Custom Assessments for
Leadership Selection & Development

Custom assessments for leadership selection and development

Combine content from any/all 4 leadership areas

Leadership competencies

Leadership Competencies

Behaviors that contribute to leadership success

Leadership derailment risk factors

Derailment Risk Factors

Behaviors that cause leadership failure

Dark triad personality traits

Dark Triad

Offensive but sub-pathological behaviors that undermine team performance

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Understanding and managing emotions

2 types of leadership assessments


Performance ratings

  • Other people rate the leader's performance.
  • Can include supervisor ratings, self-ratings, colleague ratings, and/or customer ratings.
  • Sometimes called 360 assessment or multi-source assessment.
  • Suitable for measuring competencies, derailment risk factors, and some facets of emotional intelligence.
  • Useful for one-time or ongoing developmental feedback to help a leader improve over time.
  • Not suitable for pre-employment hiring.

We tailor content to your needs in 3 key ways:

1. Target what you care about most

We work with you to identify which of the below competencies, derailment risk factors, dark triad traits, and emotional intelligence scales are worth measuring in your specific context. We can even adopt your company's existing competency model for a perfect alignment with your existing competency framework. Focusing on only what's relevant to you makes your assessment:

Shorter - because irrelevant content is eliminated
More valid - because all remaining content is highly important

2. Tailor each characteristic being measured

For each characteristic included in your assessment (competency, derailment risk factor, etc.), we help you identify the aspects relevant to your context. We then focus each scale's item content and definition to align with your priorities.

Custom personality quiz tailored for best fit

Best fit - Tailoring how every characteristic is defined & measured means that all parts of your assessment will be the best possible fit for your needs, outperforming any generic counterparts available elsewhere.

3. Custom norms/benchmarks

Once you have enough data, your own leaders serve as the comparison sample for scoring respondents. This ensures the most accurate results.

No other service we are aware of offers a similar level of customization & optimization in a bespoke leadership assessment.

Sounds expensive...

Historically, custom assessments have been prohibitively expensive. Not any more. We exist to make high-quality custom assessments available at or below the cost of comparable off-the-shelf ones.

Use assessment results to...

Develop leadership talent
Expose red flags
Rank candidates
Set consistent standards
Set targeted interview questions or development goals
Avoid headaches

What's to stop people from lying

You can include a lie detector.

How does the lie detector work?

Unlikely virtues. When a person tries to distort their answers to make themselves look good, they will claim virtues that are only true of a small percentage of people. Examples include “I never feel sad,” or “I never lie.” Ironically, a person claiming to never lie is probably lying about it! A person is flagged for claiming too many unlikely virtues.

Ways to Integrate

  1. Invite candidates to complete assessment materials on our testing platform. All device types are supported.
  2. Use our API to integrate the survey into your own website.
  3. Whitelabel assessments to service your clients.

Leadership Competencies

Definition: Competencies are leader behaviors that positively contribute to superior performance.

Our model: Our model is founded on Tett, Guterman, Bleier, & Murphy's (2000) taxonomy. To ensure comprehensiveness, we then added content to cover all competencies available from all widely-used leadership competency models.

Your custom assessment: Your assessment can be based either on either:

  1. A subset of the below competencies - the ones most relevant in your leadership situation.
  2. Your company's own competency model, so content perfectly aligns with your company's existing competency model.
Leadership DimensionCompetency NameReversed Name
CommunicationOral communicationImprovable oral communication
CommunicationPublic presentationImprovable public presentation
CommunicationWritten communicationImprovable written communication
CourageAction orientationDiscussion orientation
CourageBravery/Risk takingCaution
CourageCareer ambitionCareer disinterest
CourageConflict resolutionAvoids intervening
CourageConfronting direct reportsAvoids confronting direct reports
DependabilityEthical leadershipUnethical leadership
DependabilityProfessionalismLack of professionalism
DependabilityTaking responsibilityEvading responsibility
DependabilityTime managementTime mismanagement
DependabilityValue alignmentValue misalignment
Developing Self and OthersDevelopmental feedbackDifficulty giving developmental feedback
Developing Self and OthersDevelopmental goal settingDifficulty setting goals for others
Developing Self and OthersJob enrichmentJob stagnation
Developing Self and OthersPerformance assessmentDifficulty assessing performance
Developing Self and OthersSelf-awarenessSelf-unaware
Developing Self and OthersSelf-developmentUninterested in self-development
Emotional ControlEven-Tempered/PatientQuick-Tempered
Emotional ControlHaste avoidanceHastiness
Emotional ControlResilienceFragility
Emotional ControlStress toleranceVulnerability to stress
Occupational Acumen and ConcernsFinancial concernInattention to finances
Occupational Acumen and ConcernsIndustry awarenessIndustry unfamiliarity
Occupational Acumen and ConcernsOrganizational awarenessOrganizational unfamiliarity
Occupational Acumen and ConcernsQuality concernInattention to quality
Occupational Acumen and ConcernsQuantity concernInattention to quantity
Occupational Acumen and ConcernsSafety concernInattention to safety
Occupational Acumen and ConcernsTechnical proficiencyTechnical shortcoming
OpennessBroad perspectiveNarrow perspective
OpennessCultural appreciationCultural bias
OpennessDealing with paradoxDifficulty with paradox
OpennessLeading diversityMishandling diversity
OpennessLeading innovationLeading for stability
OpennessQuick learningSlow learning
OpennessSeeking inputDismissiveness
OpennessTolerance for ambiguityNeed for certainty
Person OrientationAppraisal of group emotionsMisses group emotions
Person OrientationAppraisal of others' emotionsMisses others' emotions
Person OrientationAssertivenessFollowership
Person OrientationBenevolenceLacks benevolence
Person OrientationComfort around higher managementAckwardness around higher management
Person OrientationCooperationUncompromising
Person OrientationCustomer focusCustomer neglect
Person OrientationHumorSeriousness
Person OrientationNetworkingProfessional reclusivity
Person OrientationPersonal disclosurePersonal guardedness
Person OrientationPoliteness/TactBluntness
Person OrientationPolitical astutenessPolitical missteps
Person OrientationRelations with supervisorsSeparation from supervisors
Person OrientationSelf-monitoringObliviousness
Person OrientationTeam playerMaverick
Person OrientationWarmthAloofness
Task OrientationDecisivenessIndecision
Task OrientationInitiativeComplacence
Task OrientationTask focusDistractibility
Task OrientationUrgencyResponding slowly
Traditional FunctionsAchievement/EffortIndolence
Traditional FunctionsClarity of directionsAmbiguity of directions
Traditional FunctionsCoordinating othersDifficulty coordinating others
Traditional FunctionsCreating vision and purposeLack of vision or purpose
Traditional FunctionsDelegationMicro-management
Traditional FunctionsInformingWitholding information
Traditional FunctionsLeading through systemsLack of systems
Traditional FunctionsMonitoring and measuringLack of monitoring or measuring
Traditional FunctionsMotivating by persuasionDifficulty motivating by persuasion
Traditional FunctionsMotivating through praiseLack of praise
Traditional FunctionsNegotiatingDifficulty negotiating
Traditional FunctionsParticipative leadershipNon-participative leadership
Traditional FunctionsPrioritizationDifficulty prioritizing
Traditional FunctionsProblem awarenessProblem blindness
Traditional FunctionsProblem solvingDifficulty solving problems
Traditional FunctionsShort-term planningDifficulty making short-term plans
Traditional FunctionsStandardizationLack of standardization
Traditional FunctionsStrategic planningDifficulty planning strategically
Traditional FunctionsTalent acquisitionDifficulty aquiring talent
Traditional FunctionsTalent recognitionOverlooking talent
Traditional FunctionsTeam buildingDifficulty building teams
Traditional FunctionsTeam goal settingDifficulty setting team goals
Traditional FunctionsTransactional leadershipLack of rewards and punishments
Traditional FunctionsWisdomFolly

