Customised leadership skills assessments

The market-leading customised leadership assessments which Rob Williams Assessment Ltd have recently developed for our leadership consultancy clients, including Bloom, Human Edge and Sama.

Our leadership assessment best practices

  • Don’t focus on executive experience, track record or any historical evidence.
  • Modern leaders require a change orientated mindset and knowledge of the latest digital, marketing, sales skills.
  • All of which have completely changed for the digital – and now for the AI – focussed business worlds.
  • Potential leadership qualities encompass 21st century skills, such as critical thinking and strategic decision-making skills.
  • Many of which are difficult to assess using traditional methods such as structured interviews and leadership psychometrics

Rob Williams

Ask ROB (expert test developer) your questions by emailing

An Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Rob Williams is a Chartered Psychologist with over 25 years of experience working and designing tests. He is also the author of five psychometric test design books and has worked for the leading global psychometric test publishers including SHL, Kenexa IBM, MBTI, CAPP and SOVA Assessment.

TPI Leadership Beliefs assessment

We created an innovative sales development psychometric profiler to

highlight sales strengths and possible derailed.

support TPI’s following best sellering book, The Salesperson’s Secret Code:

What is your leadership style?


Leaders’ Digital Skills

As tech continues to blur boundaries, power is rapidly shifting to those with extensive digital skills. This powerful class of “knowledge workers,” who can work anywhere encompasses remote workers, virtual team leaders and new graduates alike.

Hence in addition to leaders must

  • Recognise and harness the critical skills of digital natives.
  • Take account of remote workers’ personality differences.

Assessing Potential leaders data

Organisations do not make other “big”leadership decisions without having robust leaders’ data. Why therefore make expensive leader hires, or promotions, without understanding applicant leader’s potential?

In fact, quantifying the potential of your leadership team has never been more important.

Our other psychometric test design specialities

 Assessing leaders potential

Hence many large organisations are:

  • Increasingly understanding the importance of having an effective senior leadership team. 
  • Recognising that effective leaders are expensive resources…
  • They can provide a significant return on capital employed if selected and developed effectively.  
  • Similarly, ineffective leaders / bad hires are very expensive.  

Having objective leader data removes bias and eliminates decisions based on emotions. Hence having robust potential data is critical to avoiding expensive mistakes or missing business opportunities.

  • Gathering leadership data objectively.
  • Coding their leaders potential.
  • Synthesising these two leadership contexts.

Leaders Assessment Don’ts

  • Use the wrong tools for the application. For example, 360-degree feedback is effective in leadership development scenarios but not in selection or succession management. 
  • Abdicate tough performance conversations to the assessor. Senior leadership must own this activity.
  • Overlook the purpose of the assessment. It’s very important to explain the entire leadership assessment process to every participant. In particular, what l happens after they’ve completed their leadership assessment? 
  • Ignore the leader assessment results for any participant.
  • Only rely on leadership assessment data – without using any other data sources such as interviews (and role plays). In other words, do…

Leaders Assessment Do’s

  • … use multiple assessment methods.
  • Always include feedback interviews. 
  • Use the most suitable leadership assessments  for that leader selection or leader promotion process. 
  • Always be very clear and open about why the leadership assessment is being used. 

Leaders Assessments design – Assessing Potential leaders

Don’t identify your future leaders based solely on past performance

  • Equating current (or past) performance with future capability is a mistake. Only 30% of high performers are also high potentials.
  • Yet many organisations base their decisions regarding future leaders largely or solely on evidence of past performance.  
  • The future demands on leaders will be different, what worked in the past won’t necessarily be as effective in the future.

Avoid basing leadership pipeline decisions on informal management views

  • Informal, unstructured assessments of an individual’s leadership potential allow biases, stereotypes and assumptions to determine high-potential talent pools.  
  • Often internal candidates get overlooked, pigeonholed due to others’ fixed assumptions about their capability.
  • Biases such as “similar-to-me” bias lead to favouritism for candidates who are similar to existing leaders in terms of their values and habits, beliefs, demographic and cultural variables.

Acknowledge the impact of your organisational context

  • Many assessments of leadership potential overlook the importance of context.
  • They assess characteristics of the individual, but fail to consider these in relation to the critical question: potential for what?
  • Performance is context-specific, so a leader who has succeeded in one context will not necessarily be the most effective leader in another.
  • Assessment of leadership potential must consider how an organisation’s external environment will challenge their leaders in the future.
  • You must determine the mindsets and skillsets needed for leaders to adapt and succeed within each unique environment.

