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Talent Assessment | 6 Min Read

What are leadership tests, and why are they useful?


It’s an incontestable fact that all organizations, irrespective of their size or type, need great leaders to be at the helm. There is no doubt that competent leadership is what drives organizational success. However, identifying the right leaders becomes a formidable task for many organizations, which is why leadership tests are conducted with an aim to assess an individual’s leadership traits and determine the future scope of leadership capacity building in that person.

Leadership tests provide insights into an individual’s leadership attributes, skills, and attitudes. These tests can also furnish detailed data on delegation skills, motivation levels, and leadership abilities. Leadership is a culmination of various competencies that include analytical skills, effective decision making, interpersonal communication, problem-solving skills, resilience, collaboration, and more. A perfect leadership test will be the one that considers all these critical dimensions of leadership.

This blog offers objective insights into the basics, benefits, and importance of leadership assessments.


What is a leadership assessment?

Leadership assessment is defined as the structured, objective, comprehensive, and validated evaluation process of assessing an individual’s leadership competency using a psychometric test. This assessment approach looks beyond role-specific skills and considers the aptitude and personality traits effective leaders need. The leadership test offers an insight into how efficiently individuals can accomplish their goals as leaders. The test provides a way to delve into their psyche and analyze their likely reactions to any impediments.

Leadership assessments can be employed for recruitment, leadership development or internal promotions. They are either tailor-made to suit an organization’s needs or based on a company’s competency framework that comprehensively defines the skill map of the organization and the approach to effective leadership development. This way, leaders can visualize a roadmap for their careers’ clear progression, which aligns them further with the organizational objectives.

Such assessments are designed to reflect on different aspects of leadership that include team management, the ability to engage, enthuse, and motivate others, providing credit where it’s due, empathy, communication abilities, etc. These tests give an objective evaluation of a person’s inherent leadership qualities or act as a constant check for the leaders to help them grow by unraveling their areas of strengths and improvements. Leadership assessments, therefore, play a pivotal part as they help organizations hire and promote suitable candidates for leadership positions. It’s safe to assume that a well-defined leadership test is the first step towards a structured approach to help an organization plan well and prepare it to deal with abrupt changes within the workplace.


Benefits of leadership tests

While leadership assessments can offer numerous advantages at an organizational level, the most significant benefits are listed below:


Leadership Test_infographic 1

Helps in creating a structured roadmap to achieve long-term goals

Leadership assessments provide objective insights into individuals’ abilities, irrespective of where they are in their career, enabling organizations to understand the type of leadership skills they possess. A well-structured leadership evaluation may allow those individuals to create their career goals and provide them an approach to meet those goals while gauging their ability to manage various roles and responsibilities. In addition, a detailed evaluation can reveal underlying strengths and additional competencies needed for leaders to confront new challenges. Nowadays, leading psychometric assessment providers offer a plethora of leadership evaluation methods that assess a subject’s performance in a wide range of areas and circumstances.

Help in introspection and self-development

Qualitative leadership assessments are reliable tools to understand a business leader’s aptitude for team management, decision-making skills in challenging situations, ability to materialize business ideas into reality, drive high team performance, etc. They provide the leaders with actionable insights concerning the attributes and skills crucial to becoming a better leader. These insights address the lack of self-awareness among business leaders regarding their strengths and vulnerabilities. In short, leadership assessments provide leaders with adequate feedback which can help them hone their capabilities, enabling them to match the continued growth of their organizations and the changing needs and expectations of their members.

Help in redefining the leadership development plan

A high-quality leadership assessment can play a pivotal role in the leadership development plan of an organization. It enables a company to gauge the competencies of business managers at various levels to manage teams and projects. It furnishes insightful data to assist human resource departments in finding potential skill gaps in the talent pool while ascertaining who will be suitable for senior leadership roles in the organization should the vacancy arise. When most senior employees are on the verge of retirement, businesses require leadership assessments to conduct well-structured succession planning.

Help in making well-informed decisions

In an age where data continues to rule the roost, it’s safe to assume that making the most crucial decisions based on the most significant amount of information or data is paramount. Likewise, leadership tests are based on data. Hence, organizations can conduct periodic leadership assessments for each level of executives and get actionable insights to determine how each executive is committed to their role and which ones are ideally suited for assuming new responsibilities.

Helps leverage differences for making a competitive difference

There is nothing like having executives with different ideas and ways to solve complex problems or streamline business processes within an organization. But what is even more interesting is the use of leadership assessments to understand what specific competencies and strengths make each leader unique and how to leverage those differences for achieving organizational excellence.

