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Kasper Goth

Is it possible to measure the effectiveness of leadership? Yes, it is, and it is also quite commonly done.

A classical approach for finding a leader’s strength and weaknesses is to conduct a 360 Degree Leadership Assessment. This is an approach to evaluation of leaders where manager, coworkers, colleagues and other stakeholders evaluates skills, effectiveness and influence of a leader. So, the assessment gives a good general idea of how the individual leader is performing.


You can compare them on 19 differentiating competencies, such as: Drives for Results, Takes Initiative and Values Diversity.

These competencies were found by Joe Folkman and Jack Zenger when they were looking into which competencies that differentiated the best performing leaders (scoring highest on the 360) from the worst performing leaders (scoring lowest on the 360).

They compared data from evaluations of 20.000 leaders. The results showed that there are 19 competencies that significantly affects the overall evaluation of a leader. Hence, if a leader gets high scores on these competencies, the likelihood of receiving an overall score in the 360 is very high and the opposite if the score is low in these 19 competencies.

These 19 competencies are now the basis of the 360 Degree Leadership Assessment which are used for measuring the effectiveness of leadership. They are also the primary focus in the leadership development course,  “The Extraordinary Leader”


A ranking of the now more than 1.2 million leadership evaluations show that the top 20% leaders have a significantly higher impact on the company’s performance than the remaining 80%.

Zenger Folkman has done a number of studies in which they compare managerial efficiency with classical business parameters such as: turnover, sales efficiency, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. These studies very clearly show that exceptionally good leaders have a significantly more positive impact on company performance compared to average performing or even above average performing leaders.


The answer is yes. There is no indication that skill-building and even obtaining extraordinarily good leadership skills are for the few.

Leadership is a discipline that can be practiced and which the vast majority will be able to improve. And all it takes is to work dedicated with a few differentiating competencies according to Zenger Folkman’s studies.

Actually, the likelihood of being an exceptionally good leader is significantly increased if you increase just 3 out of the 19 differentiating competencies. If 3 out of the 19 competencies ranks in the 90. percentile – meaning that the leader is amongst the top 10% best performing in the population on these three specific competencies – the likelihood of being an extraordinarily good leader is increased to 80%!

The studies also show that significantly better results are created by focusing on developing strengths rather than improving weaknesses. A leader’s strengths are clearly mapped in the 360 and tell the leader which of the differentiating competencies they should focus on developing further.

Read more in this whitepaper

You can also find more information about the course, “The Extraordinary Leader” here.  

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