Don’t assume that high potential individuals will automatically fulfil their potential

  • Once identified, potential is not automatically fulfilled.
  • In fact, some studies claim that 40% of high-potential promotions end in failure. 
  • Individuals need to be given the opportunities to stretch themselves, to learn and to develop, if they are to fulfil their potential.  
  • A leader’s potential will only be fulfilled if the right conditions are created, placing onus not only on individuals, but also on organisations to create the right conditions.

Leadership Assessments designs

PSI’s Leadership Climate Indicator LCI measures leadership climate set by individual leaders, groups of leaders, or both. It provides powerful diagnostic information to inform strategic initiatives such as culture change or other organisational development programmes.

Insights generated through the LCI:

  • Provides leaders with feedback about the climate they create.
  • Enable senior leadership teams to understand how employees feel being led by them.
  • Builds openness and trust.
  • Cultivates a leadership climate that will create a culture of sustainable high performance.
  • Helps organisations increase employee engagement, well-being and productivity.
  • Enables targeted L&D and leadership development strategies.

Leaders Assessments design – Assessing Potential leaders

Focus on the senior management team or board
Individual leaders contribute to the leadership of the organisation as members of the SMT or board.  Therefore, assessing the collective capability of leaders is often an integral part of any leadership assessment and development project.

The benefits of this collective assessment are numerous and include:

1. An assessment of the team’s strengths and development areas

2. Identification of gaps in the team with an action plan to address them

3. A review of governance and identification of organisational issues

Benefits of assessing leaders potential

Leader Due Diligence 

  • Individual and collective leadership assessment can form a part of a management due diligence exercise.
  • Investors can use this to minimise risks as part of Mergers & Acquisitions exercises.

Organisational Effectiveness Reviews – As part of a review of the effectiveness of the organisation.

Leaders Assessments design – Assessing Potential leaders

Key component of any Board review exercise

  • Leaders potential can be a key part of corporate governance audits.

An essential talent analytics tool

  • Cost-effective way of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the SMT or board.
  • Leaders potential data can then help inform HR practices.

Competitive advantage

  • Effective leadership is always a competitive advantage.
  • In the leadership potential research literature, improved leadership correlates with higher organisational performance.

Assessing leadership potential

Do your potential leaders possess the following traits?:

Visionary / Strategic Thinking Style

  • Outstanding leaders have a strong sense of mission and purpose.
  • They keep themselves and others focused on the things that bring them closer to realizing this vision.

Leadership Resilience and Drive

  • Great leaders are passionate and fiercely dedicated to carrying out their vision.
  • They are achievement-oriented, hard-working leaders who never stop learning and improving.

Adaptability and Readiness for Change

  • Top leaders invite the new and different.
  • They are flexible and adapt quickly to changing business conditions.

Personal Integrity and Business Qudos

  • Great leaders are committed to doing the right thing for the right reason in all situations.
  • With strong ethics, they live out their values.

Inspirational and Influential Communication Skills

  • Inspirational people lead with optimism and empathy.
  • They prioritise open communication since they place a very high value on other people’s ideas. Especially those of their team.
  • Inspirational leaders recognise how crucial it is for their own leader’s success to provide their team what they need to succeed.

Leaders Assessment design competencies

  • Agree ways of working. Make sure every team member is clear about how you will work together remotely, how you keep each other updated, and how frequently.
  • Show the big picture but prepare to flex. Remind your team about the big picture and how their work fits into it. Review short-term goals regularly and adjust as needed. If some members can’t carry out all their usual work, consider other skills they can lend to others to meet team goals.
  • Set expectations and trust your team. Be clear about mutual expectations and trust your team to get on without micromanaging. Focus on results rather than activity.
  • Make sure team members have the support and equipment they need. This includes any coaching they might need to use online systems or work remotely. Keep your calendar visible and maintain a virtual open door.

Future Leaders

It is easier to search for the best performer but selecting competent and advanced leaders for future companies is a very strenuous task to perform. Some observe that people getting promoted as team managers basis their high performance, timely deliverables, fresh perspectives, and detailed-oriented attitude individually have made them struggle a lot after some time as they could not drive the same while managing a team. His/her individual’s performance should never judge an efficient leader instead measuring him/her while working in a team and driving the team effectively should be the prime focus to evaluate.

