In 2020, the world grappled with a crisis it has not seen before. And to steer the mass of humanity through this crisis, even the leadership had to reinvent itself. The COVID-19 pandemic brought to the fore the importance of good leaders. Leaders who could lead through a crisis with a balanced head, think critically, and keep their heads straight even as the worst hit us were needed. Leaders who could balance the talent experience with that of business continuity and manage their teams in situations unheard of before and leaders who were agile and could foster that same learning agility among their teams to adapt and thrive in changing times were sought after.
The pandemic tested all of us, but it tested leaders even more. And it has been rightly said that a crisis does not make a leader. It only unveils the true ones. Organisations need great leaders whether they are in a crisis or not. This need requires setting up systems and processes that build and hone leaders and identify and assess talent to decide on the best leaders for the organization's future.
A recent survey by Excellence Enablers - a think-tank promoted by former SEBI chief M Damodaran found that while there are several areas where India Inc. has made progress in governance standards, there are many inadequacies too. One of the top risks highlighted by the survey was the lack of succession planning.
True, some leaders are born, while some leaders are made. But the fact remains that they both require time and effort. It may be difficult to define leadership, but it is easier to identify it- especially the traits that make up effective leaders. This is where assessments come in handy. They help organizations identify objectively and not subjectively people with effective leadership traits who can be honed upon to lead and help put in place a robust internal succession planning and leadership development program. Even if organizations choose to bring in leaders from outside, objective assessments are still a must to assess potential leaders.
Let's take a look at some of these assessment tools.
Measuring Critical Thinking, Learning Agility
One of the most important effective traits desired in a leader is critical thinking. Critical thinking is defined as the ability to look at a situation and clearly understand it from multiple perspectives while separating facts from opinions and assumptions. This skill is an indispensable trait for leaders as they have to make a million decisions day in and day out, in the interests of business and people.
The Watson Glaser Test of Critical Thinking Ability is one such effective tool to measure not only levels of critical thinking ability but also predict how someone will perform in many jobs. As a result, the test is widely used around the globe.
The Watson-Glaser measures an individual's ability to analyze, interpret, and draw logical conclusions from written information; recognize assumptions from facts; evaluate the strength of arguments, and draw correct inferences. Hence it is used not only as a timed assessment to measure critical thinking ability levels for job applicants but also as an untimed assessment in professional development programs and interventions,
Another important trait to lead in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world is the ability to make complex decisions without drawing on prior knowledge. Learning agility and creative or lateral thinking has been cited as one of the most desired traits in leaders and people alike in 2020. Creative problem solving was required daily to tide over the crisis. The Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) test is one such test that helps assess general mental ability and lateral thinking skills.
The assessment test helps organizations measure cognitive abilities required for performing in job roles and training courses such as lateral thinking, learning new concepts, quickly solving complex problems and tasks without drawing on prior knowledge. Compared with other assessments, RAVEN'S is one of the most proven predictors of performance in roles requiring these abilities, especially for a leadership role.
Measuring effective team management skills
John Maxwell has aptly stated, "Teamwork makes the dream work." And effective team management and team-building skills are especially important for leaders. These skills have become even more important in today's world. Hybrid work culture is becoming the norm where team members are distributed globally, and rallying them together for a single purpose is a challenging task. Leaders need to get everyone on the same page and help individuals perform better to achieve team goals or, in short, put in place measures for effective team development.
One such assessment that acts as a starting point for individual or team development is the Golden Personality Profiler that supports the development of soft-skills of the team members by improving their self-awareness, decision-making, relationship management, teamwork, and stress management
The test is one of the most in-depth personality assessments available to support coaching and mentoring activities. Powered by Jung's Theory of Type and the Five-Factor Model of personality, Golden identifies both a 4-letter Jungian type and the 5th element for stress while offering I8 sub facets that describe the unique personality of each individual.
The Golden Individual report provides actionable insights step by step to help understand the person's unique characteristics and quickly identify a team's strengths and resources and its potential weaknesses and potential blind spots. It also provides content that can be passed to the team members when relevant.
In conclusion, assessments like those mentioned above provide a critical starting point for organizations to measure, evaluate, identify, and develop potential leaders. These Leaders can imbibe new and critical competencies required to lead successfully in today's uncertain world, and encourage and build teams to do the same.