A Self-Assessment Tool for Creating More Effective Leaders

Date published
A compass needle points to the word “leadership,” illustrating a common self-assessment approach for leaders

The Leadership Compass allows you to assess your strengths and weaknesses so you can become a stronger leader and build a team that fits your approach

To be an effective leader, you need to know yourself. Self-assessment allows you to understand and embrace your strengths and identify possible pitfalls, leading to insights that can improve your leadership skills.  

When you understand your strengths, you can focus on leadership styles that make the most of your internal resources. At the same time, you can actively improve your weak areas. A great way to begin gathering this intel is with a self-assessment. 

The Leadership Compass, based on the four directions of the Native American Medicine Wheel, can be an illuminating tool for this process. The compass classifies leaders by their primary direction or a combination of two or more directions, and each one emphasizes the strengths that define you. 

You can use this information to find more effective ways to lead your team. But beyond that, self-assessment also allows you to figure out where other team members and leaders’ styles complement yours. The more you know about yourself and the rest of your team, the more effectively you can create teams that work successfully together. 

Self-assessment isn’t just a feel-good endeavor for leaders. Instead, it’s about fostering organizational growth, rallying team members around your mission, and ultimately, driving profits. Take a look at the strengths associated with the four directions of the leadership compass and learn what happens when these strengths are taken to extremes. 

North – action

North-oriented leaders are assertive and decisive. They make decisions fast, act quickly, and foster a sense of urgency with their team members. These leaders rise to challenges and love variety. 

Mirroring classic leadership styles, leaders who fall into this category like control. They prefer to decide the course of action and are comfortable with public speaking. They focus on the bottom line. 

These strengths drive action. They allow projects to get completed quickly, and they help organizations deal with unexpected challenges. But when taken too far, they can become a leader’s downfall. 

While all organizations benefit from North leaders because of their decisiveness and quick-to-act nature, these leaders are most successful when they are also aware of the potential negative consequences of their tendencies. The need to act quickly can cause these leaders to overlook processes or avoid strategic planning. Leaders who act impulsively may also get impatient and push for quick decisions without ample discussion or debate. They can become defensive when others don’t take their advice, and their autocratic tendencies can hurt their ability to lead effectively. 

These strong leaders should actively work on their delegation and collaboration skills by practicing letting go of control and being a team player.  

South – empathy

Empathy defines south-oriented leaders. These leaders trust their emotions and intuition, and consider how their team members feel. They have an instinctive understanding of how to deliver information in a way that convinces people to act. 

These supportive and empathetic leaders want their team members’ input. They listen to others’ ideas and build on them. They’re team players, and interaction is important to them. 

But when south-oriented leaders feel like people’s needs aren’t being met, they can lose focus on projects. They prioritize relationships, and their empathy can make it hard to say no.  Sometimes, they internalize struggles and feel overly responsible. 

These leaders immerse themselves in the present moment. They don’t get bogged down worrying about the past. This gives them the freedom to focus on projects, but on the flip side, they can lose track of time or forget to look at the big picture. 

Their concern for others can help them motivate their teammates, but because these leaders are so tuned into emotions, they can be manipulated by strong, negative emotions, and they may over-compromise to avoid conflict.  

West – analytical

Analysis and objectivity are at the heart of this leadership style. West-oriented leaders are practical and dependable. They like to thoroughly plan projects while also keeping people’s needs in mind. 

These leaders follow procedures and guidelines. They move carefully and think about the repercussions of their decisions. Fueled by objectivity, they analyze data and rely on logic when making decisions. This allows them to identify flaws in plans, but they’re also introspective and analytical about themselves. 

These strengths position such leaders for self-growth, but when taken to extremes, they can cause people to get bogged down in analysis. West-oriented leaders can become distracted by unnecessary details or waste time collecting data they don’t need. This can lead to overthinking their position and failing to move forward. 

These analytical leaders like to step back to watch and observe. While this tendency can help them become more informed, it can also make them seem withdrawn and distant to other team members. Because they’re so committed to established processes, these leaders typically resist change, especially if it’s driven by emotions.

East – vision

East-oriented leaders are visionaries, and they see the big picture. When making decisions, they envision the future. Focused on ideas, they consider the mission and purpose of their teammates, their organization and themselves when taking action or solving problems. 

Visionary leaders are great problem solvers. They like to have a lot of information, but they don’t get bogged down in the details. Instead, they look at overarching themes and ideas. 

These leaders are naturally prone to experimentation and exploration, and they like to imagine all the possibilities and options. These characteristics help them to be influential decision-makers, but they can also lead to a lack of focus on action.

Their vision can also cause these leaders to overlook critical details. They don’t enjoy working on projects that don’t have a vision or tie to the organization’s mission. They tend to become frustrated when the results of their actions are not in line with their vision. 

These leaders initially approach projects vigorously, but their interest may wane over the long haul. Because they’re bound to visions rather than timelines, they can also lose track of time. 

What type of leader are you? A simple self-assessment can show you your strengths while also helping you understand how they can hurt your ability to be an effective leader. To become the best version of yourself, you need to understand yourself and those around you, and the Leadership Compass can help build this awareness. 

Contact 360Rocks to learn more about our Leadership Compass team workshop

At 360Rocks, we believe leadership should be less chaotic and more impactful. We work with leadership teams committed to growth and seeking to become more effective. 

Are you ready to grow? Then contact us today to set up a free 90-minute discovery meeting with your leadership team.