No one is born with the attributes of leadership, it is practiced and enhanced every day. Hence, hunting leaders who are experienced only, will not be the right thing to do. However, while searching, one should look for the raw attributes which are a must-have in a leader. It helps in hiring the best employees from the lot. The organic qualities for becoming an effective leader is discussed as below:

Rob Williams

Ask ROB (expert test developer) your questions by emailing

An Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, Rob Williams is a Chartered Psychologist with over 25 years of experience working and designing tests.
Rob has worked for the school entrance test publishers ISEB and GL – as well as the leading global psychometric test publishers including SHL, Kenexa IBM, MBTI, CAPP and SOVA Assessment.

Effective listening skills

To become an effective leader, communication is the key to success. Communication is divided into two parts ‘speaking’ which means expressing and ‘listening’ which is a form of confirming that whatever was said has been received by you correctly.

People often learn to speak better but lack listening skills. When we listen to someone actively, we get more sensitive and thoughtful in terms of their need. While searching the competent leaders for future companies it is a must to focus point.

Future Leader decisiveness

If an individual does not have confidence in him/herself, it is impossible for them to convince their subordinates. This will result in doubtful instances and employees might feel insecure while working in that place.

Being confident helps in decision-making. A confident leader listens to the masses observes and addresses their concerns but decides as per his understanding for the betterment of the organization and fulfilment of the individual’s goals.

Focused goals

Paying attention to details and focusing on the primary objectives are must-have skills and should not be neglected while picking future leaders.

Attention to detail is critical to avoid unaddressed issues or concerns when the project is ongoing or completed.

With time and experience, the individual will be more aware of the operation of these skills in the various situations for the development of the business that will lead towards a focused individual.

Enduring positivity

Leaders are always long-term goal-oriented. They keep on building the road maps and work accordingly with a positive attitude. Individuals or organisations must check if the future leader they have in their mind, is ambitious or not.

Those who keep walking beyond their limitations and keep setting their standards and goals higher with optimism are more likely to be a better fit as a future company leader.

Leader potential

The individuals may have all these qualities however, they need a little brushing up. The leaders should always focus on getting required learnings in order to better guide team members. Hence, below are the five practical tips to brush up and mentor future leaders.

  • Keep identifying the leadership abilities/talents in the individuals. We often get to see individuals who are capable, reliable, proactive, and thoughtful in their jobs but somehow keep themselves in a shell. Don’t just run after degrees, watch for consistency, patience, reliability, and performance. Some individuals grab the opportunities they encounter while some require some help to shine.
  • Once you have spotted an individual who appears promising, begin a conversation with him/her. Explain why have you taken this decision what potentials you see in him/her and how can it help in developing the business, ask what they need as an individual. Push them hard to rise beyond their limits.
  • Before you give the role, make them aware of the work. Let them experience while working on some related tasks to check whether they are ready for the same.
  • Arranging coaching and mentoring program for short-term and long-term involvement helps the individuals to learn and explore more. It provides proper guidance and encouragement.

Counselling and guidance towards mental preparation is a must. It teaches to accept failures and rise again.

Leaders Assessments design – Assessing Leader Potential

Hold daily virtual huddles 

  • This will keep your team connected.
  • You need to check in on each report’s well-being
  • Whilst, at the same time, your team can check in on each other’s well-being
  • This daily virtual huddle is vital to keep workflow on track.
  • The key point is the regularity.

Maintain regular ‘meeting rhythms’

  • This is vital for your regular one-to-ones.
  • But is also key for your team meetings. 
  • And / or project meetings
  • Since additional continuity and structure is provided to each team or project member.

Leaders Assessments design

Share information

  • Also, encourage your team to do the same. 
  • Without physical ‘water-cooler conversations’, opportunities to pick up information in passing are more limited.

Share only appropriate updates

  • Including learnings from other meetings
  • And project updates
  • Also, invite your team to do the same.

Tailor all your feedback / communications. 

  • Communicate regularly, not just when things go wrong, whether it is information, praise or criticism.

Leader potential – Leadership Assessments design – Assessing Potential leaders

Listen closely and read between the lines. 

  • Not being in the same room means you don’t have extra information from body language…
  • Or tone to get the sense of what people are thinking or feeling, particularly in more difficult conversations.

Help foster relationships and well-being. 

  • Make time for social conversations.
  • This increases rapport and eases communication between people who may not meet often.
  • It also reduces feelings of isolation.

Leaders Assessments design – Our customised leadership skills assessments.