correlation with leadership and applying a significant effort from my side on being dependable and responsible can add up the third trait with high correlation into my leadership profile. I took opportunity as something that I have within me and with which I can be a successful leader and is the only reason for categorizing conscientiousness as my opportunity.
In addition I take openness to experience as my opportunity as well. Openness to experience significantly gives me a competitive advantage over others as I am innovative and creative. I have the entire tendency to change the current practices in order to get better results. When I am open to experience I am always willing to learn new things and try to apply new concepts that have never been explored before. This can act as an opportunity for me in converting myself into a reliable leader.
I feel that one of my greatest weaknesses is my greatest threat. The personality profile reveled that I am week in my adjustment trait and I am highly unstable person in terms of emotion. I consider it to be a threat because being emotionally unstable means I am nervous, insecure and negative. It is extremely important for any leader to be positive as it will empower them to avoid failure. Negative feelings and thoughts are blockage to a leader as it will hurt their motivation and their effort in bringing the change. If I am negative then I cannot lead my followers who depend upon me. Although I can work well under pressure my emotional instability in terms of insecurity and negative feeling can hurt my image of being a successful leader.
Myers-Briggs personality profile attempts to understand the personality dimension of an individual. The difference in personality is because of the differences in individual perception and judgment. The Myers-Briggs approach use different personality dimensions such as introvert/extrovert, sensing/intuition, feeling/thinking, and judging/perceiving. According to the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) I fall under the ISTJ personality type.
ISTJ personality type people are considered to be dependable, honest and are practical and realistic (www.myers-briggs.org). The main strength of the people that fall under this category is that they decide logically and works towards achieving the objectives steadily without any distractions. To be a good leader the characteristics of logical and determined is necessary. In order to be a leader of the followers it is important to be logical and follow the facts so as to make fair and objective decision. In addition, a good leader is one who is determined to fulfill the achievement. It is evident from the life of Steve Jobs. During the initial period Jobs did not enjoy success but even though he continued on his path in order to get what he dreamed of. So a good leader should be determined as well and this is another strength that I possess.
Introversion is the major weakness that I have. Being an extrovert helps to polish the leadership capabilities in many ways. Being an extrovert helps to gain recognition, get well with people, and stand among the crowd. Clearly, being an ISTJ makes me shy, quiet and the one who always want to be in the shadow and not disclosing my identity to the outside world. Such trait can avoid me from being a good leader.
The determined trait of ISTJ can definitely act as potential opportunity. In the course of leading people it is important to focus on the end results and try to cope with different situations of failures. People learn from their mistake and it is no objection to leaders as well. I am determined to get to the end no matter how rough the road is. This adds up to my leadership capability and I realize that sooner or later it will help to open door of opportunity in front of me.
I consider my nature of introversion to be the greatest threat. Being an introvert means not being able to stand up among others. This is in opposition to the leadership capability because a leader should be able to lead people and be the one in charge. Even though I have sources of power and even though I have the capability to be a leader the nature of introversion is capable enough to block me from getting there.
In addition people with ISTJ personality type tend to be stressed with different situations. Stress is something that is very harmful and should be avoided at all times. The best way to cope with stress is to tackle with the uncertainties instead of running from it. I have personally felt that stress is one of my greatest threats. In order to be an effective leader I need to be focused more on relieving stress as well.
The Motive Profile Theory of Leadership attempts to explain whether a person may be a successful leader based on the need for power, achievement and affiliation. The successful leader normally have a high need for power followed by a lower need for affiliation and a moderate need for achievement. The motive profile theory can be linked to the big five theory of leadership as well. Surgency dimension under the big five corresponds to the need for power, conscientiousness corresponds to the need for achievement and agreeableness corresponds to the need for affiliation.
The self assessment of motive profile confirmed that my need for achievement is the weaker need. The score for both need for power and need for affiliation are almost identical and thus fall under the category of dominant need. The theory states that the score for need for achievement should fall between the need for power and need for affiliation and my self assessment turns out to be as described.
The Motive Profile Theory indicates that higher need for power, moderate need for achievement and lower need for affiliation are the characteristics of successful leader. Based on the above fact I feel that need for power is my greatest strength. My score for the need for dimension topped other dimensions which makes it the most dominant need. Remember- leader needs power in order to influence followers. My hunger for power makes me a person who wants to be in charge and enjoy the leadership role. However, my need for power does not necessarily mean that I use it for my personal motive. I use my position and personal power in order to influence my followers. In addition, I also use power in order to direct my followers in achieving the objectives which is important in order to direct the efforts towards end results.
