Leadership – 7th in A Series

Ed BurghardAre You A Great Leader?

We all like to believe that we are effective leaders and given the opportunity can step up to take on an even greater leadership role in our respective Organizations. But, the hallmark of a great leader is that his/her followers readily recognize them as such.

Unfortunately, we are not always the most objective when it comes to self-assessment. Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves, and sometimes we seem to live in a fantasyland that only exists in our mind.

The problem with self-assessment is that absent objectivity you get a false sense of reality that either blinds you to your opportunities for improvement or sets you on a path to fix something that isn’t broken.

A decent paper on biases in self-assessment is entitled “Objectivity in the Eye of the Beholder: Divergent Perceptions of Bias in Self Versus Others”. It is a scholarly piece that basically concludes we are not our most reliable evaluator. Consequently, it is often helpful to solicit the perspective of others regarding your personal performance.

Here are links to the other posts in my leadership series.

1st in a series

2nd in a series

3rd in a series

4th in a series

5th in a series

6th in a series



To help make the task a little easier, I am providing you with a Leadership Assessment Tool that will help you grade your leadership skills as seen through the eyes of others.

The tool is something I have used to get a better handle on my own development opportunities. It is a practical way to get the feedback you need to improve as a leader. Key to getting an objective look is to ask for feedback from the right people. You need to ask people that have been in a position to personally observe your leadership behaviors. This typically means soliciting input from team members and managers in your reporting line.

I have found that anonymity is a great way to enhance objectivity. When I have used this assessment tool, I’ve deployed it as an online survey (I use SurveyMonkey). That way, it is easy for people to complete the information and the data can remain blinded. It also makes it easy to deploy the tool quickly following completion of a project that you led so the observations are fresh in people’s minds.


Click on the following link for a PDF copy of the Tool.

Personal Leadership Assessment Tool


The Leadership Assessment Tool will get you the feedback to assess your leadership behaviors. You can assign a letter grade to the score if you like, and track your progress over time by periodically (e.g. once a year) reassessing your performance.

But, the Tool alone will not ensure you become a better leader. You need to internalize the feedback and actually do something about it to improve.

I find many people start the process with great intentions, and stop after they define their opportunities for improvement. But, success comes from creating and implementing a personal skill improvement plan. You need to create new and improved behaviors. More often than not, that means you will need to change what you are doing. This requires an active learning approach. Just being aware of your opportunities is not sufficient. When you are under pressure, you will simply repeat the behaviors that feel natural to you if you’ve not invested the time to learn new leadership skills.


Give the Leadership Assessment Tool a try. See how others view you as a leader and put together a personal skill development plan to improve in your areas of greatest need.

I’d love to hear about your experience with the Tool. And, if you have used a similar Tool in the past, I’d love to hear your tips on how to get the most reliable feedback.

Please take the time to leave a comment.

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