Leadership Practices Inventory

Copyright © 2003 by Kouzes Posner International, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Leadership Practices Inventory is a 360° feedback instrument which has been extensively applied in many organizational settings and is highly regarded in both the academic and practitioner world. In fact, it is one of the most widely used 360-degree leadership assessment instruments available. Over 250,000 leaders and nearly one million observers have completed it. The research database for the LPI includes over 100,000 respondents. Ongoing analysis and refinements of the instrument continue.

Psychometric Properties of the LPI

Validation studies that we, as well as other researchers, have conducted over a fifteen-year period consistently confirm that the LPI has very strong reliability and validity. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® Model is a stable and accurate description of what leaders do to get extraordinary things done in organizations.

More than two hundred academic studies and master’s theses have been written using the LPI as the research tool. For an instrument to be used in an academic environment, it must meet certain psychometric tests that internally developed competency surveys do not always have to meet. Academic institutions are very rigorous in the criteria they use to determine whether or not an instrument passes these tests. The knowledge that the LPI is considered valid and reliable by these standards should give confidence to all those who use the LPI in their work that they can count on the LPI feedback.

Practices of Exemplary Leaders


  • Searching out Opportunities
  • Experimenting and Taking Risks


  • Envisioning an Uplifting Future
  • Enlisting Others in a Common Vision


  • Fostering Collaboration
  • Strengthening People


  • Setting the Example
  • Achieving Small Wins


  • Recognising Individual Contributions
  • Celebrating Team Accomplishments

LPI 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 LPI

Any good instrument should have sound psychometric properties, 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 should.
  • 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. 

Observers’ Perceptions of People who use LPI Behaviours

People who frequently demonstrate LPI behaviours are seen as:

  • Being more effective in meeting job-related demands
  • Being more successful in representing their units to upper management
  • Creating higher-performing teams
  • Fostering loyalty and commitment
  • Increasing motivational levels and willingness to work hard
  • Reducing absenteeism, turnover, and dropout rates
  • Possessing high degrees of personal credibility