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Four Things to Look for in a Frontline Leader Assessment

Bradford Thomas

By Bradford Thomas

My wife recently roped me into helping her find a new pair of sunglasses. Her “second-best” pair broke and she wanted to replace them before we go on vacation in a couple of weeks. I spent several weeknights weighing in on potential “keepers” across literally HUNDREDS of online sites—and an entire weekend visiting department and specialty stores. She settled on a pair of tortoise shell sunglasses and within a week of buying them was not sure that they met her needs. 

For many, choosing the right frontline leader assessment is like helping my wife pick out sunglasses—too many options to consider and you don’t know until later that you have what you need. If you Google “frontline leader assessment,” you’ll find 9.59 million hits for everything from personality tests to 360⁰s and behavioral assessments.

Although each of these assessments measures a unique set of behaviors, skills, and traits, organizations typically want to use them for just two purposes:

  • Determining whether someone is ready to become a frontline leader. 
  • Understanding individual leadership skill gaps as a means to focus leadership development.

Regardless of how you plan to use them, there are four things you should consider when choosing a frontline leader assessment:

  1. Coverage. If it’s critical to leadership readiness in your organization, you need to evaluate it. This means looking past the technical skills and zeroing in on assessments that evaluate the behavioral competencies and personality traits required for leadership success.
  2. Accuracy.  Assessments don’t do you a bit of good if they don’t predict what they’re supposed to measure. Make sure that you choose highly-accurate instruments with a reliable track record.
  3. Insights.  Closely review the output reports. Do they provide sufficient detail to help you understand skill gaps? Are they easy for you and the participants to interpret with actionable advice to guide development planning?
  4. Limitations.  No assessment is a cure-all. For example, 360⁰s should not be used for salary reviews because they are subjective.

Choosing the right frontline leadership assessment for your needs isn’t a solo project. Enlist the help of a respected and trusted provider to ensure the assessment hits these four key criteria. Consult on the reason you’re using the assessment and what outcomes you need to achieve. This will keep the selection objective and focused.

For more information on what to look for in a frontline leader assessment, visit our website or call 1-800-933-4463.

Bradford Thomas is a product manager at DDI.

Posted: 07 Aug, 2013,
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