by John Nicholls, PhD

Responsive Leadership Questionnaire and Capability Inventory (RLQ) is a situation-based leadership assessment for management development training. It measures current skill in managing employees and improves leadership effectiveness by developing supervisory skills, leadership skills, coaching skills, and the ability to motivate employees. A free article about this product is available below. Teach a Manager How to Fish Leadership success depends largely on how well employees perform.How well employees perform depends largely on leadership behavior. It’s no secret that leading people in a way that responds to their individual capabilities yields the best results. But while the concept may seem like common sense, a formalized approach is the key to maximizing employee performance.  The RLQ is a new self-help toolkit for leaders.It offers a practical framework for increasing leadership effectiveness. Easy to apply and internalize, the Responsive Leadership Model enables both new and existing leaders to adapt their leadership approach to best match an individual employee’s capability.

The Toolkit combines assessments for leaders and their employees.Comparing the leader’s responses on the leadership questionnaire to the employee’s responses helps to validate the results. Gaps between the results provide the opportunity for discussion, exploration, and then improvement.

The Interpretive Guide provides leaders with insight into the Responsive Leader Model, defines each of the four leadership styles in detail, and discusses the role that coaching and energizing play in helping a leader maximize employee performance. It also includes helpful tips and techniques to assist the leader in improving these two core skills.

The ultimate goal of the toolkit is to help leaders intuitively apply the Responsive Leader Model to improve their leadership effectiveness and raise the productivity of their entire team.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Determine if current leadership style is appropriate for individual employees
  • Learn how to assess employee commitment and capability levels
  • Discover how to quickly identify which leadership style is best for each employee
  • Understand why coaching and energizing are critical to maximizing employee performance

Theory and Development

The basic principle of Responsive Leadership is to supervise people in a way that matches their individual capability.By adapting their behavior to the capability of their direct reports, responsive supervisors encourage them to perform well and develop to their full potential.

It is generally recognized that capability has two main components – one pertains to task performance and the other involves engagement and effort.These are often referred to as skill and attitude, or ability and willingness.In Responsive Leadership, these behaviors are called competence and commitment.

The Responsive Leadership Model identifies four levels of leader intervention:

Direct: “This is the way we do it.”

Persuade: “We do it this way because…”

Involve: “How do you think we could do it better?”

Trust: “Use your initiative freely so we can do it as well as possible.”

Each of the four styles comprises varying levels of leader intervention.At the lower end of the scale, the Direct style involves frequent supervision.At the other end, the Trust style requires very little leader intervention and these employees are allowed to exercise their initiative more than others.

When the leadership style is in sync with the employee’s capability then the leader is employing an appropriate amount of intervention. When leadership style and employee capability are out of sync, it will feel to the employee that the leader either intervenes too much, or too little, and some adjust on the part of the leader will be required. Uses for the Assessment

The Responsive Leader Questionnaire is appropriate for new, inexperienced, and seasoned managers.The assessment can be used as a standalone training assessment, or it can be incorporated into a more comprehensive leadership training program.Effective uses include:

  • Aid the transition of individuals from team members to team leaders
  • Teach new leaders learn how to apply an individualized approach to leadership
  • Help leaders adapt and change their leadership approach with developing employees
  • Keep employees and teams motivated and energized
  • Perform spot check audits on individual capabilities and commitment levels

How It Works

The Responsive Leader Questionnaire and Capability Inventory is a complete self-help toolkit for supervisors, managers, and leaders.Leaders use the Responsive Leader Questionnaire and the Capability Inventory in combination, first to assess the current leadership style with a given employee then to rate the employee’s capability. The RLQ reveals which of the four Responsive Leader style a leader is using with the employee: Direct, Persuade, Involve, or Trust.What to Order The toolkit provides everything you need to start making use of the Responsive Leadership Questionnaire, including the Responsive Leader Interpretative Guide, 1 Leader Version questionnaire and 1 Employee Version questionnaire. Additional questionnaires may be purchased separately. 

Additional Leader and Employee Version of the leadership questionnaire are available for purchase. The Interpretive Guide is intended to be used by a single leader, and is included in the toolkit package.

Type Assessment Scoring Time: 15 minutes

Author: John Nicholls, PhD