Using the Benchmarks® Assessment for Leadership Development
One of the assessments I use in leadership development is Benchmarks® from the Center for Creative Leadership. Benchmarks® is a 360° assessment that allows up to five groups to rate you on a number of leadership competencies. The typical groups selected include your boss, peers and direct reports. You, of course are able to assess yourself against the same group of questions.
Benchmarks® assesses major competencies required in leadership and management positions. Those areas include:
- Strategic perspective
- Being a quick study
- Change management
- Leading employees
- Confronting problem employees
- Participative management
- Building collaborative relationships
- Compassion and sensitivity
- Putting people at ease
- Respect for differences
- Taking initiative
- Balance between personal and work life
- Career management
The assessment also identifies potential problems that can stall a career:
- Problems with interpersonal relationships
- Difficulty building and leading a team
- Difficulty changing or adapting
- Failure to meet business objectives
- Too narrow a functional orientation
In the new version of Benchmarks®, participants are able to write in comments. Two questions are asked:
- What are this person’s most significant strengths? Please explain
- What are this person’s most significant areas for development? Please explain.
The Benchmarks® assessment is administered by a certified or qualified practitioner or consultant. You have the option to attend a session at the Center for Creative Leadership or you may opt to use a certified practitioner or consultant directly. In either case, you receive the same feedback information.
The amount of feedback information you receive is overwhelming. Your practitioner or consultant will help you:
- Interpret the feedback correctly
- Understand the broad implications
- Focus on what’s important
- Develop an action plan
What Makes Benchmarks® Valuable?
In your written feedback, there will be differences how others view your actions or behaviors vs. what you think. Within the groups you selected to rate you, there will be differences in their perception because of the relationship they have with you.
For example, there may be wide differences in the responses between your direct reports and what your peer think. For one group you may meet all their needs, for another group you fail to live up to their standards.
It is important to focus on the top issues causing the most conflict or that are career limiting.
Another valuable indicator is how your boss rates areas they believe are most important to career progression. Your boss influences career upward mobility and being aligned with what they think is important will improve your relationship with them and the organization.
How Do You Take the Benchmarks® Assessment?
There are several ways to take Benchmarks® assessment:
- If your employer has a certified practitioner, uses outside consultants or sends participants to The Center for Creative Leadership, ask about taking the assessment. Be ready to explain why you want to take it and how it will benefit you and the organization.
- Work with an outside consultant to take the Benchmarks® assessment. Often this approach is more difficult because the assessment relies on having groups of people who want to give feedback. There is a definite advantage to having the support of your organization.
For more information about taking the Benchmarks® assessment, contact me below.