Ask an Expert - August 2016

Q:  Is there any data on leaders’ reactions after completing the LPI, when they are shown their profile/results? I’m especially curious about whether most participants agree with their resulting profile reports—or not. And as an extension, have you collected data on the reactions of the leader’s manager/supervisor or other Observers who participated in completing the LPI 360 as to whether they felt that the resulting profile report was a 'close enough' depiction of the leader—or not?  

A: Although we don’t have any published data to these points, we do continue to find that the LPI (and its 30 leadership behaviors) has great face validity. People indicate that the questions make sense to them, and that the results make sense, even if they don’t always “like” what they learn. The overarching issue here really is, “Does taking the LPI motivate the respondent to consider and take action to become a better leader?”  Of course, other factors will impinge upon any actual changes, such as the lack of support from one’s manager, a dysfunction organizational culture, and the like.

On a related note, we believe it is important to take the LPI more than once: the first providing a baseline and the second (third, fourth, etc.) providing a trend line. Think of this as an annual checkup—just like you would with your care or your health. In addition, it is not unusual to find that the individual leader (self) results may not show significant change over time but the results from observers (manager, peers, and direct reports) do show changes over time; hence the importance of 360-degree feedback.

Barry Posner, Ph.D., is the Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, where he served as Dean for 12 years. Together with Jim Kouzes, he is author of The Leadership Challenge—now in its fifth edition—and over thirty other books and workbooks on leadership and leadership development, including the recently released Learning Leadership.

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