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Leadership Talent Selection. Uses of Assessment Centers. Evaluation of people for promotion or succession Formulation of training plan for strengths & weaknesses Evaluation for selection of final candidates. Leadership Assessment Centers.

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Uses of Assessment Centers

  • Evaluation of people for promotion or succession
  • Formulation of training plan for strengths & weaknesses
  • Evaluation for selection of final candidates

Leadership Assessment Centers

  • Over 3,000 organizations have used assessment centers
  • Evaluate for promotion, succession, strengths/weaknesses training, final selection
  • Predictive validity for leadership talent; may lack job relatedness
  • 3-5 evaluators for 10-15 candidates over 1-5 days
  • 1-5 days for cost of $2,000-$30,000 each candidate (average $3,500)
  • Expensive-- only .5 – 2% of internal employees can do it
  • May be assessed only once in career while market opportunities change constantly

Sample assessment centers

  • Center for leadership Assessment
  • Office of Personnel Management Talent Search
  • Sample Leadership Assessment Report

What are the kinds of behaviors that should be assessed & what do you think they would indicate?

How can they best be measured?


The “Talent” approach

  • What are distinguishing characteristics of people who excel at what they do?
  • Sports (hockey, baseball, etc.)
  • Sales

Assume you are on a search committee for identifying leadership potential in a business organization:

  • How would you start to define the talents required?
  • Make a list of 6-10 talents & prioritize them
  • How would you identify and measure the top three talents? (be VERY behavioral)

Predictors of Leadership Performance

  • High Predictors
  • Biodata (high fiscal, 7%)
  • Personality (5-factor)
  • Critical incidents (immediate job)
  • Moderate Predictors
  • IQ, cognitive ability
  • Career Path Appreciation (conceptual skills & promotability)
  • Low Predictors
  • Graphology (85%)
  • Interviews (81%)
  • References (67%)

Leadership Assessment Centers

  • Behaviors evaluated
  • Decision making
  • Leadership style
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Management control
  • Delegation
  • Planning & prioritizing
  • Risk taking
  • Creativity
  • Oral & written communication
  • Assertiveness
  • Stress tolerance
  • Typical Evaluation Methods
  • Biographical inventories
  • Vocational, aptitude, personality tests
  • In-basket exercises
  • Leaderless group discussion
  • Role-play
  • Case analyses

Sample stages of leader identification from DDI Co.


Orientation & group formation

Business game

Interviews & psychological testing

Leaderless group discussions

Day 1

In-basket exercise

Individual role playing

Group role playing

Day 2

Individual case analysis

Peer ratings

Day 3



Further development discussions

Day 4

Sample Assessment Center Agenda


Sources of Rater Bias

  • Halo effect– rate high or low due to irrelevant feature or global impression
  • Leniency error– tendency to give everyone higher ratings
  • Severity error– tendency to give everyone lower ratings
  • Central tendency– avoid extreme ratings for specific or on all dimensions
  • Contrast effect– rating of one person is affected by rating of another
  • Hawthorne effect– rating distortion (usually high) due to being attended to in a study
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy (experimenter effect)– selective attention given to what is expected or desired
  • Misplaced precision error– faults in the rating, design, or treatment may invalidate the precision of the other
  • Law of the instrument– a favorite instrument will probably find only what it’s designed to find
  • Number magic– the use of numbers carries the impression of greater precision than may be present