Does every situation require the same kind of leadership qualities?
The leadership personality tests are designed to measure leadership qualities in the candidates required for a particular situation. The psychologists build an optimal profile of your strengths and weaknesses and compare with those of other candidates. This way they become capable to determine which candidates are the best to handle a particular position.
Like personality and intelligence, leadership doesn’t have a scientifically specific definition. Some psychologists correlate the concept with personality behaviors and others with improvable skills. Almost every leadership test is built upon a particular definition of the leadership. That’s why every test may be taken as a different type.
However, Richard L. Hughes has identified the following five types:
1- Critical-Incident Analysis
In this leadership personality test model, you are analyzed in the light of a critical leadership incident. Your seniors, colleagues or subordinates are asked to point out an incident where you exercised your leadership qualities fully. This model is considered good because it takes into account a real world situation. However, it is a costly long process. It is generally applied to the selection of leaders from the already functioning groups.
In this leadership personality test model your leadership performance is observed in a real life situation. The observation process may be structured or unstructured. When the observation is structured, you are analyzed within the specific parameters. However, when the observation is unstructured, your every action and behavior is noted down. It is also a costly long process. It is generally used to select leaders from the working groups.
3- General Tests
General leadership tests use pen/paper or computer/mouse to know your answers from a multiple choice questionnaire. This popular type is low in costs and easy to be concluded within a short period. It is often administered for the selection of fresh leaders.
Interview has become a necessary part of any career personality test. However, Hughes prefers to identify it as a different kind of the leadership personality tests. It can be either structured or unstructured. When it is structured, the parameters and questions are predetermined.
5- Career Assessment Centers
The career assessment centers claim to provide services of the professionals for measuring leadership qualities. They use written leadership tests, interviews and fake situations to get data about the required qualities. Most of the organizations prefer to hire service of these centers instead of having their own psychological analysis systems.
Like definition of leadership, there is no agreement on qualities required for an effective leader. They are in dozens including:
The list goes on...
The role of effective leadership in success of the organizations has given birth to a large industry of psychological testing. Like other psychological instruments, leadership personality tests are subject to error. But there are a number of inherent reasons for failure of the tests to screen the best leaders.
Leithwood says that most of the personality leadership tests are unorganized, non-scientific and misleading in results. They are often subjective in their nature, build-up and interpretations. The wrong elections are not only a burden upon the organizations but also result in severe financial losses. So they should not be used without a grain of salt.
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