Help maintain industry standards of competency development

According to Matt Weidle, Business Development Manager, Buyer’s Guide,” Those who have been in positions of senior leadership for many years may assume that they no longer require as much input as they did earlier in their careers. However, this approach does not apply to developing industries. The top leadership assessment tools can help you evaluate how your talents compare to industry norms. You may be surprised to learn that there are specific competencies you need to develop to keep yourself and your organization ahead of the competition”.

Jessica Robinson, Content & Human Resource Manager, The Speaking Polymath, echoes the same sentiment, “Leadership tests or assessments deliver on the crucial endeavor of measuring leadership competencies among the present leaders in the organization and the prospects. It helps organizations make important decisions regarding allocating leadership roles and duties to their best-suited employees. Moreover, it allows organizations to compare the current leadership attributes of their employees with the ideal attributes of a great leader. It is good if companies conduct leadership assessments at regular intervals to ascertain if their leadership prospects are keeping up with the latest prerequisites of excellent leadership. Leadership assessments can be critical for businesses to succeed in their strategic objectives across all KRAs as these assessments will also lay down a roadmap for leadership grooming within an organization”.


What is the need for leadership tests?

Whether onboarding a new leader or promoting someone to the upper echelons of the corporate world, every decision pertaining to leadership is a high-stakes decision for organizations, so it’s critical to make decisions based on accurate information. Staying abreast of how the leaders in the organization are faring can be done through data-driven leadership tests.

Listed below are the two reasons that briefly outline the importance of leadership assessments:

  • An article by financial express suggested that ineffective leadership can cost up to 7% of a firm’s turnover, 4% lower revenue growth, and lower customer satisfaction. Undoubtedly, leadership failure can have a negative ripple effect on organizational goals, due to which it may become commonplace to see employees deviating from their core objectives and feeling disoriented. Eventually, this discord may culminate in such an undesirable event as high employee turnover. However, leadership assessments are a surefire way to forestall such adverse outcomes. These assessment tools enable an organization to uncover the hidden leadership talent and bring it to the fore.
  • Good leaders are critical for ensuring business success which is why companies should carry out leadership appointments with scrupulous attention to detail. To this end, they can leverage leadership assessments to find the right talent for leadership roles. Inevitably, an organization can get a clear insight into the prospective candidate’s strengths and areas for development by identifying trends and correlations from the leadership assessment data. It can also utilize such data to identify high potential talent that can be promoted from within for next-level roles.


The importance of leadership style evaluation in developing leadership skills

Now that we have already discussed why leadership assessments are a pressing priority, we will explore why assessment of leadership styles is crucial in developing leadership skills.

Effective and long-serving leadership necessitates the ability to lead in wide-ranging conditions and with a wide variety of people. Achieving this vision requires an optimal mix of leadership styles.

A leadership style represents the behaviors leaders exhibit and approaches they undertake when managing, directing, and motivating others. A person’s leadership style indicates how somebody strategizes and implements plans while managing stakeholders’ expectations and safeguarding the team’s wellbeing. Understanding the leadership style is essential because it helps leaders understand how their actions and behaviors influence their teams, peers, and others.

Although asking for feedback from those under the leader’s direct influence is always ideal, a leader’s understanding of their leadership style prior to seeking feedback will always come in handy. That way, when they get to know their direct reports’ thoughts, it’s easy for them to decide which leadership style would be appropriate and imbibe the style’s characteristics in their day-to-day operations.

Leadership styles can be broadly grouped into four categories:


Leadership styles four categories

Directive Leadership

This leadership style signifies highly centralized and exclusive leadership characterized by the leaders’ preference for giving directives and commands to those under them. Directive leaders tend to direct their subordinates concerning their responsibilities and specify the standards and deadlines for the team.

Consultative Leadership

This leadership style is centered on team cohesion and draws on the teams’ skills, ideas, and experiences to make strategic and informed decisions. Consultative leaders tend to consult their subordinates about their responsibilities and then finalize the goals for the team.

Delegative Leadership

This leadership style is centered around empowering those under the leader’s tutelage to make decisions and then execute tasks based on those decisions. Delegative leaders tend to explain the problem/issues to the subordinates and share their suggestions but allow the associates to decide the final course of action.

Participative Leadership

This leadership style is characterized by the leaders’ preference to invite employees to partake in the organizational decision-making process. Participative leaders tend to discuss and analyze problems with the subordinates and make decisions with the consensus of all associates.

