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Culture Insights Blog

Leadership Impact (How Leaders Cause Others to Behave)

Published on 26 Mar 2019
Leadership Impact

On this episode of Culture Bites we talk about how leaders impact the behaviour of those around them, how we measure it with our 'Impact' diagnostics, and how it differs from the Life Styles Inventory (LSI). This episode is hosted by Corinne Canter and Dominic Gourley

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Key Points and Takeaways from this Episode:

The Ripple Effect:

We talk about the Ripple people create throughout the organisation by the way they think and behave and it extends all the way out to the experience customers have:

How you think (Lifestyles Inventory 1) affects the way you behave (Lifestyles Inventory 2). Our collective behaviour affects how we work together as a group (Group Styles Inventory). My behaviour as a leader impacts the way others feel they need to behave (Leadership/Impact and Management/Impact). That impact shapes expectations of behaviour in the organisation (Organisational Culture Inventory). Our Customers experience that culture when they interact with us (Customer Service Styles). 

The ripple also works the other way around - the culture of the organisation will impact the way leaders lead, which affects how groups interact, and how people feel they need to behave, and even how they think about themselves. 

The Difference Between Life Styles Inventory and Leadership/Impact

The Lifestyles Inventory 1 is looking at people values and beliefs and how they drive the individual's thinking. Lifestyles Inventory 2 is the 360 feedback from others in how they perceive the person's behaviour. Leadership/Impact is the other layer out in the Ripple: how does my behaviour, as a leader, motivate others to behave. 

Leadership/Impact is different because it is not looking directly at leader's behaviour but rather what behaviour they are causing/influencing in the people around them.

So in the feedback from others in LSI 2, people might say they see their leader behave in Oppositional ways. They might be argumentative, critical, indirectly oppose authority, scrutinizing, and challenging. In Leadership/Impact, people are giving feedback which says "As a result of your behaviour (Oppositional), I feel I need to behave in Dependence and Avoidance styles (keep my head own to stay out of trouble), or perhaps they feel they also need to be Oppositional or use a Power style to push their views through.  

Cause and Effect

Leadership/Impact is more prescriptive than LSI in that it suggests specific things you need to do more of, and the specific things you need to do less of. These are the Cause and Effect of leadership.

As leaders we do a range of things to lead. All those methods can be divided broadly into two buckets: prescriptive strategies vs restrictive strategies.

Prescriptive Strategies are used when leaders are really clear about what good looks like, what they are aiming for, what decisions people are responsible for, and what they are able to influence. It's open, it's about opening possibilities of what you can do.

Restrictive strategies are used when leaders are clear about what they don’t want. What I want you to avoid, what I don’t want you to do, what I feel strongly about what should not happen. They close down thinking and possibilities.

Sometimes leaders need to restrict. Sometimes time is short, or a decision needs to be vetoed - that is OK. It’s about the frequency with which leaders usePrescriptive vs Restrictive strategies. A general rule of thumb is that you should be aiming to use 3 Prescriptive Strategies for each Restrictive one.

Having the Cause-Effect model means leaders can pin point WHY they are having the type of impact they are having. It takes the guess work out of it and focuses attention to specific areas. 

When to Use Leadership/Impact, Management/Impact or the Lifestyles Inventory?

The difference between Management and Leadership/Impact is essentially that managers and leaders do different things. Therefore the 'Leadership Strategies' are different from the 'Management Approaches'. Typically, we define the two as:

L/I: Leaders of Leaders. They set and work at the strategic level.
M/I: Leader of Individuals. They operationalise the strategy and deliver the tactical outputs.

If your focus is on building self-awareness - understanding how people think and behave - go with the Lifestyles Inventory.

If your focus is on building leadership effectiveness - particularly in regards to creating cultural norms - go for Impact.

Often organisations will start out with the Lifestyles Inventory to build self-awareness before moving on to Impact. Another approach is to use Leadership/Impact at the senior level, Management/Impact for middle managers, and the Lifestyles Inventory for Individuals. The strength is that it maintains the common language of the circumplex across the organisation while still catering to specific levels. 

Do you have a question you want us to answer on the podcast? Email

Listen to these related episodes:

002: Dealing with Delegation
007: How Leaders Impact Culture
009: My Manager is Resisting Culture Change
022: Dear C.B., My Manager is Cold
039: Sydney Swans Psychologist Grant Brecht
042: Banking Royal Commission – Action Plan