Assessment : Using the 4E's as a teaching method


Jim Braden teaches Introductory Business, Human Relations, Human Resource Management and Career Planning Courses. At present he is with the Shoreline Community College, Seattle, and he also has his own recruitment business. As part of his teaching work, Jim asks students to use the 4E's on line assessment, and prepare a paper on Leadership as a result. LeaderValues asked Jim and his student's permission to reprint a few examples. Find out more at or contact Jim at

"The technical part of running an airline is easy. It’s the art form that makes the difference.” Milton Kuolt, founder of Horizon Air, started his airline on this belief. His ideals were based on the concept of if you provide great service, the rest will fall into place.

Although I have worked for a number of different companies, my passion has always been in the field of aviation. Working for Horizon Air, has given me a foundation of which to base my leadership type. In taking the leadership self assessment exam on, I have been able to relate my own skills with my current work at Horizon Air. My overall score on this test was 123 out of a possible 150, with the average score being 108. The four e’s helped me to analyze my leadership type.

Envision : Creating a vision for employees to follow is highly important in running a successful operation. Setting goals and allowing the employees to reach for ‘something’ is essential. Our number one goal at Horizon is to be the best regional airline in North America. While this is important, there are also strategic goals to allow each employee to reach this one step at a time. Important aspects of envision is to be able to adapt and change in order to reach the goals set for the operation. The airline industry is constantly changing, and having the vision to adapt to its surroundings is essential.

Enable : Giving the employees the resources and the knowledge to perform the job is extremely important. Without the know how, the employees could virtually be lost in their ability to perform their job. Horizon Air trains their employees with the values of the airline.

Empower : Leadership is not a position, it is a process. Installing values for the employees and allowing the employees to make their own decisions is an important part in operating a successful business. The duty of the managers should be to install the goals and the values of the company with the employees, and then to allow them to make their own decisions. By doing this, employees can feel that they are a vital part of the operation, thus resulting in a thriving, happier organization. Employees at Horizon Air have their own three personal objectives to fulfill each year. By doing this, the employees are empowered in taking part in their company. Personal goals can be just as important as company goals.

Energize : If employees are motivated in performing their duties, they are usually more productive. Giving them a foundation and then a reason to enjoy their job can be a powerful thing. Showing employees that they are important can boost morale and create a healthy working environment. Each employee’s contribution is vital in a smooth running operation.

With the skills and experience that I have gained while working for Horizon Air, I relate more with the leadership skills with that of the Samurai. The value system was the vital part in the way the Samurai worked. They believed that if you installed certain values, assuming that each person had certain skills, then that would determine the success. Horizon Air’s spirit, like that of the samurai’s, leads people to be creative and allows them to make their own decisions on.

I believe that leadership should not consist of giving orders to those below you. I believe it is to install values in the employees and trust them to make the decisions necessary to help the company succeed. 

Leadership is vital key to society. Every person has some characteristics of a leader, even if they never step into the leadership role. It is easy to find different characteristics of leadership by looking at leaders in the past. Miyamoto Musashi showed leadership in his physical strength and his ability to outwit enemies. Eglantyne Jebb showed her leadership by finding what she thought was wrong with the world and making that her pursuit. Pope John XXIII displayed his leadership through his simplicity and his desire to make life better for all people. Genghis Khan displayed his leadership with his desire to succeed and to win. Finally, Gandhi whose leadership was shown through his actions that reached many people. After reading through descriptions of all the leader’s leadership skills, I cannot pick one with whom I can correlate myself to.

Taking the leadership assessment, I learned that I am just a mediocre leader, scoring 96 out of 150. I scored somewhere between 60 and 69% in the areas of envision, enable, empower, and energize. I feel that my low score could attribute a bit to the way that the test is given. When a scale is given, I tend to keep my score in the middle of the road unless I feel very passionately about something, one way or another. It is very clear that this was again the case for this assessment, with the small paragraphs describing my score advising to become clearer on answers and to take a more “black and white” approach. By taking this assessment, I realized that I do not exist in one category of leadership, I vary and I mix, having some characteristics of each leader.

The Leader Values Website breaks leadership down into four groups, the 4 E’s as they call them.

Envision is the first. A vision is the beginning of all endeavors. All great leaders must have some idea of where they would like to go; the change is in what is being affected. My score was highest in this category. I feel that when I am involved in something, it must have a good vision or foresight. I do not like entering into a situation where the goals are not clear. For this E, I feel I correlate most closely with Musashi. Musashi found his vision by having an overall goal, his being fighting, and then living by a set of key points. Like Musashi, many of my goals are for me, instead of leading a large amount of people, as Gandhi did. I know how to work with people, but I prefer working alone. A vision varies from person to person and that is what makes an individual.

The second E is for Enable. Enabling is realizing the tools to make each and every part of the goal work efficiently. I scored fairly low in the enable section of the assessment, but this is where the “black and white” comment was made. I do not like to view business situations as win or loose situations, even if that is what they are. It is not that I am not competitive; I am overly competitive when it comes to athletics, I just do not like the competitive atmosphere at businesses. Although I have an opposition to the win or loose aspect, I do love to give advice and reward good work. This is part of enabling as well. I think my personality for enabling is difficult to match with the given leaders, but I believe Pope John XXIII is the closest match. He took the good with the bad when it came to enabling, he brought together the Second council session which created much controversy in the Catholic world. What the Pope said relating to this sounds much like something I would say, he thanked the bishops in the council for enabling him “to hear the voice of the whole Catholic world.” I like to be enabled in this way, learning and gaining a wider knowledge base, even if it is something I am opposed to or disagree with, I like to hear another point of view. A leader must not only enable his people, but also allow them to enable him.

