Alison Budden | Director | MCA group

The psychometric leadership assessment results aren’t what I expected to see!

What should you do when the psychometric leadership assessment results for your direct report don’t match your experience of their work?

Psychometric assessment results are like the map you might refer to when driving in a car. Your experience is the actual journey, while the psychometric results for your direct report are like the directions on the map. They provide guidance, but don’t always tell you the entire story. They often highlight some unknown pathways and turn points that are not evident when you first look at the map.

In this article, I will outline the approach we follow when results do not align with your experience and the past or current performance of the person concerned. 

The Challenge!

Whether you’re a new manager or an experienced leader; managing and leading people in the workplace can be difficult. When you have a result from psychometric testing that doesn’t match your own personal experience of your team member it is important to pause and consider what you do next. 

Psychometric measures are designed to provide objective feedback on a person’s ability, personality, and emotional intelligence. There are many different types of psychometric tests that can be used to evaluate performance and potential for development. Appropriate measures should be reliable, valid, standardised and free from bias.

Leadership assessment results should not be used as the sole basis for making decisions about an individual’s performance, development needs or potential. However, they can provide extremely valuable information.

When the results aren’t what you expected, it is important that:

  1.  you approach the situation with an open mind,
  2.  both you and your direct report take time to understand all aspects of the assessment results,
  3.  you approach these in a positive and constructive way, and
  4.  you take steps to ensure effective communication between you and your team member.

Why are the assessment results so different to what I expected?

Possible explanations for the mismatch between psychometric results and your experience of the person include:

  1. the tests may have measured different aspects of the their abilities or characteristics to those required in their current role,
  2. there may be underlying factors such as stress or personal issues affecting their performance at work or their approach to the assessment tasks, and
  3. psychometric tests are designed to measure individual traits and characteristics, which may not be immediately apparent from observing someone’s work.

What should I do?

It is very important to ensure that the leadership assessment results are fully debriefed both individually with your team member and with you. This is especially so when the assessment  information is used to shape a development plan. It is also important that you have a conversation with them about their psychometric results.

We undertake a comprehensive three-way discussion of the results. This provides an ideal space for both the leader and their direct report to better understand the results. Our debriefing provides a valuable process for unpacking the data in an informed and supported way. A good session allows discussion of your different perspectives. The debrief also explores what the assessment results may or may not mean. This is invaluable especially where the results are much lower than expected by either party; or where an area of perceived strength does not appear to be reflected in the results. It also assists where the results identify surprise potential or capability that could be utilised or developed.

How does debriefing the leadership assessment help?

Appropriate debriefing can open up conversations; and overt and explore identified potential blindspots. It can inform new ways to maintain awareness and develop strategies for managing or correcting such blindspots. The debrief can also help to build the individual’s core leadership skills. It increases self-awareness, adaptability, agility, growth mind-set, authenticity and helps to consolidate their ability to lead self and others.

A facilitated debriefing session can help identify areas where they may need additional support or training. It can also highlight strengths that can be leveraged in future projects. Our involvement in this discussion allows for an open dialogue about any discrepancies between the results and personal experience. We focus on developing capabilities identified in the assessment. 

Ultimately, having a thorough understanding of psychometric leadership assessment results through careful debriefing can lead to improved communication and performance.

Using the psychometric assessments in development planning

A comprehensive psychometric assessment can provide a wealth of information and a good starting point for a development conversation. This can include how you and the employee communicate, seek and provide feedback, set expectations and reflect on achievements. The assessment may confirm some aspects of a person’s ability, personality, emotional intelligence and preferred work style. At the same time it often highlights aspects that are less evident to either the individual or their leader. This provides a focus and channel for growth.

It may be helpful to provide opportunities to build on their existing skills through training or mentorship programs. The assessment results provide a strong foundation and focus for a tailored coaching program. Setting clear performance goals and providing regular feedback can help them focus on areas where they need improvement while also reinforcing their strengths.

What’s next?

Psychometric tests can be helpful in providing insights into an employee’s working style and personality traits. By taking a wholistic approach to evaluating your team members, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about optimal development opportunities.

We recommend that you:

  1.  keep an ongoing dialogue with your direct report about their performance and development goals,
  2.  provide appropriate feedback and support,
  3. create a personalised development plan, and
  4. discuss ways to leverage their current strengths within their role.

Using the assessment results as a tool to help guide development plans will ultimately benefit both the individual and the team as a whole.

To find out more about our approach to psychometric assessments and leadership development please contact us on 1300 856 480 or by email