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What is the best leadership assessment tool?

A 360 assessment that measures actions, not words

Leadership is an action. Therefore, the most effective way to measure how effective leaders are in inspiring others to come together and achieve the extraordinary is to assess the individual leader’s behavior.

All leadership development is first and foremost self-development. In fact, self-awareness is critical to developing the capacity to lead. Discovering and reflecting on one’s own leadership behaviors is an essential step in the process. So is seeking insight from those who know individual leaders well, who have experience of them in a leadership role, and are willing to provide honest feedback. That’s why the LPI® 360 (Leadership Practices Inventory® 360) assessment, based on The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® model by renowned leadership experts Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, is such a powerful tool for developing exemplary leaders.

Evidence-based. Rigorously tested. Over 30 years of original research.

Based on thousands of case studies, interviews with leaders who shared their personal-best leadership experiences, and more than 3 decades of research, the LPI® 360 assessment was developed to help individuals gain perspective into how they see themselves as leaders, how others see them, and actions they can take to improve their effectiveness. It does not evaluate IQ, leadership style, or management skill. Rather, leaders and their chosen observers indicate how frequently the leader engages in the behaviors associated with The Five Practices that research has consistently demonstrated help leaders become their very best.

Individual leaders complete a 30-item self-assessment indicating (on a 10-point scale) how frequently they see themselves performing a specific leadership behavior (6 leadership behaviors corresponding to each of The Five Practices). Bosses, co-workers, direct reports, and others who leaders invite to participate complete an Observer assessment, responding to the same 30 items and indicating how often they see the leader perform each leadership behavior. Observers are also asked to respond to additional open-ended essay questions that can be customized to an organization’s mission statement or values, personal development goals or aspirations.

Making a plan to take action

A personalized LPI Individual Feedback Report is then generated that provides detailed summaries of all responses, allowing leaders to see where the variances might lie between their own self-assessment and the assessment provided by others. Leaders can explore the consistency (or inconsistency) in the ratings. And they can identify patterns and messages in the feedback in order to create a plan that addresses opportunities for growth and ways they can effectively improve. Additional LPI reports (e.g., LPI Group Summary Report) also allow access to an even broader view—across a team, a group of peer leaders, or even an entire organization.

Continuously improving the LPI

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner conduct on-going research to confirm the validity and reliability of the LPI® 360. In addition, dozens of empirical research studies conducted every year by other scholars, graduate students, and academicians provide valuable insight into the relationship between The Five Practices and the improved effectiveness of leaders—from sports and nursing to school leadership and the U.S. Navy.

Today, the LPI 360 is one of the most trusted 360-degree leadership assessment instruments in the world. Over 5 million leaders and their observers have completed the LPI since it was first used in 1985. And ongoing research continues to reaffirm the fundamental philosophy that guides The Leadership Challenge: that leadership is a set of observable behaviors that can help everyone be more effective and make more of a positive difference in their workplaces, their lives, their communities, and around the globe.


Ready to learn more about a clear, evidence-based path to become the best leader you can be? Download a sample LPI 360 Individual feedback report today.

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Samantha Kerrigan