Are the Five Practices Applicable in the UK?

Barry Posner

Q: I’ve had discussions with a colleague in the United Kingdom about extending the study of leadership using the LPI model to Britain. He doesn't believe the items in the LPI related to the practice Encourage the Heart are valid for Britain. Have you or anyone you know done any work in the UK with the LPI? Any info would be helpful.

A: Let's consider what seems like the underlying question: Are Brits and Yankees the same when it comes to leadership? Context matters, in the same way that people that work in banking may be different from people in sports administration. So perhaps the question isn't whether we are the same or different but, —Does leadership matter to British people? Do the Five Practices and, in particular, the practice Encourage the Heart matter?—

The empirical answer is YES.

It is true that people in the US engage in each of the Five Practices more frequently than do their counterparts in the UK. However, just as it is true on this side of the pond, the more frequently leaders in the UK are reported to be engaging in the Five Practices the more positive and engaged are their constituents (followers). And isn't that the most important question, after all?

Using a sample of over 6,700 respondents from Britain, regression analysis confirms that the Five Practices explain about 20% of the variance on a ten-item scale (referred to as "positive work attitudes"). While Model the Way enters the equation first, Encourage the Heart enters next and makes a statistically significant additional contribution to explained variance.

For the most recent update on the psychometric properties of the LPI, visit The Leadership Challenge website or the Rants and Raves section of this newsletter.

Barry Posner is a Professor of Leadership at the Levey School of Business and Professor of Leadership at Santa Clara University, where he was Dean of the School for 12 years. He is co-author of The Leadership Challenge.

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