The Simmons Personal Survey: Gaining Insight – Increasing Self-Awareness

I am always looking for tools that will help increase one’s self-awareness.  Through the years I have worked with a variety of diagnostics – both self-report and multi-rater.  Many of these I use today as part of my leadership coaching practice.  One of my favorites – used for hiring, developmental, and leadership insight – is the Simmons Personal Survey.

What does it measure?

The Simmons Survey provides incredible insight into the respondent’s approach to change, risk-taking, customer service, and team building.  Specifically, the assessment reports the respondent’s placement on a 0-10 scale with regard to 13 different characteristics related to emotional intelligence.

As in many assessments of this sort, there is no right or wrong.  The power of the Simmons is that it adds to your self-awareness and gives you insight as to where you reside on each of these scales.  Regardless of placement, one can adapt his/her behavior to exhibit more or less of the characteristic.

What are the uses?

The tool is a multi-purpose tool.

Hiring and Job Fit

My first introduction to the Simmons Personal Survey in 2002 focused on the incorporation of this tool into the hiring process.  What great insight we gained – allowing hiring managers to have one more piece of data about their final candidates.   The candidates’ data, in part, answered the question:  is there a fit between the candidate’s characteristics and the requirements of the job?


It quickly became clear to us that this tool was also useful for internal development.  Is there a characteristic or two that is getting in the way of a team member’s ability to build relationships?  This diagnostic directed us toward the specific developmental need.

Future Leaders

And then finally, as we looked to the future and building leaders for “tomorrow”, the survey told us who had a head start on becoming the “emotionally intelligent leader”?  Through the survey data, we were able to identify who leads, who follows, and who commands.  We had a clearer view of those with leadership potential.

What does an emotionally intelligent leader look like on the Simmons Survey?

First of all – the emotionally intelligent leader has plenty of emotional energy.  My Simmons Personal Survey mentor, Wes Crane, compares the energy scale to a car engine – 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, or that high-powered V-8.  Energy provides one with the capacity to accomplish leadership tasks.  So the more energy (the more powerful engine) one has, the easier he/she is able to concentrate on the specific leadership tasks at hand.

Another indicator is optimism.  In a past Leadership Elements blog post, I pointed to the importance of “The Power of Positive”.  A realistic sense of optimism is key.  Not a rose-colored glasses view – but a positive outlook – a real sense of hope.

Emotionally intelligent leaders are risk takers (courage) and change agents.  They are team builders and collaborative decision makers (direction).  (But – don’t ever think that an emotionally intelligent leader cannot make a unilateral decision in the face of crisis.  However, the preferred method is collaborative problem solving.)

Emotionally intelligent leaders are “just right” in the areas of tolerance and assertiveness.  Not too pushy – and not a pushover.  These leaders seem to have a sense of when to assert – and, in fact, do so in ways that attract followers as opposed to repel them.

Does the Simmons Survey tell me if I am emotionally intelligent?

I believe one of the complexities surrounding emotional intelligence is the “have it or don’t have it” dichotomy.  Emotional intelligence is not an on-off proposition.  It is a matter of degrees.  And, it is a matter of whether one wishes to exercise this intelligence.

The number one tenet of emotional intelligence is self-awareness.  So – as long as you know where you measure, you can self-manage these behaviors to reflect an emotionally intelligent person.

Want to try out the Simmons Personal Survey?  Want to discuss how this tool may be used in your organization?  Contact me and we can get started.


2 Comments on “The Simmons Personal Survey: Gaining Insight – Increasing Self-Awareness”

  1. […] with the “strengths audit”, couple the StrengthsFinder data with other assessments, such as the Simmons Personal Survey and/or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, to determine your behavioral […]

  2. The Simmons Personal Survey: Gaining Insight – Increasing Self-Awareness | Leadership Elements

    […]Don’t try to guilt or force me to make a decision for your own selfish subconscious reasons[…]

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