Assessment tools play a critical role in an organisation, from leadership selection and development to talent management. Lauren Davis highlights the importance of using psychological assessments in leadership recruitment and development to ensure that we select the most effective leaders for our organisations.
“Organizations are like automobiles. They don’t run themselves except downhill. They need people to make them work – and not just any people, but the right people. The effectiveness of an organization’s employees determines how the organizational machine will perform. In this process, the leader is the one who shows fellow travelers the way by walking ahead. If the leadership dimension is not in place a company simply cannot be successful.” Kets de Vries (2001)
The results of assessments provide an indication of the potential a person has to demonstrate competence in his or her role as a leader in the organisation. They
enable an organisation to make a prediction of the leader’s personality style, cognitive ability, interest, values and emotional intelligence in order to determine whether he or she is a good fit for the role and for the organisation.
The philosophy we use at JvR Consulting Psychologists regarding the psychological assessment of a person is grounded in looking at the entire person in context. Once we get a full psychological profile of the individual being assessed for a leadership position, we can determine the fit of that person to the demands of the context.The figure below demonstrates those aspects of the person we consider it important to evaluate, when looking to select the best leaders for an organisation.
The top half of the “pie” relates to the demonstration of behaviours. The Personality slice describes the person’s day-to-day behaviours (the so-called “bright side” of personality). The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) is an example of a personality assessment that provides an assessment of an individual across seven different personality factors (for example, adjustment, ambition, interpersonal sensitivity, prudence). The Derailers slice describes the person’s possible problematic behaviours (the so-called “dark side” of personality). These are behaviours that may emerge under stress. An example of this assessment is the Hogan Development Survey (HDS), which measures certain derailers (for example, colourful, mischievous, dutiful, and bold). The EQ in the middle is seen as a buffer of sorts, and describes the skills and abilities that help to manage day-to-day behaviour in such a way that it protects against a lapse into derailment. An example of this assessment is the EQ-I, which measures 15 different emotional intelligence skills and abilities, for example, empathy, emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, interpersonal relationships and stress tolerance.
Underlying these behaviours is the person’s personal values (the “inside”): in other words, those core beliefs, preferences, and interests that motivate or drive them in the workplace. An example of this kind of assessment is the Hogan Motives, Values and Preferences Inventory (MVPI), which measures aspects such as commerce, aesthetics, hedonism, tradition, security and power. The last slice of the “pie” looks at a person’s cognitive ability, which has been shown to be a vital component of job success. Examples of these assessments are the Cognitive Processing Profile (CPP) or the Career Path Appreciation (CPA). Both assessments measure, among other aspects, an individual’s problem-solving styles and ability to deal with complexity. Surrounding these assessments is the simulation exercises, which are real-life organisational situations to which the individual needs to respond (for example, in-basket exercises, role plays or presentations). These simulation exercises enable a view of how the personality, cognitive ability and emotional intelligence are displayed in action. In any situation, it is important to consider all of these aspects when determining a person’s fit to a role or to the organisation. This forms the psychological foundation of the assessment process. »