Spencer Stuart: How to Think About Assessing Leaders

Accurately predicting which executives will succeed in a senior leadership role and which will not is critical, but challenging for most organizations.  Traditional assessment approaches weren’t designed to predict whether an individual has the ability to stretch beyond his or her current capabilities to grow successfully into a new job and change along with it and the organization. In a recent report, Spencer Stuart explores the characteristics of the most effective executive assessments.

The most effective assessments address the weaknesses of traditional assessment approaches. Specifically, the most insightful assessments do the following:

  • Measure the capabilities that are central to effective leadership. An effective assessment scores leaders on the critical capabilities against an objective scale so that individuals can be compared to one another and to the required degree of competence for a given role.
  • Consider the relevant leadership context. How well an individual leader will perform is related to how well his or her capabilities, leadership style, and expertise align with the demands of a specific role.
  • Evaluate future potential with a developmental lens. The best assessment approaches are predicated on the idea that each person has the potential to continue to develop and enhance performance. When conducted with a developmental lens, assessments will be viewed as valuable by those being evaluated, improving engagement and increasing the likelihood that executives will apply developmental feedback.
  • Embrace multiple methods for precision. An effective assessment employs a range of methodologies to evaluate an executive from multiple angles and perspectives, going deep to illuminate aspects of the person such as their motivation, values, and personality in addition to capabilities and knowledge.

To read the full report, click here


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