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Metric Systems for Measuring Leadership

The choice of a business leadership style is, perhaps, the most important step in defining the future of an organization (McLean-Cobban, 2013). While leadership is clearly only one of the elements that make a company work, it still predisposes the elements that create the environment for such phenomena as employees’ motivation, organizational behavior, the way that the company is represented in the target market, etc. (McCleskey, 2013). However, while other factors that contribute to a company’s evolution are well known as measurable, defining the units for measuring business leadership may pose quite a problem for an inexperienced entrepreneur.

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At present, several metric systems have been developed to measure leadership depending on the perspective that the measurement system in question provides for its user. By far the easiest one, yet at the same time, the least precise system of measurement presupposes the evaluation of the leader’s age. With a standard parameter of a “key leader age” (100%) of 35–44 (Cable & Davis, 2008, 2) and the consequent reduction of leadership efficacy by 15% every next year, the given type of measurement system has a grain of truth in it. However, due to individual characteristics of a person’s mental and physical abilities, the given measurement strategy is rather uncertain.

Another system of leadership evaluation suggests that different categories of leadership should be covered when assessing the quality of performance. The performance, in its turn, is assessed according to a 125-scale Leadership Skills Inventory, a measurement system of Likert type, which includes the following nine categories of skills: written and oral communication, planning, personal development, fundamentals of leadership, problem-solving, values clarification, group dynamics and decision making (Ogurlu & Emir, 2013, 540). The given system is admittedly more efficient in measuring a person’s aptitude for being a leader, either in business settings or in social life.

The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) is rather similar to the LSI in that it is a Likert-type evaluation, containing thirty questions and helping assess the following leadership practices: modeling, encouraging, inspiring, enabling and challenging (Posner, 2012, 222).

Leader-member exchange is the next third most popular method of measuring a leader’s efficiency (Lunenburg, 2010, 2). As one may guess easily, the given system is based mostly on the principles of the social exchange theory (Sherman, Kennedy, Woodart & McComb, 2012) and presupposes that the quality of leadership can be measured by its outcomes. As a result, such a variable as staff efficiency is introduced into the measurement process.

In addition, employees’ satisfaction, organizational behavior, commitment and other parameters related to the staff’s motivation are taken into account. While the scale for the given type of measurement may differ depending on how deep the leadership quality has to be assessed (Brunelle, 2013, 2), the LMX index may be either positive or negative (Richards & Hackett, 2012).

As the three methods described above show, in most cases, only three to five parameters of a leader’s persona are evaluated at best. The given limitation begs a question of whether it is possible to create a system of measurement that could embrace all factors affecting the leadership style and shaping a leader (Micheli & Manzoni, 2012). The so-called multifactor leadership questionnaire theory has gone a long way from the path-goal theory to the charismatic leadership theory to the set of principles known as MLQ (Martin, 2011). The Multifactor Leadership Theory is supposed to evaluate the principles that the leader’s actions are coordinated by from the perspective of the transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles, or sub-scale dimensions in the given case.

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Reference List

Brunelle, E. (2013). Leadership and mobile working: The impact of distance on the superior-subordinate relationship and the moderating effects of leadership style. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 4(11), 1–14.

Cable, J. H. & Davis, J. S. (2009). Positive workplace: Optimizing the people part of project complexity. Warsaw, Poland: PMI Research Conference Proceedings.

Lunenburg, F. (2010). Leader-member exchange theory: Another perspective on the leadership process. International Journal of Management, Business and Administration, 13(1), 1–5.

Martin, D. F. H. (2011). Improving the detection of narcissistic transformational leaders with the multifactor leadership questionnaire: An item response theory analysis. Minneapolis, MN: Walden University Press.

McCleskey, J. (2013). The dark side of leadership: Measurement, assessment, and intervention. Business Renaissance Quarterly, 8(2/3), 35.

McLean-Cobban, W. (2013). Proof positive: Thought leadership in Canadian professional service firms. Journal of Professional Communication 3(1), 67-96.

Micheli, P. & Manzoni, J.-F. (2012). Strategic performance measurement: Benefits, limitations and paradoxes. Long Range Planning, 43(4), 465–476.

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Ogurlu, Ü. & Emir, S. (2013). Development of leadership skills scale for students. International Online Journal of Educational Sciences, 5(3), 539-550.

Posner, B. Z. (2012). Effectively measuring student leadership. Administrative Sciences, 2(10), 221-234.

Richards, D. A. & Hackett, R. D. (2012). Attachment and emotion regulation: Compensatory interactions and leader-member exchange. The Leadership Quarterly 23(4), 686–701.

Sherman, K. E., Kennedy, D. M., Woodart, M. S., & McComb, S. A. (2012). Examining the “exchange” in leader-member exchange. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 19(4), 407–423.

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