Saturday, June 4, 2011

Leadership Style Self-Assessment

If you have never taken a self-assessment test in any form, I highly recommend you do in the near future. I found out a great deal of information in my personal style of leadership.

Leadership Style

Leadership has many different facets which cannot be detailed sufficiently under a one-size-fits-all umbrella. Many phases must be assessed to accurately paint a picture of what makes a great leader and the style in which the person projects. In different settings and situations a leader must adapt and change his/her style to achieve the best results. Truly great leaders can mold and metamorphosis to the situation.

Self Assessment Test Results

After completing the self assessment tests on the Materials page of the University of Phoenix student website I found my style of leadership reflects an accurate portrait as I see myself. I have always felt I am a good leader and care about the success of, not only myself but, my team and subordinates. My test results reinforced this self confidence. I am trusting but not gullible or naive. I enforce the rules and regulations, I or the team have set forth, but I am not a slave driver. The satisfaction of my team and subordinates is important but not at the expense of the project or company. I emphasize training and learning along with developing skills to help each member grow as a person and an employee. The assessment indicates I am high in the area of task-oriented personality type but, although to a lesser extent, I am people-oriented. This means I expect the very best an employee can give me but I am sensitive to the needs of the team also. I am not an autocratic leader. I feel people are the most important cog in the wheel of business. Without a talented workforce a company is doomed to mediocrity if not failure. A talented workforce must have an equally talented leadership team to guide the company. Employee satisfaction is an important aspect for recruiting and retaining these talented individuals. In the category of team building I scored a 108, on a scale of 18 to 108 (95+ being the top quartile), indicating I am a good team builder and leader. Being in the top percentile of this assessment proves, to me at least, I have the characteristics companies look for in managers and leaders.

Leadership Theories

According to Gary Yukl in Leadership in Organizations (2006) many of the theories are either leader based or follower based. I think that a good leader is a support structure for his/her subordinates. I was taught by a former manager, who was an excellent leader and motivator, that a leader is first and foremost a support structure for the workers. He always said “a salaried person in the company is merely a drain on the payroll” (personal correspondence, n.d.). His theory was that any person that did not produce a product or provide a service that brought a profit to the company was a drain on the company. In the automotive business commissioned employees (technicians, sales people, etc.) are the producers of the company. They bring in the money. Salaried managers and hourly office personnel only cause the company an expense because they do not produce a sellable product or service. This is why my employees are the backbone of the company. Although the management, office staff, and hourly employees are important, without the technicians, sales people, and other commission only personnel an automotive dealer is not profitable. This situation best aligns with the empowerment theory although some parts of other theories mix in making it very difficult to pinpoint a direct correlation to any one or two theories.

Career Choices

The best jobs for me involve leading people in dynamic areas of corporate business. I feel I am best suited as a corporate board member such as CEO, COO, or Vice President of Operations. I am at my best when making tough decisions, guiding the ship through rough waters so to speak. Leading large teams and putting together demanding projects stimulates me and makes my day worthwhile. Drudgery and monotony are surefire ways to bore me to tears. “In terms of exerting effort at work, there is impressive evidence that people who score high on conscientiousness, extraversion, and emotional stability are likely to be highly motivated employees” (Robbins & Judge, 2007, p. 134).

Leadership Strengths

In my assessment of my leadership style I have come to realize, because I am an extrovert, I am an effective listener. I feel it is important to ask questions of my subordinates and rely on their answers as part of my decision process. They are the ones directly affected by the decisions of change and their concerns and/or ideas can drastically affect the outcome of the change. If the employee(s) are on-board with the change and have had their concerns or ideas taken into account during the change they are more receptive to the end product. If they feel their input is not welcome, or was not taken into consideration, they are more likely to resist the change and many aspects will be affected such as; lower productivity, higher turnover, attrition, lower morale, etc. Too many times companies make changes that affect the lower order of the company without regards to how it will affect them. Sometimes it is not possible to delay and the change must be instituted, but the management should be ready to explain the reasons and show good cause why the changes were installed. I want my team to feel they can come to me and ask me or tell me anything that may be concerning them or ideas they may have to increase or decrease something. They do the work every day, and I trust their expertise. But I also expect when I institute a policy or procedure, or make a change, everyone will follow my instructions to the letter without question or hesitation. I address all questions and concerns as soon as possible but require the changes to be made uninterrupted. I believe I am a fair and consistent leader. I do not hold grudges or single people out because they do not think like I do. Diverse thinking is what makes a company succeed in the marketplace. I take criticism well and rarely take anything personal unless it is a direct attack. My subordinates question me from time to time and I am always open to their input to make business better for them and our customers. They know I make decisions based on what I think customers want or need to bring in more business. They also know I will not make them work for free just to pacify a customer. That balance has made my leader status grow over the years.

Leadership Weaknesses

One weakness I see in myself is when I take too long to make a decision. I like to have all the facts and research in front of me to make an informed decision. In the automotive business hesitation can lead to failure. Customers want the best deal and they want it now! Automotive customers make purchases based on need and availability. If a company is giving a 10% discount on a front-end alignment chances are customers will go to that company before returning to their regular dealer. Or a vendor will have a one-time offer on a product and sell out before I have the chance to check around to make sure I am getting a good deal. This weakness has saved me from haste decisions that could have been disastrous so I take comfort in not always jumping on the first thing I see or hear. Another weakness I have been told I have is I tend to be very straight forward and direct with people. I do not dodge around or make a lot of concessions for feelings. I want people to understand where I stand and then I listen to their part. Customers can be offended by this at times but I am really doing it for their benefit. I never want a customer to misunderstand what I say or do. If something is unclear or vague a customer instantly thinks you are being deceptive. I do not want a customer walking away thinking I was trying to take advantage of, or cheating, them.


Because so many leadership theories exist it is hard to nail down one type that accurately describes me. I have many qualities of each one, but I possess all five of the Big Five leadership traits in key areas such as extrovert, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience. Scoring high in all of these areas gives me the right combination of attributes to be an effective leader.

No comments: