Three Steps for Using Leadership Assessments to Pinpoint Personal Strengths and Weaknesses
A Primer for Hospitality Executives
By James Houran Managing Director, AETHOS Consulting Group | December 21, 2014
"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."
Max Ehrmann (1927) from the classic prose poem, Desiderata
The sobering truth is that personal and professional development hinges on the ability to be self-critical. Some might use softer language like "contemplative, introspective, and reflective," but that undermines the rather raw and unforgiving nature of the task itself. Frankly put, when you're not self-critical -- when you do not honestly examine yourself -- you'll never be aware of performance blind-spots, much less improve your efficiency and effectiveness over time. Those two elements are the heart of competency.
For leaders in hospitality or in any industry for that matter, performance feedback - if given at all – typically consists of summarized or edited comments in a traditional 360-degree appraisal. This can be a valuable approach to gain insight, but it's incomplete as the perspectives of raters are limited and highly subjective. A standardized assessment is a best practice supplement for a critical reason – it provides objective feedback on your skills, attitudes, and knowledge areas compared to rigorous benchmarks of high performers.
Drawing on a collective expertise in psychometrics, workplace psychology, and the hospitality industry, this article presents candid, insider information that walks you through three fundamental issues on how to use the right type of assessments to yield a personal SWOT analysis (strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats):
First, Choose a Performance, Not Personality, Based Assessment
For decades personality tests have been popular for employee screening and development, although personality traits have serious limitations when applied to workplace psychology. Research shows that personality tests are poor predictors of workplace performance, whereas measures of General Mental Ability (reasoning, planning, abstract thinking, comprehending complex ideas and learning quickly) and role-specific skills are stronger and more consistent predictors of performance. In fact, the popular O*net database of job classifications and corresponding requirements (http://online.onetcenter.org/) describes positions in terms of trainable and malleable skills and competencies rather than broad and rigid personality traits.
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