Related Post: Leadership Development Framework: A New Model for New-Age Leadership


How can Mercer | Mettl help you conduct leadership evaluations effectively?

Today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) business environment underlines the need to continually evolve leadership models to keep pace with the new business reality. Adhering to old models in such a complex world is not the right approach for leadership evaluation.

Mercer| Mettl’s decade-old expertise has laid the foundation for conceptualizing and creating a proprietary leadership development model that zeroes in on the competencies and behaviors that are crucial for the development of organizational leaders, helping them take on new challenges.

This empirically derived model is supported by a comprehensive suite of objective, reliable leadership assessment tools that provide detailed insights into work-relevant personality traits to predict behavioral tendencies, leading to organizational outcomes of interest. They help identify an individual’s dominant leadership style to determine role fit.

Here’s a brief rundown of essential personality evaluation tools:

  • Mercer | Mettl’s Personality Map (MPM)
  • Mercer| Mettl’s Personality Profiler (MPP)
  • Mercer | Mettl’s 360View
  • Mercer | Mettl’s Assessment and Development Centers
  • Mercer| Mettl’s leadership styles survey
  • Mercer| Mettl’s aptitude tests


Mercer | Mettl’s Personality Map (MPM)

Mercer | Mettl’s Personality Map (MPM) has been designed to be used across the employee lifecycle, from personnel selection to training and development, and helps employers gain access to otherwise inaccessible information about employees. This data is critical in influencing their behavior at work. MPM identifies traits, such as risk propensity, taking charge, growth mindset, etc., to predict employee behavior accurately.

This new tool is an amalgamation of rigorous and evidence-based psychological science and industry-relevant and client-focused application.

MPM Offers Unique Advantages to Its Users Through:

  • New-age and industry-relevant traits
  • In-depth and comprehensive assessment of personality
  • Strong psychometric properties


Mercer| Mettl’s Personality Profiler (MPP)

Mercer| Mettl’s Personality Profiler (MPP) has been designed to help organizations gauge senior employees’ behavioral competencies and traits. The tool offers a description of the subject’s areas of strengths and improvement based on their work style preferences and personality traits. It provides a behavioral overview of the candidate based on the underlying preferences and predispositions.

MPP can be used for

  • Learning and Development
  • Identification of High Potential
  • Succession Planning


Mercer | Mettl’s 360View

Mercer | Mettl’s 360View provides a clear picture of the leader’s performance, skills, behavior, and organizational environment. The multi-rater feedback system assesses the leaders’ adaptiveness and flexibility to their workforce’s needs. It is an effective tool to identify managers’ training needs, enabling them to understand the traits their team, peers, or bosses appreciate. It also helps them understand the areas for improvement.


Mercer | Mettl’s Assessment and Development Centers

Mercer | Mettl’s Assessment and Development Centers offer a detailed evaluation of leaders’ role fitment by assessing them on various aspects required to lead the team successfully. These virtual solutions are one of our USPs. They predict future behavior for decision-making, diagnose development needs and assess behavioral constructs of interest.

We Offer Blended and Online Solutions, Customized to Your Requirements of Scale and Role :

  • Blended Assessment & Development Center: A mix of virtual and human intervention to accurately analyze and deliver on organizational needs
  • Virtual Assessment & Development Center A fully online, location-agnostic tool to quickly and accurately assess your employees

Mercer| Mettl’s leadership styles survey

Mercer| Mettl’s leadership styles survey is an online psychometric tool that evaluates leaders’ behavioral patterns to influence their behaviors. It implies the approach leaders undertake to assist their subordinates and motivate them to meet the performance targets.


Mercer| Mettl’s aptitude tests

Mercer| Mettl’s aptitude tests are ready-to-use assessments to test the cognitive ability of individuals for hiring and learning and development (L&D) purposes. The most comprehensive suite of aptitude assessments from Mercer | Mettl not only helps in making great people decisions but is also one of the best predictors of on-the-job success.

Originally published April 1 2018, Updated December 21 2021

Written by

Abhilash works with the Content Marketing team of Mercer|Mettl. He has been contributing his bit to the world of online business for some years now. Abhilash is experienced in content marketing, along with SEO. He’s fond of writing useful posts, helping people, traveling, and savoring delicacies.

Leadership Test

Assess & develop leadership competencies to future-proof your business

A leadership assessment is a type of personality test used to identify and develop the competencies required in a good leader - decision-making, empathy, communication, inspiring others, etc. A leadership test can contribute to organizational planning initiatives, such as promotion decisions, succession planning, etc.

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