Research Support

Based on 20+ years of peer-reviewed studies informed by applications with executives

40,000+ leaders

around the world assessed

Versatility is Rare

But it can be developed

Most leaders are not versatile

They over-rely on their strengths and neglect opposing but complementary behaviors and skills

Versatility can be learned

Personality plays a role, but career experiences, feedback, training and development play an even greater role.

As the world has
gotten more VUCA, versatility matters more …And more

Proportion of Executive Effectiveness Due to Versatility

Today’s most effective leaders are the most versatile leaders. Tomorrow, they’ll have an even greater impact.

When we began studying versatility in the 1990s, it statistically accounted for about a third of what it means to be an effective leader. After the global financial crisis of 2008, it accounted for about half. During the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, versatility accounted for almost two thirds of leader effectiveness. At a moment when everything changed, all of a sudden, versatile leaders helped their teams and organizations regroup, refocus, and continue to produce. Leaders who lacked versatility saw their teams get overwhelmed and fall behind.

As the next normal emerges, disruption and sudden jolts will continue to shape our world. And versatile leaders will be best equipped to effectively read and respond to those unexpected changes.

Versatile Leaders Enhance Engagement, Agility, and Results

by a wide margin

How Versatile Leadership Improves Culture & Results

Different behaviors drive different levers for performance

Research Review

More than 20 years of peer-reviewed publications


Fear Your Strengths: What You Are Best at May be Your Biggest Problem

Berrett-Koehler (2013)
Available in English, Danish, Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese

The Perils of Accentuating the Positive

Hogan Press (2009)
Available in English, Romanian

The Versatile Leader: Make the Most of Your Strengths—Without Overdoing It

Pfeiffer/Jossey-Bass (2006)
Available in English, Polish, Korean

Research Articles


Leading in an unprecedented global crisis: The heightened importance of versatility.

Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (2020)

The how and the what of leadership

Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (Runner-up for the Elliott Jaques Memorial Publication Award for article of the year) (2012)

When strengths run amok

Chapter in: The Perils of Accentuating the Positive. Hogan Press (2009)

Versatile Leadership and the Use of Business Process Methodologies in the Biotechnology- Pharmaceutical Industry

Dissertation Information Service, University Microfilms International (2009)

Assessing the flexibility of managers: A comparison of methods

International Journal of Selection and Assessment (2007)

Faculty Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment with Industry-University Research Centers

Michigan: Dissertation Information Service, University Microfilms International (2004)

Behavior & Assessment Model

A method for capturing context in the assessment of leaders: The “too little/too much” rating scale

Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice (2018)

Developing flexible and adaptive leaders for an age of uncertainty [Special Issue]

Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (2010)

Assessing flexible leadership as a mastery of opposites

Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (2010)

Are all scales created equal? Response format and the validity of managerial ratings

The Four "R’s" of 360° Feedback: Second Generation Research on Determinants of Its Effectiveness, symposium presented at the 21st Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Dallas, TX (2006)

On the folly of linear rating scales for a non-linear world

Performance Appraisals: A Critical View, ICFAI University Press (2005)

Development Model

Developing managers for a digitalized industry

Paper presented at The 11th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation Proceedings, IATED Academy: Valencia, Spain (2018)

Towards a positive psychology for leaders

Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work (pp. 107-117). New York: Oxford University Press (2010)

The deeper work of executive development

Academy of Management Learning and Education (2006)

Lopsidedness in leaders: Strategies for assessing it and correcting it.

Inspiring Leaders (pp. 293-304). London: Routledge (2006)

LVI & Personality

The dark side of personality and extreme leader behavior

Applied Psychology: An International Review (2015)

Personality, leader behavior, and overdoing it

Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (2011)

Strengths, strengths overused, and lopsided leadership

Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research (2011)

What do you want to do next?

Deliver LVIs to leaders

Get Certified

Find an
LVI-certified consultant

Request A Referral

Find out more about LVI

Just Ask