How to Undertake Executive Leadership Assessments

“When discussing the assessment of future leaders, leadership is observable, thus a behavior”

– FBI Bulletin[i]

The use of work-samples and assessments is commonplace when recruiting for technical positions, but why not use assessments to identify leadership skills too? People are often surprised to hear that something like leadership can be quantified. While it’s certainly not the same as coding speed, or other numeric indicators, a broad concept like leadership can be broken down into factors (and sub-factors), which can be assessed to provide an overall picture of an individual’s strengths and development opportunities. Given that executive leaders are the most important (and powerful) people in any organization, decisions about who fills these roles should be made with as much data as possible – in other words, using a scientifically validated executive leadership assessment.

In this blog we’ll take a closer look at leadership assessments, specifically how they can be used to support hiring, selection, and development for executive leadership roles.

What are Executive Leadership Assessments?

Executive leadership assessments are used to identify the ability or potential of a candidate to step into senior leadership roles. Assessments can be used to supplement interviews, resumes, cover letters, and other sources of information. The benefit of assessments, however, is that they provide a more objective estimate of a candidates’ potential because they are less influenced by personal bias or other variables.

When to Use Executive Leadership Assessments

Executive leadership assessments can be used in a variety of different contexts:

  • When looking to hire a new leader externally
  • When looking to promote a new leader internally
  • To identify existing leaders’ strengths and development opportunities
  • To discover who your high potentials are
  • To supplement a formal succession planning or talent development process

How to Undertake an Executive Leadership Assessment

If you are ready to launch an executive leadership assessment with your team, here are five steps you can follow to make sure the process is smooth, and the assessment is used effectively

  1. Get familiar with the executive assessment – know what it measures, how it is administered, and how to interpret results (any scoring, reports, etc.)
  2. Create a plan – Make a plan for how and when the assessment is going to be incorporated in your hiring, promotion, or talent development process
  3. Make decisions about its use – Decide how the results of the assessment will be used in your decision making process
  4. Introduce the assessment – Introduce the executive leadership assessment to your team and explain how and why it is being used
  5. Utilize assessment results – Refer back to the results of the assessment; use them as a baseline to measure progress and to supplement ongoing employee development

Introducing the LSP-R: An Executive Leadership Assessment

If you’re looking for a reliable executive leadership assessment, check out SIGMA’s Leadership Skills Profile – Revised (LSP-R). The LSP-R is a personality-based assessment of leadership skills that can be used to guide leadership development efforts. The test scores individuals on 50 leadership competencies including cognitive, personal, interpersonal, and senior leadership skills. Everyone who takes the LSP-R will automatically receive a Focus Report which includes a summary of scores and analysis of results, as well as templates and activities for creating a personalized development plan.

Looking for More?

If you have questions about the LSP-R or how it can be used specifically for executive leaders, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! Over the last 50 years we’ve worked with more than 8,500 private and public organizations across North America. We’ve got lots of tips and tricks to share, and our consultants are always happy to chat.


Erica Sutherland, Ph.D.


Erica completed her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational psychology at Western University. She is a Senior Consultant at SIGMA, where she delivers consulting services and Succession Planning solutions to clients. As a member of SIGMA’s executive coaching team, Erica works one-on-one with leaders to develop talent. She also brings her expertise in measurement and psychometrics to the R&D team, assisting with the development and validation of SIGMA’s many assessments.


Brittney Anderson, Ph.D.


Brittney is a member of our coaching and consulting team. She brings her expertise in evidence-based practice to provide companies with leadership solutions that meet their needs. Primarily, Brittney helps her clients prepare for their future with succession planning and comprehensive leadership development programs. As an executive coach, she helps leaders hone their skills using a process-based approach to development.


Glen Harrison


Glen oversees SIGMA’s sales and marketing activities. As a skilled presenter and trainer, he has designed and delivered engaging and entertaining workshops and webinars to help leaders and HR professionals enhance their understanding of how our products and services can be used to realize potential within their organizations.

[i] FBI. (October 2010). Prisoner Radicalization. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 79 (10). Retrieved from

About the Author

Helen Schroeder

Marketing Coordinator

Helen completed a dual degree with Ivey Business School’s HBA program and Western University’s Honours Specialization in Psychology. As a Marketing Coordinator and Consultant she creates and manages content for SIGMA’s webpages, blogs, and coaching resources. Helen also assists in new product development, go-to-market strategy, and client consultation.