Leadership assessment: an in-depth x-ray to understand yourself & what drives your leadership


The leadership assessment -Leadership Circle Profile (LCP)- has helped more than half a million executives and managers around the world to shed light on their hidden skills and shine as authentic leaders with integrity. This post will show you a way to understand your leadership on a deeper level.

…If after reading this article you want to know more, don’t miss this post about the book “Mastering Leadership” by Bob Anderson that describes the model behind the Leadership Circle Profile in all its details.

The Leadership Circle Profile is a 360 assessment that goes beyond the usual leadership evaluations. It does assess two fundamental areas that drive high leadership performance: your leadership skills, and – equally important – your thinking patterns. Why is this relevant? Because what we think hugely impacts what we do. Thus, the Leadership Circle Profile (LCP) reveals your operating system that drives a lot of your actions and behaviours – and reveals how this enhances or limits your leadership.

This 360 assessment is all about creating awareness. It helps you understand your unconscious behaviors, highlights key leadership strengths, and identifies growth opportunities.

360 assessment Leadership Circle

360 degree feedback on your leadership

Like any other 360º assessment, the Leadership Circle Profile compares how you see yourself with how others – such as our direct manager, peers, direct reports – see you. But it doesn’t stop here. This 360 feedback tool also shows how you perform compared to highly effective leaders – a reference group of from the set of several hundred thousand assessments done so far. This means: even though your evaluators and yourself might perceive your leadership skills similarly well, you might find out that compared to the most effective leaders you there might still be a major gap.

The LCP 360 leadership feedback tool is heavily backed by scientific models from psychology, leadership development, and adult development. It focuses on two critical areas: leadership competencies (the skills) and so-called internal assumptions (your thinking habits). The latter often shed light on those blind spots you might not even be aware of that limit your leadership impact.

Most of the ways in which we were taught to think, to reason, to understand simply do not give us the means to make wise decisions. We do not know how to be wise in the face of the dilemmas and challenges that confront us on a daily basis. We were not taught how to make sense of a chaotic world, nor of an interconnected network of activities and relationships throughout the world.Meg Wheatley

To create relevant insights about the person’s leadership, the LCP 360 leadership assessment shows your profile in a circular graph complemented by 4 leadership scales. At a glance, you can see, how your internal assumptions have an impact on your leadership skills.

This way, the LCP helps leaders comprehend unconscious behaviours and their impact, create awareness about leadership keys and identify high impact growth opportunities.

Now, it’s time for the nitty-gritty. The Leadership Circle Profile revolves around two main axes:

  • Creative competencies (genius zone) vs. reactive tendencies (beliefs and habits of thought)
    It’s the sweet spot where creative leadership skills meet those beliefs and thought habits that might be holding you back.
  • Relationship-oriented competencies vs. task-oriented competencies
    Balancing people skills with goal-oriented focus is key to effective leadership.

18 leadership competencies and 3 thinking patterns

Creative-reactive skills in the LCP

In the main axis, the Leadership Circle contrasts the so-called creative leadership competencies with reactive tendencies. Both contribute to high quality leadership and effective leadership skills, although creative leadership considerably increases leadership efficiency.

According to a series of Zenger/Folkman studies, the 18 competencies included in the LCP are the critical drivers of effective leadership.

5 dimensions of creative leadership

During the leadership test, these 5 creative leadership dimensions are evaluated, shedding light on the 18 key competencies of an efficient leader:

  • Relationship dimension. It measures your ability to relate to others so that you get the best out of people, groups and organizations.
  • Self-consciousness dimension. It measures your orientation towards continuous professional and personal development, as well as the degree to which your self-awareness is expressed through high integrity leadership.
  • Authenticity dimension. It measures your ability to relate to others in an authentic, courageous and high integrity way.
  • System consciousness dimension. It measures the degree to which you focus on the whole system, that is, on the long-term well-being of the community and the interests of the organization.
  • Achievement dimension. It measures the degree to which you offer visionary, authentic and high performance achievements.

3 dimensions of reactive leadership tendencies shown in the LCP

The so-called reactive leadership tendencies are about internal assumptions, that is, about the habits of thought and beliefs that can determine behaviors and impact the efficiency of the person’s leadership.

The intention of the Leadership Circle Profile is to shed light on those reactive trends that are based on internal beliefs that limit effectiveness, authentic expression and powerful leadership. In our experience working with executives and managers, overloaded competencies and underestimated skills can generally be attributed to self-limiting thoughts.

This section of the leadership profile is divided into 3 dimensions broken down into 11 reactive behaviors that can impact the way leaders lead people:

  • The Control dimension. It measures the extent to which a person establishes their sense of personal value based on the tasks they yield, the performance and personal achievements.
  • The Protection dimension. It measures the belief that one can protect oneself and establish a sense of value through retreat, remaining distant, hidden, cynical, superior and/or rational.
  • The Compliance dimension. It measures the degree of self-esteem and security obtained by complying with the expectations of others rather than acting according to one’s own desires and intentions.

Relate competencies vs. Achieve objectives skills

People-Task leadership competencies

Creative competencies and reactive trends are in turn organized by their impact on people and tasks/goals. As two fundamental focuses of executive leadership, the Leadership Circle Profile reveals whether our competencies are balanced and equally developed.

As key scales, the 360 leadership assessment summarizes the essence of the profile into four key indicators:

  • Reactive-creative scale: suggests the degree to which self-concept and internal motivation come from within or are determined by expectations, rules, or external conditions. It also reflects the degree to which leadership, relationships, and goal-oriented behaviors are coming through a creative or reactive orientation.
  • Relationship-Tasks scale: measures the degree of balance a person shows between goal achievement skills and relationships.
  • Leadership Potential Utilization: combines all dimensions and compares the value with the scores of reference leaders – examples of efficient leadership.
  • Leadership Effectiveness: measures your level of overall effectiveness as a leader. It’s a summary measure that answers the question, “Overall, how am I doing?”

Take your self-assessment for free

To get an in-depth idea of how you see yourself and your leadership, and which internal beliefs you might hold that make your leadership thrive or hinder you from tapping into your full leadership effectiveness, you can take the free self-assessment directly on the page of the Leadership Circle Profile. [Disclaimer: Though we use, trust and love accompanying our clients at Shine with this 360º, we don’t get any compensation for recommending the tool.]