Think back to the last assessment you took at work. It might have been a leadership assessment, like a 360, or maybe a personality assessment.
How did you feel about it?
Did you learn anything valuable from the experience?
You may have found it useful. You also might have hated it or felt like it was a waste of time. Or maybe you were somewhere in between. You might have learned something, but if the language had been simpler, you could’ve learned more. All of these are valid ways to feel; lots of assessment results are broad and complicated — debriefs (or lack thereof) often leave you wanting more. Given that these assessments can also be expensive and require excessive planning and time investment with very little resulting change, sometimes you wonder if it was the best use of your — and your team’s — time (think survey fatigue)!
Research is somewhat split regarding one of the most popular assessments out there, 360 assessments. These assessments are only useful when companies take them seriously; otherwise, they tend to make very little difference. Speaking of seriousness, some leaders feel that 360s further divide a team. And to confirm one of my go-to sayings, some leaders even refuse to use them because they feel like the feedback reveals more about the giver than the receiver.
I have personally worked with organizations that are all over the map — some hate 360s and others love them. I’ve found my sweet spot with them and have generally been able to coach leaders to interpret their results and make positive changes. These assessments are by no means perfect; there are definitely issues, namely where leaders from marginalized populations receive racist and sexist remarks, and that is something I always have to be mindful of. I have no strong arguments for or against them. But, considering that employees are 74% more likely to share feedback if they can trust that it will be completely anonymous, I believe that there’s a place for them. This is just one tool and there are others out there. So, 360s are not the end all be all!
Let’s get back to my general approach to assessments. Another consideration I am constantly mindful of is when companies use certain types of assessments for performance review purposes and not developmental purposes. They might also use assessments to justify screening people out of hiring processes, not promoting people, or even worse! I’ve been in so many heated debates about this. I’ve even worked with companies that were discovering that the way they used assessments was causing disparate impact. They knew this but the tool was so entrenched in their culture that it was difficult to phase it out.
So what makes an assessment valuable — from both a leader and organizational perspective?
I recently had a discussion with a leader who took her team through another popular assessment. While she hated the results she received, she was impressed with the coaching and action prompted by the assessment. The action-oriented process made it easier for her to recover from the sting of criticism and do the hard work she needed to do to become a better leader. This anecdote is supported by research on what makes leadership assessments successful — they are most effective when the leader receives context and guidance about what to do with their results. This helps them convert feedback into concrete action.
This research is consistent with my experience as well. When I use assessments with leaders, not only do I help them interpret their results and come up with an action plan, I encourage them to present their results to their team. I suggest that they share their summary of the feedback they received (positive and negative), explain what surprised them, and reveal what challenged them about the process. In my experience, this is a vital part of the process because it creates instant psychological safety and accountability. It also opens up channels for employees to openly share qualitative feedback on the leader’s approach.
Action planning, coaching, and transparency are all built into the Change Coaches Leadership and Team Effectiveness assessment. All assessments include a coaching session to help leaders interpret results, form an action plan, and develop an approach to share results with their teams. We don’t leave you hanging out there. Leaders also have the option to purchase additional coaching sessions or take advantage of complimentary access to our resource library for further education and planning. The library includes micro-learning video modules, quarterly webinars, application worksheets, and more!
Our questions are not esoteric — they measure concretely how often you engage in certain behaviors. Reports are clear and easy to interpret. We carefully designed this assessment as we know how important it is to get leaders closer to achieving the real results they expect from an assessment. Our professional coaches will get below the surface with each leader and identify a plan that works for them.
The Change Coaches Leadership and Team Effectiveness assessment measures the most important, relevant qualities in today’s workplace — REAL leadership, belonging, and psychological safety — so our clients can trust that the assessment process will provide them with the information and coaching they need to build a solid foundation or grow as leaders. Our goal is that after taking a Change Coaches Leadership + Team Effectiveness Assessment, leaders will feel that they have gained valuable insight and have access to the tools and resources they need to run modern, high-performing, psychologically safe teams.
To learn more about the assessment, visit https://changecoaches.io/assessment/.