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The willingness to learn is a choice

Leadership Impact Model

Great leaders or managers are not necessarily born as such. Leadership can be learned until a certain degree. There are specific tools and supportive measures that can give orientation for this. Orientation about the status quo of one's own leadership quality and orientation about where it should develop further. Thereby the focus is no longer on “doing” but on the effect which can be achieved. In other words, we look at leadership activities from the perspective of results - it's about the impact of leadership performance on employees.

The “leadership impact model” is the central element of this approach which eventually is able to demonstrate its entire power when directly implemented into the organization’s strategic performance-, succession- and talent-management process and thereby essentially influences decisions on successions. It is a model which, in its basic structure, comprehensibly maps the natural learning path of us humans and, in its highest "expansion stage," describes those personality characteristics which leadership of the future demands. However, it only works if it supports the company's employees in their own learning process by providing comprehensible and understandable behavioral descriptions.

A model that currently comes closest to these requirements is the Leadership Impact Model following Lee and Norma Barr. It helps to identify the awareness from which leaders act and how developments can be supported in a purposeful way. It offers an understandable structure for a strategically aligned leadership competence management.

The basic structure of the Leadership Impact Model includes two main areas (see Fig. 1). On the one side you have the important competences for organizational success and on the other side the levels of these competences compiled of four impact-levels.

Figure 1: Basic structure Leadership Impact Model
Figure 1: Basic structure Leadership Impact Model

The central organizational competences are derived from the organization’s strategic requirements; they are based on the mission and leadership guidelines. Limiting the number to 8 to 12 core competency fields has proved successful and generally refer to the areas of alignment, implementation, social- and leadership-behavior as well as self-competence. Professional skills and knowledge of certain methods etc. are assessed separately.

The degrees of the respective competency fields is based on the 4 levels of the Leadership Impact Model. They illustrate the natural learning path and reflect the competence development and at the same time demonstrate from which basic awareness and attitude leadership occurs.

Figure 2: Basic structure - the R-I-S-E levels of the Leadership Impact Model
Figure 2: Basic structure - the R-I-S-E levels of the Leadership Impact Model

The acronym RISE is composed of four levels to which the individual behavior can be assigned, the: Roler, Instructor, Shaper and Enabler. However, this categorization is by no means stable. A person can be perceived on different levels depending on his competence and everyone is variable in his behavior, which is why development is possible through targeted reflective learning. The Roler's behavior is characterized by improvisation, ad hoc and situational actions, the Instructor acts routinized as well as standardized, which can have a stabilizing effect. The Shaper shows optimizing, shaping and integrating behavior, whereas the Enabler distinguishes himself as a strategically thinking person with reflective and other-developing actions. As the descriptions of the individual behavioral levels already suggest, a more diverse repertoire of reactions, actions and behavioral options goes hand in hand with the S and E levels. The further up the RISE levels, the more varied the range of actions the individual can take in response to situations.

The rising spiral from R to E (see Fig. 2) illustrates the cumulative selection of perspectives that the individual can enter and perceive, as well as the multi-faceted effect on the outside world.

The model can be ideally used to assess employee competencies, identify talents and enable individually tailored (leadership) development. By formulating behavioral anchors per company-related competency for each RISE expression of the Leadership Impact Model, individuals are provided with a concrete development path that goes beyond the usual "met/not met" categories.

The Leadership Impact Model is embedded at various points in everyday corporate life and forms the basis of employee management (see Fig. 3).

Basic Understanding of Securing Competences - Classification Leadership Impact Model


Figure 3: Placement Leadership Impact Model

Interested in details? Please feel free to ask at any time, we will send you the full article. „Dynaxity und VUCA. Wie professionelles Management zu einer Organizational Excellence gelingen kann“; 1. Teil revised version in Englisch and German; White Paper; Transformation Management AG 2023