The Leadership Instruments Library consists of over 100 instruments that are related to individual and organizational measures of leadership. Where available we obtained the name of instrument, number of citations, focus/use of the instrument, target population(s), information on validity and reliability, date of instrument and how long and to what extent it’s been used, who developed the instrument, whether it is open source and available free or what the cost is and how to access/find the instrument, limitations, whether the instrument is available in other languages, and so on.

Leadership is defined differently by theorists and the context. As such, there is no broadly accepted definition of leadership; nor should there necessarily be one definition. There are student leaders, production team leaders, community organizing leaders, nonprofit executives, various ranks of military leaders, company CEOs, nonprofit board leaders, teachers as leaders, administration leaders in higher education, grassroots association community leaders, religious leaders and leaders of gender-based men’s and women’s religious groups (monks/nuns), political leaders at various local, state and national contexts, female and male styles, ethnic subcultural influences on leaders, international style differences, traditions within a multitude of indigenous peoples, and so on. As such, one will not encounter a one-size-fits-all leadership instrument. Our goal has been to identify and include as many instruments as possible for all types of leadership. We have fallen far short of this goal as the task is enormous. Thus, we encourage readers to assist in making this library continuously better by sending us new instruments, updated versions and shorter validated instruments, and by helping us improve the quality of this library by sending us corrected information or information that fills in the many gaps we have in the document. Finally, many seminal articles and instruments are linked in the document, but again this information is very incomplete, so any instruments or instrument-development articles can also be sent to us for uploading into our linked folder so they are more immediately available to researchers. Those interested can access additional Leadership Instruments Library files here

In the nearly 2000 pages of the Encyclopedia of Leadership (Goerthals et al., 2004) there is less than one page on measuring leadership. Likewise, a search of “Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations: A Reference Handbook” (Agard, 2011) issuing over 1000 pages had no entries at all for “measuring,” “instruments,” or “scales,” nor did articles on theory discuss measurement. It seems it is up to us to determine what we think we should measure in a particular context and look for instruments that are accomplishing that, are tested and valid, as well as affordable, or develop our own instruments. Bit by bit we can accomplish this goal together. We at SSLS hope that this resource turns out to be helpful to leadership researchers across the globe.


The LIL was the brainchild of Dr. Karen Ford and staff at the School for Strategic Leadership Studies at James Madison University in Harrisonburg Virginia, including Dr. Margaret Sloan, Dr. Dary Erwin, Dr. Adam Vanhove, and Brooke Rhodes. SSLS wishes to thank Dr. Sam Nickels for leading and writing the original draft of this project. He was assisted by JMU Honors Program students carrying out an independent study: Jamie Simpkins, Elijah Phillips, and Karlie Lorenz.


Leadership Instrument Library PDF


Leadership Instruments Library (LIL) for Graduate Research, Sam Nickels and Karen A. Ford