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The science behind the Leadership effectiveness 360 survey
The science behind the Leadership effectiveness 360 survey

Background on the Leadership Effectiveness survey

Jared Ellis avatar
Written by Jared Ellis
Updated over a week ago

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Background on the Leadership Effectiveness survey

Who is this guide for?

Account Admin, Survey Admin, Survey Creators, Survey Participants

Culture Amp's Leadership 360 uses feedback to help leaders understand what’s driving their overall success and the areas they can focus on to improve.

The Leadership 360 extends and advances the field of leadership applied research and assessment, putting real, actionable feedback into the hands of leaders.

What is Effective Leadership?

We define effective leadership as the ability to inspire, influence and instill confidence across the organization. Our research has revealed that effective leaders have specific traits, including:

  • Showing grit

  • Driving change

  • Leading through ambiguous, complex and difficult situations

  • Demonstrating authenticity, care and curiosity

  • Being able to generate solutions to multiple, rapidly-unfolding problems within time constraints

Modern leaders successfully implement solutions with teams and peers who are also operating in a complex and ambiguous environment. Further, as more and more companies trend towards less hierarchical structures, many leaders today must lead through influence, not positional power. To inspire and get buy-in from others demands a high level of interpersonal and social skills.

Leadership vs. Management

Our distinction between management and leadership is deliberate. Our Leadership 360 targets the behaviors unique to leadership and excludes skills required for managers that don’t apply to leaders, for example holding 1:1s and setting individual performance goals.

Our Leadership 360 is designed specifically for the professional development of senior leaders – including C-suite, executives and senior directors. Like all Culture Amp Effectiveness tools, it is development-focussed and equips leaders with rich qualitative and quantitative feedback they can action, presented in a non-threatening way.


The Leadership 360 incorporates the same methodology as our Individual 360 survey design principles – informed by research on coaching, positive psychology and development, and motivational science. By focusing on strengths and opportunities, with an emphasis on rich qualitative examples, leaders can easily understand the results, and formulate actions for their development.

Developing the Leadership 360 Questions

We reviewed leadership frameworks, models, research and existing 360s to understand what’s required of a modern leader. Informed by those insights, we designed a 360 feedback survey based on an individual’s behavior (as opposed to their personality or the environment). This means that the results are directly actionable by leaders.

In addition to interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs), L&D professionals, and current executives and senior leaders, our template and structure was created with insight from the following sources:

  • Transformational Leadership Theory (Bass, 1985)

  • Transformational Leadership Behavior Inventory (TLI: Podsakoff et al., 1990)

  • Charismatic Leadership Theory (Ronald E. Riggio 2007)

  • Full Range Leadership Theory - Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) (Bass and Avolio, 1994)

  • Situational Leadership Model (Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, 1977)

  • Authentic Leadership (True North: Discover your authentic leadership, Bill Jorge, 2007)

  • Level 5 Leadership (Good to Great, Jim Collins, 2001)

Additional References:

  • Beddoes-Jones, F. (2012). Authentic leadership: The key to building trust. People Management, 44-47

  • Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. (2005). What we know about leadership. Review of General Psychology

  • Judge, T. A., & Piccolo, R. F. (2004). Transformational and transactional leadership: A meta- analytic test of their relative validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 755-768

  • Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2002). The leadership challenge (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

  • Walter C. Borman, Daniel R. Ilgen, Richard J. Klimoski (2003). Leadership models, methods, and applications in Handbook of Psychology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology (V.12)

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