On the other hand, my score for the need for achievement falls in-between the scale and indicates that I have moderate need for achievement. Moderate need for achievement is the pointer for successful leader. My moderate need for achievement makes me capable of being a successful leader and thus I take it as one of my largest strength. The need for achievement can be interlinked with the conscientiousness dimension of the big five model of leadership. The self assessment reveals that I am a person with high energy and self confidence. The most important aspect of this need is that I am always open to new experience. Open to experience makes me capable of implementing innovative ideas and revolutionizing the current practices. In addition, my moderate need for achievement avoids me of being self centralized. I do not use my personal power in order to make self achievements possible. Note- higher need for achievement makes the person selfish in attaining self achievements. It is the underlying fact that higher need for power is good for leaders until and unless they use it to influence followers rather than use it for their own personal sake and that is where my strength lies.
It is clear that the need for affiliation should be lower than the need for power in order to be a successful leader. However, the self assessment of the motive profile shows the other way around. Although my need for affiliation is lower than need for power the difference is marginal which makes it my greatest weakness. The consequence of the high need score for affiliation makes me a person with favoritism behavior. In order to be a good leader with extraordinary achievements it is important to treat each and every people with equal heart. Instead, because of my weakness I tend to treat people differently based on my relational preference. Although I can use power in a good way, favoritism can sometimes ruin the essence of my power when I use it against the people who have less meaning to me. Significantly, if such incident takes place then I will have less influence over my followers which hinders my capability of being a leader. Based on these facts I consider the need for affiliation, more specifically favoritism as my weakness.
I take the need for achievement as my opportunity. Since I have a moderate need for achievement portrayed by the motive profile self assessment I am capable to being strong and self confidence. Both of these dimensions are virtually important in order to be a successful leader. In addition need for achievement can also be traced to the openness to experience dimension of the big five model and it turns out to be my greatest opportunity. Successful leader always prove to be a great innovator. Steve Jobs, a well known leader, was a visionary individual with immense capability to implement innovative ideas and also capable of bringing revolution within the current practices. Although incomparable to him I take me as a person of similar capability of throwing innovative ideas to the world and thus it makes one of my greatest opportunities. My moderate need for achievement from the self assessment supports this fact by proving that I am a person who is always open to experiences.
Although I have a strong need for power I may not be able to use it to benefit entire followers and can pose to be my greatest threat. One important factor of my behavior which is favoritism can be lethal as it can contribute to the use of my power in wrong direction. Since I have a high need for affiliation I might not be sensitive to others. My strong desire to attain affiliation might focus me on achieving personal power rather than social power. Personal power can be extremely harmful for potential leader as it kills the trust and willingness to be influenced. Hitler is a great example of a person with a hunger for personal power. Although he is one of the most effective leader in the history the approach he used his power in destruction often relates him as a negative leader. Even though he had immense need for power he did not use it for social purpose. I would be considered a negative leader if I am not able to use my power in a positive sense. In fact if I use my power to benefit people that is in close relation to me or who have been my favorites, I will feel that I am no different than Hitler himself. I am not a man with negative leadership capability but I am afraid that my leadership capability might be influenced by my favoritism behavior which can be the worst case scenario. Based on this analysis I feel that the wrong use of power can be one of my greatest source of threats.
Values are generalized beliefs or behaviors that are considered to be important. Personal values self assessment tries to access the leadership capability based on the values that one deem important. The authors believe that leader’s decision as well as action reflects the underlying values and beliefs. In order to have a leadership capability it is important to have strong values which will enable followers to trust the leader.
The self assessments of the personal values revealed that professional career, financial stability, family and physical are the most important values in my life. Important factors such as community, spiritual and social factors have less value in my life. In addition, the final factor of intellectual ability has more or less average value in my life.
I put immense value in professional career, financial stability and family. Professional career and financial stability are correlated together and having a higher value on these factors indicates that I want to be successful in my career. I take these values to be my strengths as I want to achieve success. If the concept of the values that I wish is generalized then it can be inferred that if I get a chance to lead a group of people then I will value success as the most important aspect. Whether or not the group functions correctly I want the group to be successful in attaining the shared objectives.
