It can be hard to manage products effectively without developing strong leadership skills alongside technical project management skills. To lead and motivate effectively it’s vital to be able to deal with people and emotions, not just systems and processes.
There are a variety of leadership tools that effective leaders and project managers have used to develop their skills, from lean leadership tools to 360-degree assessments. It can be difficult to know where to start. But the important first step is to realize that great leadership is something that needs to be worked on. This article goes through some of the most common effective leadership tools to help you develop your skills.
Key skills a good leader needs
Before looking through the list of leadership tools, it’s useful to consider what skills a strong leader needs to have. We can summarize these as follows:
- The ability to inspire and motivate others
- The ability to keep calm under pressure
- Conflict resolution
One of the best ways to help develop these skills is to know where you are now, which skills you already have, and which you may need to work on. The ten assessment tools listed below are a great way to help with that.
Leadership tool #1: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
The Meyers & Briggs Foundation uses the theories of Carl Jung in the well-known Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test. The assessment determines your personality type from 16 different archetypes:
- The Nurturer: Thinks of others – considerate and loyal.
- The Performer: Strong interpersonal skills and often fun to be around. Lively and sympathetic.
- The Composer: Good listeners and excellent friends – fun-loving and spontaneous.
- The Craftsman: Down-to-earth, rational and observant – also spontaneous and enthusiastic.
- The Champion: Perceptive and optimistic – focused on forging their own way in life, based on feelings and intuition. They love to start new projects and quick to see the potential in others.
- The Giver: Principled and charismatic, they relate easily to others – tend to be outspoken, imaginative, and accepting.
- The Counsellor: Caring, reflective, and creative they never take anything at surface value.
- The Doer: Pragmatic problem solvers who are good at negotiating – unconventional and impulsive.
- The Provider: Energised through social activity and comfortable in the spotlight – often thoughtful and harmonious.
- The Supervisor: Orderly, highly productive, and results orientated – tend to have strong traditional values.
- The Visionary: Inventive, logical, and energetic – tends to enjoy intellectual conversation and new challenges.
- The Idealist: Reserved, value-driven, and creative – they tend to find happiness in solitude and giving their imagination free rein.
- The Thinker: A quick analyzer of people and situations – insightful, logical, and observant.
- The Mastermind: Skeptical, strategic, and competent – big-picture thinkers who sometimes struggle with social engagement.
- The Inspector: Organized, hard-working, and socially responsible – often a deep thinker with clear views of right and wrong.
- The Commander: Unafraid to take charge – an effective organizer with strong leadership skills. Decisive and independent.
From this, you will get an idea of who you are, what motivates you, and where your natural strengths lie.
Leadership tool #2: Harvard’s Implicit Association Test
This test uncovers your unconscious biases – the attitudes and beliefs you have but may not be aware of. The assessment involves categorizing pictures and phrases and associating them as either “good” or “bad” as quickly as you can. Then after a brief survey, your results approximate your attitudes and assumptions.
Leadership tool #3: Leadership Style Assessment
Most of us tend to have an idea about the kind of leader we are or would like to be. A leadership style assessment will tell you what kind of leader you actually are. You take a leadership inventory and work out your leadership style. Each style has its strengths but having the wrong perception of the kind of leader we are can be potentially very damaging, and this test will help to solve that problem by letting you know where you are now.
Leadership tool #4: Leadership Blind Spot Assessment
A leadership blind spot assessment helps senior executives identify areas of oversight across four major categories:
- Blind spots about yourself
- Blind spots about your team
- Blind spots about your company
- Blind spots about your markets
This is incredibly useful for most leaders to know where their existing blind spots are and where they need to improve.
Leadership tool #5: Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessment
Emotional intelligence is now seen as the emotional equivalent of IQ since research concluded that emotional intelligence (EQ) counts for twice as much as intelligence quotient (IQ) and technical skills in determining individual success.
This test helps leaders to understand where they rank in EQ and to understand how it impacts their ability to manage, especially under pressure. An emotional intelligence assessment can help you determine where your emotional weaknesses exist when handling situations involving pressure, criticism, and failure.
Leadership tool #6: Performing Under Pressure Assessment
Similar to the emotional intelligence assessment, the IHHP Performing Under Pressure self-assessment focuses on the circumstances that may cause leaders to underperforming when leading through a crisis.
The Performing Under Pressure assessment is geared towards the individual and how well you handle stress, anxiety, and criticism. Once completed, you get a score and brief description of strengths and weaknesses under pressure, as well as suggestions and where to improve.
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Leadership tool #7: LinkedIn Learning’s personal effectiveness tips
Formerly known as Lynda, LinkedIn Learning is LinkedIn’s online training resource covering a multitude of topics and practical skills. One of the most impactful topics on there is personal effectiveness, and here LinkedIn Learning contains a great course on personal effectiveness by personal effectiveness guru Dorie Clark.
This course is practical, offered in bite-sized episodes, and includes some practical exercises to help your learning. As well as containing a section on identifying your own leadership blind spots, it also covers less common but very useful subtopics such as how to find a mentor and how to deal with change.
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Leadership tool #8: Clifton Strengths Assessment
This assessment is for managers and teams who are serious about improving their overall team effectiveness and dynamic. It consists of three steps:
- Take the assessment – The test takes about an hour and contains 177 paired questions in which you have to choose the one that best describes you.
- Get your results – These will show your greatest talents and how to explain them.
- Use your CliftonStrengths – Now you’re more aware of your talents, you’ll be able to identify opportunities that better match your abilities.
When you know the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, it becomes easier to assign tasks and challenge people in areas where they have room for professional and personal development.
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Leadership tool #9: Free leadership skills assessment
While many of the tools on this list represent a significant investment, you can also take the free test offered by MindTools to evaluate and improve your management skills. It is free and short enough that you can do it during a lunch break or one evening after work.
You answer a series of questions designed to assess your abilities in the following main areas:
- Self Confidence
- Personal Outlook and Attitude
- Emotional Intelligence
It doesn’t take much commitment on your part, but the results could be eye-opening and help you find where you can build on your strengths to become a more impactful leader.
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Leadership tool #10: Optimal Thinking Leadership Assessment
This tool is another leadership traits assessment. The assessment has been taken by an estimated 350,000 leaders from around the world including politicians, Fortune 500 executives, military leaders, and graduate students. The assessment consists of 25 statements in which you are required to answer “A” for “Always”, “F” for “Frequently,” “S” for “Sometimes,” and “R” for “Rarely.”
Once you take the test, you get some positive recommendations on areas where you could improve.
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How Teamhood can help develop your leadership skills
Now you understand more about the tools available to help you develop your interpersonal leadership skills, you need the right project management software to help you lead your projects effectively.
Teamhood is full of project management tools to help you:
- Streamline your work
- Visualize on project boards
- Delegate tasks
- Uncover and solve potential bottlenecks before they become obstacles
- Gain complete 360-degree visibility into your workflow, deadlines, and schedules
- Produce charts, dashboards, and reports to help you make key decisions
Get started today with a free trial and see how Teamhood can help improve your project management leadership skills and make your work easier.
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