How meaningful are leadership tests?


At my squadron I have taken 3 leadership tests in my time and failed all of them by some margin, yet the staff and all the cadets still think I’m something special when it comes to leadership and NCO material and I actually got promoted to cpl. So is it that I’m just bad at the tests or do these leadership tests not mean much?

Have you tried asking for feedback after the leadership assessments?

It might be that you’re making a simple mistake (that would give you a “1” on the marking sheet and an automatic fail), rather than actually being ‘bad’ at anything.

But yes, it’s definitely possible to not be great while you know people are watching, but then relax into the role at other times.

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I did get detailed feedback on one one of them and it was basically that I rushed through SMEAC and didn’t praise. But then I don’t do SMEAC for every little thing I do as a cpl or a leader, so it’s possible as you say that it’s just a small thing like that.

SMEAC is just a briefing technique - so if you can communicate your plan effectively without using that method then your leadership ability doesn’t rest solely on that.

Keep asking for the feedback, and actively try using SMEAC briefing when you are doing things outside of Leadership Assessments as it can be really useful.

this is a valid point

if the course requires it/that is what the instructor/assessor is looking to be demonstrated then that can lead to a fail.

A good leader can easily fail a “leadership course” because they don’t adopt and use the “taught tools” and because the assessment process requires it the student fails.
this is a case of teaching and assessing to tick a box, not to offer genuine knowledge, or familiarity/experience with leadership.


To be fair I did complete the task in the test despite the fact I ruined SMEAC, so in all fairness to me I must of communicated something right to be able to do it.

And that’s absolutely fine, and your control of your team is what staff and cadets will be noticing.

But if you don’t tick the boxes of the assessment then you can’t pass that assessment. It’s an unfortunate side effect of bring given a prescriptive marking sheet.

be warned - leadership training course scenario tasks are not testing if the student can lead the task to successful completion - in some cases completing the task within the permitted time is simply unachievable.
The ability to finish the tasks is not what is being assessed (a bad leader could potentially complete the task solo, or with just one other team member ignoring the rest of the team which is not a demonstration of a good leadership technique) instead it is the journey there that is.
not using or a poor/rushed SMEAC (perhaps because the student is pressed for time) would be a “fail” on the course even though the task was completed.

it is annoying but in some cases there are boxes to be ticked

(it is like being on a driving test and not using the indicator at a quiet junction/roundabout - the examiner could mark the driver down for inadequate signalling yet there was no one to signal too…it is a box which needs ticking so best tick it)


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