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Improving your leadership

"Everyone needs leadership skills - whether you are right at the top or you have just started your first job. Here's how to bump up those skills ..."


For an instant on-screen self-assessment, go to:

Instant leadership snapshot

However, research shows that our own assessment of our weaknesses and our strengths tends to be slightly different from other people's assessments of our abilities1. So for a more accurate picture you will need to ask others to review your leadership style too. For this '360 degree' feedback go to:

Leadership style review

Leadership is all about bringing out the best in yourself and others.

To develop your own distinctive leadership style you will want to:

  • Think about the kind of leader you want to be
  • Take stock of what you already do well, and what you can develop into a signature strength
  • Check that you are not weak in any crucial area, and develop a plan if you are
  • Learn about how to become the leader you want to be, and train yourself to reach your goal

You can do all of this using the resources and guidance on this website. The best place to start is by taking stock of your current skills. Pick an exercise below to get started.

Quick Tips

Instant leadership snapshot

(15 minutes)

You will find a structured list of questions in our instant leadership snapshot "How good is your leadership?". You answer just eight questions and receive a quick snapshot of your style and suggestions for training exercises. It benchmarks your self-scores against our research database, too, so will give you a quick idea of where you stand in comparison with people who have completed full leadership style reviews. Go to:

Instant leadership snapshot

Take time out to reflect

(20 minutes)

You can simply set aside some time to think about how you work with people and whether you get the results you want. Some questions you might ask yourself are:

  • How good are you at setting clear objectives for yourself and others?
  • Do you pay enough attention to what others expect from you?
  • Do you inspire others with your optimism and confidence?
  • Are you good at influencing people?
  • Do you handle disagreements well?
  • Do you thank others often enough?
  • Do you manage performance well?
  • Can you make change happen, even in difficult circumstances?

Then you can make an "I need to start doing ..." and an "I need to stop doing ..." list. Scanning through the Speedy Briefings and Training Sessions on this site will help you achieve your goal.

Training Exercises

Leadership style review: self-assessment

(1 hour)

If you would like a more thorough review of your style, our full leadership style self-assessment gives you the chance to review your skills, build on your signature strengths and consider areas for improvement. As with all other reports, scores are shown benchmarked against our research database. Suggestions for improvement are given and training exercises recommended.

A sample individual leadership report is available here. Please note the report is the full 360 version. A self-assessment has exactly the same format but does not include stakeholder / contributor ratings or comments.

A self-assessment review take a few seconds to set up here:

Leadership style review

Leadership style review: 360

(1.5 hour)

For the most comprehensive review, choose the 360 report. This has the same questions as the full leadership style self-assessment version, but in addition enables you to ask as many people as you like to rate and comment on your leadership style.

A sample individual leadership report is available here.

If you do go for a 360 review, please think carefully about whether you would like a coach to set it up and talk through the report with you, or whether you want to do it for yourself. Setting it up for yourself is the quicker and cheaper option, but it's worth bearing in mind that when you ask others for feedback in a 360, that's exactly what you get! Feedback can contain unpleasant surprises, and one reason for using a coach is to guide you through the feedback you receive.

Another good reason for using a coach is to help you think through your development priorities based on your review. So using a coach is the gold-plated option, but it is more expensive and needs more setting up on your part. Setting the review up for yourself is easier and cheaper.

If you do want to use a coach, please contact your organization's coaching coordinator.

The team and individual reviews can also be set up by coaches on behalf of clients they are working with.

A 360 review take a few seconds to set up here:

Leadership style review


1. See Zenger and Folkman, 2015, Whitepaper Developing Strengths or Weaknesses.

It is worth bearing in mind the evidence that it is the presence of significant leadership strengths, rather than the absence of weaknesses, that makes great leaders. You certainly need to address weaknesses if you score very low in an area crucial to your job. But when you have addressed any such weaknesses, you should turn to developing your high scores into signature strengths. (Your signature strengths - where you score in the top 10% of our database - and any potential areas of weakness to work on - where you score in the lowest 10% - are shown in the 360 degree report).