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Assessment & Evaluation Leadership Assessments


Assessment Center

The Leadership Assessment Center can be used to measure many of the leadership competencies that serve as the foundation for OPM's Executive Core Qualifications.  Exercises can be mixed and matched with relative ease to meet agency-specific requirements.  During the assessments, the candidate assumes the role of a leader in a fictitious government agency.  The assessment is designed to approximate the "look" and "feel" of a typical day in the life of a Federal Government supervisor, manager, or executive.  Four types of exercises are currently available:

  • Individual Exercise. The individual exercise is designed to assess problem solving, decision making, flexibility, interpersonal skills, oral communication, and other related competencies. The candidate must quickly and efficiently sort through a variety of materials and determine the best course of action to complete the assigned task.
  • Group Exercise. The group interaction is designed to assess interpersonal skills, conflict management, team building, oral communication, and other related competencies. Several candidates work as a group to resolve a problem within a specified period of time.
  • Strategic Analysis Exercise. The strategic analysis exercise is designed to assess strategic thinking, vision, and other related competencies. The candidate must evaluate available information and determine the best course of action in response to a strategic planning situation facing the agency.
  • Management Problems. The management problems are designed to simulate the high visibility, rapid response activities prevalent in a manager's workday. These exercises measure decisiveness, flexibility, and other related competencies.

Participants receive feedback on leadership competencies for all five OPM ECQs based on performance in the assessment exercises. The Leadership Assessment Center is an ideal tool for use in leader selection and selection into Candidate Development Programs or other agency leadership development programs.

Leadership Profiler

OPM’s Leadership Profiler is a developmental assessment designed to assess the personality traits of Federal leaders.  The assessment tool provides participants with developmental feedback about their general personality on five major traits (referred to as the “Big Five” personality factors):

  1. Openness 
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extraversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Emotional Stability

In addition to scores on the five major personality traits, participants receive scores on specific facets of each of the five factors.  The developmental feedback also provides information on how the participant's personality impacts performance as a Federal leader as defined by the 28 leadership competencies associated with OPM's Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs).  The Leadership Profiler provides useful personality and competency-based feedback to current and future leaders based on specific aspects of personality that are linked to successful leadership.

The Leadership Profiler can be used independently or in conjunction with existing developmental programs or assessments (e.g., Assessment Centers or other competency-based assessments).  The assessment is based on a solid foundation of research concerning the relationship between general personality traits and effective leadership and is applicable to all levels of leadership in the Federal Government (team leads, supervisors, managers, and executives).  The assessment can be taken on-line or in a paper-and-pencil format, and provides participants with a feedback report that contains sections devoted to the interpretation of their general personality scores, how their personality trait scores relate to effective leadership (both generally and in relation to OPM's ECQ competency framework), and how their scores compare to norms for Federal leaders.

Leadership 360

OPM developed the OPM Leadership 360™ assessment to provide feedback to Federal supervisors, managers, and executives on the 28 OPM leadership competencies that comprise the Governmentwide Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs). Items on the Leadership 360™ assess behaviors needed for success in public sector organizations, helping leaders identify their strengths and developmental needs. Also included are items to identify particularly important competencies and assess overall effectiveness and impact.

Benchmarks are available based on our database of Federal leaders who have completed the assessment. Currently the Leadership 360™ database includes more than 21,000 participants who have been rated by more than 220,000 raters. The participants in the database (not all participants identify their supervisory level) include:

  • 3,099 non-supervisors
  • 7,031 supervisors
  • 6,307 managers
  • 1,789 executives

OPM Leadership Competency Model

  • Fundamental Competencies: Interpersonal Skills, Written Communication, Oral Communication, Integrity/Honesty, Continual Learning, Public Service Motivation
  • Leading Change: Creativity & Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision
  • Leading People: Conflict Management, Leveraging Diversity, Developing Others, Team Building
  • Results Driven: Accountability, Customer Service, Decisiveness, Entrepreneurship, Problem Solving, Technical Credibility
  • Business Acumen: Financial Management, Human Capital Management, Technology Management
  • Building Coalitions: Partnering, Political Savvy, Influencing/Negotiating

OPM administers the assessment online, and each participant receives a detailed, confidential feedback report. Group orientation and feedback briefings help guide participants through the assessment process and results. OPM provides an aggregate report to the agency that summarizes the results for the set of leadership participants.

Additional services are also available. OPM can provide customized aggregate reports based on supervisory status and/or organization. Each participant can also receive an individual feedback session where an OPM Research Psychologist or a coach goes through the results with the participant to help identify developmental opportunities.

New Leader Onboarding Assessment

Although most executive onboarding programs focus on "the first 90 days," research shows that it can take up to six months to become fully productive in a new role. OPM developed the New Leader Onboarding Assessment (NLOA) to assist leaders during the transition into their new roles. The NLOA is a package of assessments designed to provide new leaders with a high-level overview of their new organization. The assessment provides information about the new organization’s climate, leadership capabilities, and workforce capabilities. Additionally, it furnishes the new leader with the leadership team’s view of the mission critical leadership competencies and the workforce’s view regarding training needs.

New Leader Onboarding Assessment (NLOA)
Organizational ClimateLeadership CapabilitiesWorkforce Capabilities
Workforce perceptions of organizational strengths and challenge areas. Leadership team's perceptions of their strengths and challenges on the OPM leadership competencies. Workforce's self-rated capabilities on a core set of competencies.
Includes important outcome measures such as satisfaction, turnover intentions, and engagement. Mission critical leadership competencies as identified by the leadership team. Training needs as identified by the workforce.

The NLOA combines shortened versions of three other OPM assessments into a single instrument, providing an overall snapshot of the organization. Additional benefits include an online administration via our USA Survey platform, comparison of results to Governmentwide benchmarks, and a one-on-one feedback session with an OPM Personnel Research Psychologist.

Leadership Potential Assessment

OPM offers its Leadership Potential Assessment (LPA) to assist agencies with the identification of employees who have the ability to lead across all levels of leadership.  The LPA is an assessment tool designed to gather information about a respondent’s potential to be successful in a leadership position within the Federal Government. The LPA gathers information on two key areas research has shown are critical for leadership success:

  1. Ability
  2. Motivation to Lead

Assessment of ability is accomplished by measuring competencies identified as critical for leadership in the target agency and comparing participant scores with the selected competency benchmark proficiency levels. These benchmarks can be generic or customized to a specific agency. In addition to measuring participants’ competency proficiency levels, the LPA assesses participants’ Motivation to Lead using items designed to evaluate their commitment to the agency, involvement with and enthusiasm for the work performed, motivation to lead others, desire to advance to a position of increased leadership and responsibility, and confidence to perform leadership tasks.

The LPA can be administered at all levels of leadership in the Federal Government, and can also be used to assess the leadership potential of individuals not currently in leadership positions. The LPA can be taken on-line and provides participants with a feedback report containing sections devoted to the interpretation of their scores. This feedback can then be used by the agency and the respondent to help determine whether he or she may be successful in an elevated leadership role and whether additional leadership development activities may be worthwhile.

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