Empowerment is the third E. To empower is to be involved mutually with a group of people with a common vision to obtain. This third E was my weakest, scoring a 60%. I believe this is because if I have a choice, I will work alone. If I were to empower people, I believe my style would be closest to a mix of Pope John XXIII, Khan, and Jebb. Like the Pope and Khan, I would largely turn over power to the people I am working with and those who I trust. Not only does the extra power make those under the leader more loyal, they feel empowered due to the trust of their leader. I am also like Jebb because I prefer to work alone on projects, but will branch out someday if I attempt to conquer a large issue. Empowering is a balance of encouraging others and allowing others to encourage you.

The final E is Energize. To energize is to pull all the former E’s together and get them into an excited working order. A leader must give energy and spirit to their vision, their enablers, and add to the empowerment of those who stand beside him. Energizing was my middle E, scoring a 64%. I believe this has to do with the fact that my former answers were middle of the road, but if the assessment was given differently, I may have a different result. Nonetheless, I empower those around me by being completely open with my colleagues ( like Pope John XXIII ), by choosing my battles ( as Gandhi did ), and by openly showing trust and loyalty to those who are deserving ( the way of Khan ). I find that the way that I energize is the way that I have found myself being influenced by. For an example, by being open and sharing with my colleagues, I find they are more willing to work in a group because they feel they have equal power and that is more comfortable than feeling like there is a ruler and subjects. To energize is to pull leadership together and make it all work.

Isn't diversity what makes us all special ? My leadership skills are diverse and match many historical leaders’ styles. Although I do not feel I could honestly pair myself with one particular leader, of all the leaders in the world and history, I feel honored that I have some characteristics that some have. Leadership is a great thing. If there was no leadership, chaos would rein and the world would be a much different place. So Cheers to all the leaders, great and small, who have helped the world become what it is today !

After taking the Leader Values assessment test I scored surprisingly high. I personally think maybe I didn't quite understand all what the questions were asking me. I’m 32 years old and I have worked at different companies in my life. If there is one thing I’ve learned about me is that I really don’t know myself. I know what I want and sometimes how to get it but I don’t always have the drive to get it. I scored a total of 122 out of 150, the average is 108. Now this most certainly can’t be right because I look at my self as an average guy and sometimes below average. When I worked for Nintendo and Boeing the two major jobs in my life I was content with just being a worker bee. Management was never a thought in my mind nor was it a goal of mine. I currently work for HWA security contracted as an armed guard at FEMA. I hold the rank of Sergeant (Sgt.). I have had this position for five months now and before that I was Corporal (Cpl.) and had that rank for six months. I personally don’t care for the position I think mainly because the extra pay isn’t worth the headache. I know I make a good leader but at the same time I’m a bad leader. I’ll explain this more below as I go through the 4Es. 

Envision:  My score was 29 out of 35. Now unlike Gandhi’s envision which was political and religious independence and Genghis Khan’s to stop Mongol tribes from fighting and preserve their nomadic lifestyle. I do not have religious or peace motivation in my life. I do however have personal goals but they do not include getting into management. I like the ability to have power in order to do good, and like Genghis Khan I am quite generous and value loyalty. I am afraid of responsibility, I have no problem being a well paid and valued worker bee. I envision me getting an education starting a career ( not a job ).

Enable: My score was 32 out of 40. I feel I’m a lot like Genghis Khan with enable because I strongly believe that people should be promoted based on merit, not the buddy or family system. Genghis Khan also put the things at his disposal to good use, I am the same way. I was promoted based on what my boss felt good leader qualities. I just wish I felt the same way about myself or maybe I just need more confidence in my self. I put on a mask at work to hide my true self. I think a lot more people do this than what is admitted. I also will take a system and tools at our disposal and make them work or improve them to work better. Example are our time sheets and schedules. My boss used to have our time sheets done in word and we had to hand write our time. I re-did the time sheets in excel and put formulas in the cells so now our time sheets are done on the computer and the time is added up for you. The schedules were done in excel but my boss used to have to use a calculator to add up the time for everybody. Now after I re-did the schedules in excel the times add up for her and also excel calculates the total of every employees time so she knows if she is over budget on time. Those are just two of many improvements I have made with a current system.

Empower: My score was 24 out of 30. With empowerment I’m a lot like both Genghis and Gandhi. Gandhi was into self discipline and freedom as well for his followers. Genghis was into trust, loyalty and generosity. I myself value all of these ideals. As I stated above I was promoted based on merit and was empowered by trust and loyalty. I too would look for employees that can be trusted and are loyal to the company. I feel with these things such as trust and loyalty comes a lot of self discipline. I believe in giving your employees the freedom to make their own decisions and to try to work out situations on their own. As a supervisor I excel at this and I’m sometimes too generous. Where I lack in management is backbone. I don’t have it in me to discipline employees that need it. Instead I try to improve them and work with them, even when discipline is needed. This is one of many reasons I don’t want responsibility, instead let me pass the buck onto someone else and let them have the headache of problems and I will continue doing my job and offer solutions. I'm a great pair of ears and I do offer great suggestions but when it comes to executing them I definitely fail.

Energize: My score was 37 out of 45. With Energize I would have to say I’m more like Genghis, with the exception that I’m not illiterate and I can write, I seem to have a knack with getting my fellow co-workers in a positive mood. I guess you could say I have a way with words accordingly to the mood. Each situation is different but I seem to be able to sugar coat situations enough to deescalate an escalated situation. I can make a big problem not seem so big. Not all of the time but usually I can make mountains into mole hills.

I try to make things positive and see right through the bad in front of people, but that’s the mask I talked about earlier. My boss promoted me when I never wanted the position in the first place. I didn’t want to turn down a promotion but I never applied for it neither. I have a lot to learn about myself but that’s what life’s about, learning and growing.


© Copyright Jim Braden and his students 2003

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