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The Leadership Practices Inventory® (LPI) is a 360-degree assessment instrument which participants take as part of their pre-work for The Leadership Challenge® (TLC) workshop.
The LPI is a questionnaire with thirty behavioral statements - six for each of The Five Practices  of Exemplary Leadership® - that takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete. Leaders complete the LPI-Self, rating themselves on the frequency with which they think they engage in each of the thirty behaviors.  Five to twenty other people - typically selected by the leaders - complete the LPI-Observer questionnaire, rating the leaders on the frequency with which they think the leader engages in each behavior.
Respondents can indicate their relationship to the leader-manager, co-worker or peer, direct report, or other observer - but, with the exception of the leader's manager, all the observers' feedback is anonymous. The LPI can be completed online or it can be completed in a paper-and-pencil version. Whether taken in a hard or soft format, results are scored electronically and we print a report that summarises the results.
Studies consistently confirm that the LPI has very strong reliability and validity. It is one of the most widely used 360-degree leadership assessment instruments available. More than 400,000 leaders and over one million observers have completed it. Since the LPI was first used in 1985, more than 3 million responses have been analysed to determine the relationship between The Five Practices  of Exemplary Leadership® and a variety of measurable outcomes.

In addition, more than 300 doctoral dissertations and master's theses have used the LPI in their research. Ongoing analysis and refinements of the instrument continue.

Where the LPI began?

The LPI has its origins in a research project Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner began in 1983. They wanted to know what people did when they were at their "personal best" in leading others. They started with the assumption, however, that they did not have to interview and survey star performers in excellent companies to discover best practices. They assumed that by asking ordinary people to describe extraordinary experiences, they would find patterns of success. They were right.
After some preliminary research, Kouzes and Posner devised a personal-best leadership experience survey consisting of thirty-eight open-ended questions such as these:
  • Who initiated the project?
  • How were you prepared for this experience?
  • What special techniques and strategies did you use to get other people involved in the project?
  • What did you learn about leadership from this experience?
Over its nearly 20-year history, the LPI has become the most popular "off-the-shelf" leadership instrument in the world, used by nearly one million leaders worldwide. Analysis of the instrument has proven it to be a reliable and valid measure of a leader's effectiveness. But most important, the results have also shown that leadership is understandable and learnable.

The Leadership Challenge ® (TLC) Model.

From an analysis of the personal-best cases, Kouzes and Posner developed a model of leadership that consists of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®:
  • Model the Way
  • Inspire a Shared Vision
  • Challenge the Process
  • Enable others to Act
  • Encourage the Heart
This led them to develop a quantitative instrument - the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) - that would measure the leadership practices they uncovered.

Research Results

Beginning with an initial sampling of over three thousand leaders and their constituents, the researchers began using the LPI to assess to what extent leaders were using The Five Practices. Since then, they have conducted hundreds of thousands of inventories. The results of their research have been striking, both in their consistency and in how they refute the stereotype that leadership cannot be learned:
  • When doing their best, leaders do exhibit The Five Practices measured by the LPI.
  • Measurement of The Five Practices does not vary from industry to industry, profession to profession, community to community, and country to country.
  • Leaders can and do learn to become better leaders by adjusting their behavior to follow The Five Practices.
  • Good leadership, as Kouzes and Posner have shown, is a universal and learnable process.

Validity and Reliability of the LPI

Any good instrument needs to have sound psychometric properties of reliability, and validity. In general, an instrument is reliable when it measures what it is supposed to measure; it's valid when it accurately predicts performance. When Kouzes and Posner were developing the LPI, they conducted a number of tests to determine whether the inventory had sound psychometric properties. Here's what they found:
  • The LPI is internally reliable. The six statements pertaining to each leadership practice are highly correlated with one another.
  • Test-retest reliability is high. The scores from one administration of the LPI to another within a short time span (a few months) and without any significant intervening event (such as a leadership training program) are consistent and stable.
  • The five scales are generally independent (statistically orthogonal). The five scales corresponding to the five leadership practices don't all measure the same phenomenon. Instead, each measures a different practice, as it needs to.
  • The LPI has both face validity and predictive validity. Face validity means that the results make sense to people. Predictive validity means that the results are significantly correlated with various performance measures and can be used to make predictions about leadership effectiveness.

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This eminently practical model of leadership development has stood the test of time, continuing to prove its effectiveness in cultivating and liberating the leadership potential in any person - at any level, in any organisation – who chooses to accept the challenge to lead.
Interested in more information, then contact us:
+44 (0) 1844 290700 or info@perspectiv.co.uk