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Leadership Development

How to Choose Between a Self or 360 Leadership Assessment


Photo by  Markus Spiske on Unsplash

How to select a leadership assessment for your organization’s leaders

Choosing an assessment to pair with your leadership development program is a big choice. You want to ensure that your leaders are engaged in the process and are not only willing to take the first step on their leadership journey, but that the right tools are placed in their hands to assist them along the way.

You may think: Which assessment is the best tool for your team? Is a self-assessment the right stepping stone, or is 360 feedback the next step your leaders need to take?

“There’s a fundamental truth about leadership that we must all embrace before we can fully develop ourselves or facilitate the development of others.  That truth is this: Leadership is everyone’s business.”

 – Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, co-authors of The Leadership Challenge


How to know if a self-assessment could be a fit

Leadership starts on the individual level. Without self-awareness, we cannot hope to better ourselves or to lead others! 

For emerging leaders or those wanting to learn more about leadership, a self-assessment might be a good fit. If your program focuses on encouraging introspection, a self-assessment might be a good tool to develop that skill. Similarly, if you are in the beginning stages of implementing a development program, a self-assessment serves as a great introduction to content. They are short, to the point, and generally give a good idea of what type of material is out there to be considered. 


An Example: The LPI® Self

As an example, the LPI®: Leadership Practices Inventory® self-assessment is done using a 10-point Likert scale and allows participants to really think introspectively about the frequency with which they feel they exhibit leadership behaviors.

Their results help them to understand the meaning and value of individual leadership as well as help identify their individual leadership strengths and areas where they can improve on their behaviors. Since this assessment contains only 30 questions, it can be completed in around 20 minutes and provides a great introduction to The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. If the behaviors translate well to your company’s values and competencies, or if the content strikes a chord with your team, then it may be worth exploring a deeper dive into The Leadership Challenge® Workshop and the accompanying LPI 360 assessment.


How to know if a 360-degree assessment could be a fit

If your target group has a good sense of self-awareness but is perhaps struggling with team dynamics and effectiveness, a 360 style assessment might be the best type of assessment to incorporate into your program. Gathering a full picture of how a leader sees themselves in comparison to feedback from others is necessary in building better relationships in the workplace, especially if they are not aware of how they are perceived by others. The valuable feedback provided by others helps participants identify concrete objectives to work on moving forward.


An Example: The LPI® 360

The LPI®: Leadership Practices Inventory® 360 assessment uses the same 30 behavior questions answered on the 10-point Likert scale as the self-assessment referenced above, but in addition to the participant assessing their own leadership behaviors, they also receive valuable feedback from managers, coworkers, direct reports, and others who have direct experience with them in a leadership role. This assessment also allows for open-ended feedback, so leaders can get additional candid responses from those completing the assessment. It goes hand in hand with The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, which helps participants identify leadership strengths and areas for improvement, build teamwork and trust, as well as helping those around them to excel. Since it is a 360 assessment, it helps the leader reflect on differences between how they rated themselves in comparison to others.


Choosing the right assessment can give participants the best experience and takeaways during a development program, not to mention bring concepts and actions to life in tangible ways for leaders. It sets the participants up for success if they can relate and identify with the content.

If the Leadership Practices Inventory, in its Self or 360 form, sounds like a good fit for you, you can learn more about it by downloading our overview here.

Download an Overview of The Leadership Practices Inventory 360 LPI

Joanna Sears

Joanna Sears has nearly 10 years of experience administering leadership assessments and setting clients and their leaders up for success.