Derailment Risk Factors

Definition: Derailment risk factors are behaviors that can interfere with a leader's performance regardless of their competencies. For example, even a competent leader can fail if they burn out. For a full picture of leader performance, it helps to consider derailment risk factors in addition to competencies.

Our model: Our model is based on a content analysis of all published measures of derailment risk factors.

Derailment Risk FactorDefinition
AbusiveHumiliating colleagues through criticism, yelling, or blaming.
AloofWithdrawing rather than connecting with people on a personal level.
ArrogantHaving an exaggerated sense of self-importance and favoring one's own ideas over others.
AuthoritarianExpecting control and obedience to the point of discouraging input and suggestions from others.
Burn-OutOverworking to the point of feeling worn out, risking long-term exhaustion due to work/life imbalance.
Competence problemsLacking one or more key pieces of knowledge or skill necessary to perform the job effectively.
EccentricHigh level of drama and unconventionality, to the point of testing limits and seeking attention.
InflexibilityDifficulty adapting to a change, such as new people, processes, or technology.
Lack of BenevolenceLacks concern for the needs and interests of colleagues.
Lack of Follow-ThroughLosing interest in projects before they are completed, over-promising and under-delivering.
Lack of InitiativeMaintaining the status quo instead of seeking out opportunities to learn and grow.
Lack of PrioritizingGetting sidetracked by unimportant details istead of focusing on the tasks requiring urgent attention.
Lack of Self-AwarenessLacks a realistic view of strengths and weaknesses, struggling to adjust behavior due to avoiding or ignoring feedback.
MicromanagingContinually monitors and controls details that needs to be delegated instead of empowering teammates to do their jobs.
Negative focusSees the worst in people and situations, fearing failure more than desiring success.
Overdependence on a Single AdvocateReliant on a single mentor or coworker to the point of being unable to perform effectively without that person.
Political MisstepsMakes avoidable political errors such as talking ill of others, sharing confidential information, or speaking out of turn.
Problems with Team BuildingStruggles to clarify team roles, establish team goals, foster realtionships, or resolve team conflics.
UnethicalBreaks ethical principles such as by telling a lie, reneging on a promise, or treating people unfairly.
UninvolvedUnavailable or inattentive when needed to provide direction or feedback.
VolatileAlternates between friendly and aggressive behavior, praising people one moment only to criticize them the next.

Dark Triad

Definition: The Dark Triad is a popular model of offensive but sub-pathological personality dimensions. They are considered "dark" because they reflect malevolent qualities that interfere with effective team performance.

Our model: Our model is based on a content analysis of all published measures of dark triad dimensions.

Dark Triad DimensionCharacteristic NameReversed Name
NarcissismAttention seekingModesty
NarcissismGrandiosity/Overconfident beliefsReasonable self-perception
NarcissismIndifference to approvalNeed for approval
PsychopathyThrill seekingThrill avoidant

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Definition: Emotional Intelligence reflects a person's ability to understand and manage emotions, both in themselves and others.

Our model: Our model is based on Salovey and Mayer's (1990) pioneering work, with extensions to reflect additional components discovered in the subsequent decades.

Characteristic NameReversed Name
Appraisal of others' emotionsMisses others' emotions
Appraisal of own emotionsMisses own emotions
Appraisal of group emotionsMisses group emotions
Regulation of others' emotionsDifficulty influencing others' emotions
Regulation of own emotionsDifficulty controlling own emotions
Emotion-based decision-makingReason-only decision making
Nonverbal expression of emotionInscrutability
Use of emotionNonuse of emotion
Verbal expression of emotionSecretive about emotions