How to Measure Leadership Skills

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Woman leading business meeting in office
Woman leading business meeting in office (Image: ER_Creative/iStock/Getty Images)

Evaluating an employee’s leadership skills, such as team building, financial acumen, project management or communication, typically involves establishing the core competencies and behaviors required by an organization to achieve its strategic goals and then measuring the current performance levels. Leaders typically set the strategic goals, lead change, develop personnel and motivate employees. Human resource professionals gather data about leadership performance through surveys and operational metrics, such as employee and customer satisfaction. Providing this input to managers allows them to build their own development plans to further their careers and help the company achieve its strategic objectives as well.

Measure employee satisfaction by conducting employee satisfaction surveys using online survey tools, such as Zoomerang, Qualtrics or SurveyMonkey. You use these tools to obtain input from workers on their satisfaction with job conditions, opportunities and leadership. Typically, the managers responsible for directing these employees use the feedback to institute programs that address shortcomings, such as lack of training, faulty equipment or other problems in the workplace. Executives notice employees who repeatedly rank their managers are deficient in providing these support resources. These managers typically have high employee turnover rates as well, which costs the company additional money in terms of hiring and retraining expenses.

Conduct 360 degree assessments. Measuring leadership skills using a 360 degree assessment allows you to get a baseline of the leader’s current skill levels based on input from everyone around the leader. Through the use of online surveys, focus groups and personal interviews, you generate information and reports that summarize the leader’s current performance level. By asking a leader’s superiors, peers and subordinates about his performance, you gather input to help the leader design an action plan to improve his ability to communicate a vision, direct change and motivate personnel to conduct continuous improvement activities.

Examine operational metrics, such as net revenue, operating profit and earnings. Consistent, reliable leadership typically results in strong business performance. Despite a fragile economy and complex global marketplace, effective leaders make sound business decisions that enable their companies to thrive. For example, low customer satisfaction ratings typically indicate poor product, support or service. Effective leaders have the skills and aptitude to monitor operational metrics and implement improvement programs before problems become widespread and impact company profits and long-term success. Favorable operational metrics typically mean the responsible leader’s skills reflect competency in the areas necessary to run the company. You can measure leadership skills by establishing this link with operational performance.

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