In recent history, self-assessment has become a basic component in management assessment and leadership development. A large number of self-assessment surveys and instruments are now available to help individuals understand and modify their personal behavior and thinking patterns. However, self-assessment is only as effective as the assessed individual’s truthfulness. Often the assessed individual will respond with answers he or she thinks are the correct response rather than give a truthful response that may reveal a perceived weakness. Self-deception is an all too common practice that negates the validity and reliability of many self-assessment instruments. As human beings, we have a great capacity to deceive ourselves into thinking we are a better leader than we are in reality.
By adding consensual validity to the assessment process, the results of an individual’s analysis can be much more effective. Consensual validity is the measure of agreement between self-assessment and assessment by others (Cooke, Rousseau, & Lafferty, 1987). This form of assessment is particularly important when the assessment is focused upon leaders and managers whose effectiveness depends upon interaction with subordinates, coworkers, and clients. The Life Styles Inventory™ (LSI; Lafferty, 1973)1 makes use of both self-assessment and assessment by others to identify the degree of consensual validity and provide structured feedback for the assessed individual. This chapter offers an evaluation of the theoretical background, validity, and reliability of the LSI 1 (self-report) and the LSI 2 (description by others) instruments. In addition, the web location and cost associated with the LSI instrument appears at the end of the chapter, followed by a list of the twelve life styles and their definitions. A suggested reading list also appears at the end of the chapter.