Leadership Series (30): How Self-Appraisal Enhance Leadership Performance. By Victor A. Imhangbe


The glamour and prestige attracted to a person occupying an exalted office can negatively create distraction which may make such leader to derail if care is not taking. There is the present of people with dubious intention, but who despite your mistakes in taking decisions for the general interest, they tend to praise and worship you for doing the right thing. Hence a leader that understands the important of conducting self-assessment is in a better position to put things into better perspective.

As a leader reality is your friend and care must be taking not to shy away from it. You can’t grow if you’re not honest about where you are. The best way is to assess yourself honestly and humbly. It is more ridiculous when you decided to embark on frivolous self-appraisal just for self-aggrandizement to boost the morale of your bootlickers, while the majority of your followers are in pains inflicted by your directionless leadership. This is common with religious and political leaders. When the physical observation is showing negative, you tend to score yourself high that everything is going extremely well.

According to Edward T.Reilly; “whether you seem to be a “born leader” or are uneasy with the role of leader and need to develop leadership skills methodically, you will discover valuable insights through a genuine and objective self-assessment. You will want to examine your skills, traits, competencies, abilities, and experience. Since the days of the ancient Eastern and Western philosophers, such a rigorous self-assessment has been seen as the starting point for success”.

It is paramount to know your strength and weakness. You must examine what the expectation of the senior management in your leadership role. Study the environment and know your ‘S’ to be your strengths and focus on ‘D’ as the area that needs development. Once the exercise is completed, touch up with few traits that may be relevant and unique to your organization because “know thyself is a key lesson of life”.

For effective result, it is not enough to list a few traits the management may want in their leader, but to specifically ask them. Haven done that painstakingly considers both the differences and similarities between what senior management expects and what your direct subordinate expect. For instance, subordinates are likely to have expectations that a leader should be able to:

  • Create a healthy work environment in which they can perform their job
    Manage the performance and relationships in the work unit
    Understand their needs and desires
    Leave them alone to do their job, but be available and supportive
    Provide answers to their questions
    Make decisions fairly and in consideration of their needs
    Help solve their problems
    Protect them from outside distracters and problems
    Fight for their needs and interests
    Provide them with the information, time, and resources needed to do their jobs.

Grade yourself on how well you meet the above expectation. Take note of the area you earn an “S”, and look at where you earn a “D”. In addition, compare what senior management expects from its leaders and what qualities the leader’s subordinate’s i.e. the followers look for.

Senior management tends to look for: 

  • Technical skills (the ability to handle the technical aspects of the work)
    Management skills (the ability to plan, organize, support, and guide work)
    Interpersonal skills (the ability to build solid relationships and strong teams)
    Desire (the controlled ambition to be the leader of an effort to achieve goals)
    Character (the poise, judgment, and integrity to handle tough situations well).
    Followers expect and respect someone with:
    Competence (the demonstrated ability to get things done)
    Credibility (the personal qualities that project trustworthiness).

It is worth nothing that the organization managers strongly focus on their subordinates outputs while leaders have more people focus. Both are trying to influence the behavior and motivation of their followers in order to empower the team to archive a specific task.

Benefit of Self-Evaluation in Leadership

There are different kinds of method and techniques that can be used by leader to conduct self-appraisal. What is important is that the techniques and methods are tool which help the leadership in revealing the personalities and behaviours of the organisation. Below are the benefits of conducting self-appraisal by a leader.

1. It enable leader to be focus: It is a known fact that every leader prior to attaining their leadership position must have some in-depth knowledge, vision and programmes they wish to implement before coming into power. However, as soon as they are in power, distraction set in. Conducting an objective and unbiased self-evaluation, enable the leader to differentiate praise singer from real aids.

2. It helps to shape the structure of the organisation: Self-assessment shows how well leaders fit into the structures and frameworks of the organisations, thus shaping the organisational behaviour in the place of work.
3. It improves better leadership: Self-evaluations result to better leadership among the leaders through understanding their strengths, weaknesses, and traits. Therefore, this results in rising trust, credibility, and confidence by the followers as well as an enhancement of self-esteem, social intelligence, and emotional intelligence.
4. Enhance Emotional Intelligent: In essence, the improvement of emotional intelligence as a result of continuous self-evaluation assists the leaders to manage an organisational interpersonal relationship which is referred to as social intelligence.
5. It creates conducive work environment: Self-evaluation stimulate emotional intelligent, which also enhance personal intelligence, and offers a conducive work environment for the team members to contribute freely for the realisation of the organisation objectives.
6. It enhances outstanding leadership: According to (Kaplan & Norton 2004). Self-assessment makes a leader outstanding, and such a leader has the capability of creating teamwork across the employees, organisations, and cultures.
7. It fosters understanding: Self-evaluation increases the desire for a leader to understand their team members as well as connect with them emotionally.
8. Provide leadership direction: Self-evaluation helps the leaders in providing direction and it assists the leaders in leading courageously.
9. Help developed leadership skills: Self-assessment develops the leadership skills among the leaders by helping them in defining the area of priorities in the organisation; as well as clarifying the responsibilities and roles of the followers.

When leaders evaluate themselves, they are able to assess what they know, what they don’t know, and what they would like to know. They begin to recognise their own strengths and weaknesses which invariably strengthen their weaknesses for increase productivity. Our next series will discuss how accepting objective criticism help to sharpen leader’s performance. Your opinion and feedback is appreciated on the comment column. Do you like the piece? It’s always good to share.