Identifying the Ability Requirements of Jobs, Assessing Effective Leadership

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Leadership Exercises

Leadership Exercises:

The MLE© (Copyright 2007)

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      The MLE© is a computer-based leadership assessment application designed for the assessment and development of executives and managers at mid and upper levels of management. The MLE© can also be used to evaluate the career potential of managerial candidates to succeed in positions at higher levels in the organization. The MLE© is also useful in identifying leadership training and development needs

    The MLE© is the product of extensive leadership research in complex organizations. Six cognitive skills found related to effective leadership performance in higher level managerial jobs were identified. These skills were found to be required for creative problem solving by high-level leaders dealing with novel and complex situations.

    Paper and pencil measures of such skills have limited flexibility, do not present realistic ways of responding, and are costly with respect to both scoring time and the personnel requirements to administer them. Also, such measures are limited in the kinds and the variety of responses appropriate in high-level strategic decision-making and problem solving. In certain settings, where the cost and limited resources makes the use of assessment centers impractical, the MLE© provides another option. The MLE© can be used in conjunction with assessment centers and other methods of managerial assessment, but used alone provide a comprehensive set of measures for executive selection, assessment, development, and promotion.

    Given the need for individual administration to executives in higher-level positions, computer based administration is particularly appropriate due to its flexibility and adaptive features. The MLE© provides these advantages. Software provided can be installed on any personal computer and can be self-administered at the examinee's convenience. The total administration time is under two hours.

    In the MLE©, each skill is operationalized in terms of different scenarios describing events in organizations that require use of these skills. A unique computer interactive system for measuring each of these skills was developed that allows the individual to select, prioritize, and modify his or her responses in accordance with continuously updated information provided.

    Scoring of the MLE© provides performance feedback, including ability profiles and norms. The Management Research Institute's database is continually updated, allowing normative data to be collected and kept current over time. Experience shows high acceptance by examinees and assessors.

    The MLE© has been shown to have high statistical reliabilities and significant empirical validities for identifying leader potential, assessing leadership quality, and predicting leadership effectiveness.

Measures Provided

    The MLE provides measures of the following six thinking skills found critical to effective high-level leadership performance. Each measure taps a number of important cognitive processes involved in each skill as reflected in their performance of complex managerial tasks. The MLE provides a skill profile and interpretive report.

General Problem Solving Skills

Emphasizes identifying and properly defining problem elements in constructing the dimensions of a problem in order to generate effective solutions. This includes finding and delineating the information needed to develop solutions, reconceptualizing information to fit the solution needed, critically evaluating ideas for solution, including their utility, practicality, and appropriateness, and monitoring progress, recognizing errors, and adapting to changing circumstances.

Solution Construction Skills

Emphasizes the ability to select the information that increases understanding of the parameters of the problems and the characteristics and constraints in the situation that can lead to a likely solution. This involves the ability to reduce ambiguities, take into account trade-offs and balances of risks and benefits, as well as time frames, for constructing and implementing effective solutions. Other examples of components of this skill include, taking into account multiple and broader organizational goals, including short and long-term goals, the intentions of entities outside the organization, roles of incumbents needed, and concerns for team functioning.

Planning and Implementation Skills

This skill includes effectiveness in selecting, ordering, and prioritizing of strategic processes that result in problem resolution. It emphasizes the sequencing of actions, the specification of the steps necessary to implement a particular solution. The skill involves effective decision-making concerning when, where, and how strategic processes are to be applied and action steps are to be carried out. This skill promotes the application of underlying cognitive abilities such as information ordering, visualization (forming images of finished or transformed entities) and logical reasoning in the development of a solution plan.

Solution Evaluation Skills

After potential solutions are generated, effective problem solvers use convergent thinking processes to evaluate the viability and appropriateness of each solution relative to other solution candidates. This evaluation requires identification for each alternative solution of key logistical and social considerations, as well as its costs in resources inherent to the problem. The skill involves evaluation of the solution in terms of the best fit of alternative solutions to the problem and factors affecting solution implementation.

Social Judgment Skills

Emphasized in this skill is the understanding and monitoring of social dynamics within the problem-solving situation. Effective problem solvers must have the sensitivity and understanding of other peoples' perspectives and goals and must be aware of their position in the political and social hierarchy. Social judgment skills include awareness of the problem solver's personal strengths and weaknesses, a capacity to work with conflicting social demands, an awareness of the needs, goals, and demands of other social constituencies and an awareness of whether a proposed solution is consistent with existing social dynamics. This skill involves understanding others and sensitivity to social needs, goals, demands, and problems at the individual, group, and systems levels.

Metacognitive Process

The previous five measures provide evidence on how individuals apply specific metacognitive skills in solving problems related to leadership in organizations. The metacognitive process measure provides an evaluation of the extent to which an individual demonstrates awareness of their prior understandings as shown by their ability to reevaluate their understandings over time in the light of new information. The skill facilitates flexibility in creative problem solving, particularly in how information is used and in the selection of solution strategies that correspond to different types of problems.

The MLE© 1996, 2002 was developed by Management Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.  Further information can be obtained from Edwin A. Fleishman, Ph.D. President, Management Research Institute, Inc., 11304 Spur Wheel Lane. Potomac, MD 20854. Phone 301-299-9200 email


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