Self-assessment on the path to extraordinary leadership

Being a leader is tough.

Most people are okay at being a leader. Very few are extraordinary.

The gap between the two is wide – and while not impossible to bridge, it can be difficult.

Extraordinary leadership takes time and experience, and there are many aspects to honing leadership skills. However, one significant (and sometimes overlooked) element is regular self-assessment.

Learning is an integral part of any successful leadership journey. Simple but true.

This can be confronting, but it is very worthwhile.

Conducting a regular self-assessment on your abilities as a leader keeps you grounded, self-aware and always learning. 

Learning is an integral part of any successful leadership journey. Simple but true.

As well as regular self-assessments, learning can also include:

  • Asking for detailed feedback
  • Learning through formal courses
  • Coaching
  • Setting clear action plans.

To assess your leadership qualities, there are 5 key stages to work through. 

1. Regular self-assessments

Before you can assess your behaviour and capabilities, you firstly need to write down the key qualities of being a leader. This list is up to you. If you need assistance, try one of our articles on the qualities of a great leader.

Once you have determined the key qualities, rank them in order of importance to you. This clarifies what you will need to prioritise in your learning action plan. 

Go through each quality, giving yourself a rating between 1 and 10 (with 1 being not particularly good and 10 being excellent). This number is a ranking that will assess your strength or weakness in that specific quality. Take your ego out of the equation and be honest, or even critical. For you to grow and be more effective you need to be able to dig deep into your soul and give an honest reflection of yourself as a leader. 

Going through this initially takes time. Once you have formulated your priority ranking and initial rating, we recommend you review it regularly, even monthly. It is a great way to keep yourself in check as a leader.

Alternatively, try our executive scorecard, which can provide some structure around this process.

2. Asking for detailed feedback

Your self-assessment is the first big step. Now, to get a 360 view of yourself, ask your team members, colleagues, managers, and customers what they consider your qualities to be. 

By asking these questions, you are highlighting that you want to grow into a better leader. You will gain more respect from people in doing so. 

Seeing the ratings from the 360 viewpoints will show you how accurate you are in your self-assessment, what others really think of you and your abilities, and where you need to invest more time in your development. 

3. Learning through courses, reading, and viewing material

Any rating below 5 needs attention. Especially if the rating is in one or more of your top 10 ranking priority qualities.

There are so many tools available for learning now. A variety of teaching methods through multiple platforms keeps learning easy, accessible, engaging, and entertaining. Consider blending reading books with face-to-face structured courses, webinars, one on one coaching. There are also a vast number of videos and articles available on social channels. 

Prioritise learning around your highest-ranking qualities that are below a rating of 5. Then, focus on the lower ranking qualities that are below a rating of 5. Then, once you have taken the time to invest in those you can move on to the additional qualities that are rated between 5 and 10. 

Commit to the learning by setting an objective and a goal of when you want to complete it. With this clear objective and goal, you can confidently act on your learning. 

4. Setting a clear action plan to implement your learning

The next stage is to apply that learning. Without clear objectives and an action plan, it is likely that you will not implement the learning. And without implementation, you won’t change. So, commit to acting by setting clear plans and implementing them.

5. Review and reflect

You are in control of your own development. This process is an investment that will not only accelerate your leadership qualities but also your executive career.

Each year take time out to review and reflect on your leadership qualities. Are you consistent in how you are demonstrating them? Have you ranked or rated lower or higher and if so, why? 

Once you have taken the time to reflect, make the necessary adjustments to continue your journey as an extraordinary leader. 

If you want to know more, try this analysis of what makes an extraordinary CEO.

Register for our exclusive membership to support your leadership journey to accelerate your executive career. Hunton Executive is here to support you, to create a sustainable and successful career. 

Contact us to learn more about how we can specifically help your organisation. 


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