I value my family life a lot and have a high range score in that dimension. My emphasis upon my family can be a blockage towards my leadership capability. To be a true leader one needs to think above self centered notions and I do not think I can do it if it concerns my family. I have to think of the followers on the top of my family but rather I put more value on my family than my followers. In addition, I have less value for the social dimension and I do not go well with people. I have a tendency to make in-group and out-group which can hinders my leadership potential.
My desire to be successful in career can be taken as an opportunity. In order for leadership capability to thrive all the lower level needs should be already fulfilled. I truly think that I can use it as an opportunity in order to be a leader.
The numbers in all eight area of the value assessment are dispersed and which does not make me better rounded. I still have a lot of values that needs to be fulfilled and this contributes to my threats. In order to be a leader person needs to think way above himself and his family members. Leadership is all about looking after the welfare of the followers. Since, I have a high value on several personal needs such as income, job and family I do not think that I can look after the welfare of my followers.
Politics has a vital role in shaping up the leadership capability. In order to be a successful leader the use of politics is sometimes necessary. Politics however has some bad implications and negative aspects of it should always be avoided. Leadership can be often associated with power. Politics in turn has relationship with power. Politics is the process of gaining and using power. In order to be successful leader the use of politics for the welfare of the followers is sometimes necessary.
The political behavior self assessment score ranges from 20 to 100. As the score moves up the person tends to use more political behavior. Since, I scored 67 on the assessment I tend to use somewhat moderate political behavior.
The political behavior self analysis revealed that I have two strengths. One of the primary strength is that I develop good working relations. Good relation is important as it gives me referent power. Referent power is important aspect of leadership. It is very important to note that developing a good relation is the foundation of politics. It is important because it will give personal power and a basis for using influential tactics. The use of good relations is important in influencing the followers. In addition, good relation is extremely important in order to go ahead of the competition. Being a leader is all about beating the competition and gaining the position which is influential for other people. Thus, developing strong relation is one of my primary strength.
Second source of my strength according to the assessment is that I am honest and loyal team player. In order to get influential support from the followers it is extremely important to stand on the grounds of loyalty and honesty. Being loyal and honest promotes ethical behavior which can be a strong reason for people to follow you. The most significant way a leader builds a bridge to the heart of the followers is through trust. In the absence of trust there is no way that followers will view you as a leader. Since, honesty and loyalty makes up trust and trust in turn makes influence possible I consider it to be my strength.
It is necessary for any leader to recognize himself/herself from rest of the crowd. Leaders need to stand up on the top so that people will be influenced. The assessment of political behavior revealed that I fail to gain recognition. Gaining recognition is important as doing a great thing does not help to get ahead if no one knows about it. Gaining recognition is all about being popular with all the good contributions and efforts. It will help leaders because after being recognized for good deeds people will follow you by viewing you as a role model. Even if I am part of an effort I tend to be the one who wants to be less popular. I do not like the concept of being the center of attraction. I would rather be on the dark side with all my contributions, rather than standing up proudly among others. The lack of interest of being recognized is my greatest weakness.
I am a person who is able to develop good working relations with the people I know. In addition I am honest and loyal with which I can earn trust from the people around me. This being said the only opportunity for me is to stand up and be recognized among others so that everyone can know me. Hence, I take my weakness as my opportunity. If I can work on my weakness it can lead to several opportunities. I love to bring change and I am a creative person with innovative ideas. If I am able to make my work and effort transparent to all the people I am sure that I will be able to influence many people. All I need to do is try to gain recognition from my positive efforts. I have to stand up from the shades and come up to the lime light so that I can be chosen to be a leader.
I have considered two factors to be my greatest threat. The first factor is my inability to learn the organizational culture and power players. Knowing the power players is extremely important for leaders to establish referent and personal power. In order to get to the top it is important to know who has the driving seat. Thus, my lack of interest in understanding the flow of power and politics through the organization can act as my greatest threat.
In addition, I take the lack of recognition as one of my threats as well. Just being behind the shadow will never work if I have to be a leader. If I am not able to change my effort on getting recognition I will always be on the darker side. Ultimately, all my efforts will be used by others who are good political players and can stand out to be a leader. Use of my effort by other politically good players can have adverse effect on me. I motivation level in me will decline and I will fall below the pit of the shadows. Thus, lack of recognition is an obstruction for my leadership capability.
Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2010). Leadership Theory, Application, & Skill Development. South-Western.
The Myers & Briggs Foundation. Retrieved April 25, 2010 from http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/the-16-mbti-types.asp#ISTJ