What are Leadership Self-Assessments?

A growing number of employers are using assessments in the workplace. Studies show that up to 60% of employees are being asked to take some form of leadership assessment, not to mention how many are used in the hiring and selection process beforehand.[1] Most of these tools are self-assessments, meaning the employee or applicant is answering questions about themselves. Leadership self-assessments then, are assessments in which the test-taker is answering questions about their own leadership skills and abilities. There are a few pros and cons to leadership assessments and self-assessments in general. Let’s take a look at both.

The Benefit of Leadership Assessments

Leadership assessments can be a critical piece of an over-arching leadership development process. The assessment provides an objective way to quantify potential and identify opportunities. This information can then be used to set goals and choose which assignments and activities are best suited for development. Leadership assessments can also be used to measure progress by tracking change or improvement. Benefits of using leadership assessments in this way include the following:

  • Increased employee engagement
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • Stronger internal talent pool
  • Decreased turnover[2]
  • Improved company culture

What are the Pros of Using Leadership Self-Assessments?

When looking for a leadership assessment, you’ll find you have many options. Apart from making sure your assessment is scientifically developed (valid and reliable), you’ll have the choice between self-assessments and 360 degree leadership assessments. Self-assessments are completed by the test-taker themselves. This makes them quicker and easier to administer than a 360 degree assessment, which considers input from multiple sources. Pros of leadership self-assessments include:

  • More variety (the majority of leadership assessments are self-assessments)
  • Quicker to administer
  • Easier to do with a large group
  • Cost-effective (because self-assessments are shorter they are usually also less expensive)
  • Less intimidating for test-takers

What are the Cons of Using Leadership Self-Assessments?

While there are many benefits to using self-assessments, there are also a few downsides to be aware of:

  • Somewhat dependent on each test-taker’s self-awareness
  • Respondents may be overly positive and/or overly critical
  • Respondents may be tempted to choose “the right” answer
  • Not as easy to uncover blind spots
  • Only uses one source of information

Although there are some cons to leadership self-assessments, a well-developed test will take these into account. Self-assessments often have checks built into the process to control for personal bias and self-awareness. For example, questions can be rephrased multiple times, or written in the inverse in order to find an individuals consistent (average) response rather than using just a one-time gut reaction. To make sure your test is well developed, ask vendors for the supporting psychometric materials (sometimes you can find these online). Psychometric documents describe how an assessment was developed, what it is intended to measure, and any research or data that supports the assessment’s validation process. You can use these technical documents to evaluate your leadership assessment.

Introducing the LSP-R

If you’re looking for a strong leadership assessment and wondering where to start, check out the 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.

Unlike many self-assessments, the LSP-R was scientifically developed and validated. We’ve leveraged decades of testing data to improve predictions made by the LSP-R and make sure that you can trust your results. If you would like more information about how the assessment was developed and revised, download our Psychometric Summary.

Looking for More?

If you’re not sure which option is best for you – self- or 360 degree assessment – 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.

[1] Meinert, D. (June 1, 2015). What Do Personality Tests Really Reveal? SHRM. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/pages/0615-personality-tests.aspx#:~:text=The%20%24500%2Dmillion%2Da%2D,for%20Human%20Resource%20Management%20members.

[2] AON. 2022. Why Talent Assessment? AON. Retrieved from https://assessment.aon.com/en-us/talent-assessment.

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.