By Katie Crouch
2 February 2019
When Professor Pino Audia leads a participant through a 360-degree leadership assessment—a key component of Tuck’s Leadership and Strategic Impact program—his goal is to change the person’s behavior as soon as they get back to work.
“My role is for the participant to get a sense of who they are and how they are perceived by others,” he says. “We focus on how they see themselves evolving over time, as well as their challenges.”
LSI helps executives build upon their leadership skills in order to implement and communicate strategy across their organizations. But change, as every skilled business person knows, takes work.
Before the LSI participants arrive at Tuck, they are asked to complete a detailed self-assessment and to solicit assessments from up to seven co-workers, including a mix of managers, direct reports and peers.. By the time they arrive on campus, a professional team has evaluated their leadership style and compiled a full report about their strengths, areas for improvement, and how others view them in the workplace.
“There’s a lot of excitement about this part of the program,” says Professor Audia. “And also a lot of anxiety. The day they receive their assessment is very rich in emotions. I kind of like that.”
According to the assessment, there are six different leadership styles: Directive, Visionary, Affiliative, Participative, Pacesetting, and Coaching. Once the LSI participant knows their preferred/dominant leadership style, Audia says, he or she can determine whether they need to adjust.
“There are certain data points that are critical,” Audia says. “For example, how short or long term are they in their focus? Some people can be focused on what’s happening that day. Some take a much longer view. Another important dimension is the amount they like to focus and be immersed on a task, as opposed to stepping back and being enablers of performance.”
By learning where they fall in these dimensions, LSI participants can determine whether they are doing the right thing in terms of what their organization is expecting of them, and also what their organization wants in the future.
“Concrete change is a deliverable of this program,” Professor Audia says. “We get them ready to implement actionable change the day they get back to work. Lot of times, we can see the change happening during the course. It’s pretty striking.” Getting feedback on one’s strengths is always welcome, but dwelling on weaknesses can be painful. For this reason, the assessments are processed in peer coaching groups which are facilitated by Professor Audia.
“Some issues are quite universal,” says Professor Audia. “Receiving feedback in this way creates confidence and offers more support than if they were discussing it alone. This generates a lot of energy.”
Because LSI is a transformative program, executives are asked to take a good look at themselves and to be willing to make adjustments in order to develop. And participants, usually, are more than willing to do so.
“If you come to a program like this, you want to get better,” Audia says. “We give you a concrete action plan tailored exactly to what you need.”