Illuminating leadership capacities for individuals,
teams, and programs, equipping them to maximize their
potential and deepen their impacts.

What is the index?

The Leadership Development Index (Index) is a digital assessment tool that measures leadership capacities to accelerate personal and professional growth. Built on 20 years of peer-reviewed empirical research, the Index offers the only national, normative dataset for benchmarking across a broad spectrum of demographic groups. Designed with statistical techniques to mitigate bias, the Index is designed and tested to be responsive to users’ diverse identities and experiences.

Woman teaching class

Who is the Index for?

The Index is available for anyone who wants to learn more about their leadership capacities. Built upon the largest ongoing study of leadership development in the world, the Index is an innovative resource for high school and college students as well as educators and professionals.

Drawing Art

What are the benefits of the Index?

The Index is fully customizable by you to better achieve your personal, professional, and programmatic goals. This customization allows for a variety of applications including educational assessment and accreditation, leadership development curriculum, and training and development.

Overview of Capacities

The Index first measures your performance across six leadership capacities chosen from among 30+ options defined below. It then compares your individual results with established national and career-specific benchmarks to identify your assets and opportunities for growth.

What is a Capacity?

Capacities are the building blocks of leadership development and defined as an individual or group’s knowledge, skills, behaviors, and
attitudes associated with a key leadership concept (e.g., creative problem-solving, integrity). Learning to apply capacities across contexts and in varying situations is essential for effective leadership.

Each of the 30+ capacities are arranged into convenient categories essential for leadership.

Capacity Wheel

Capacities Defined:

Personal Leadership


Understanding of and ability to express one’s sense of self, values, and priorities.


Alignment between convictions (i.e., beliefs, values, attitudes) and actions.

personal responsibility

Commitment to directing one’s energy and actions toward agreed-upon efforts.

emotional self-awareness

Ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and their influences.

emotional self regulation

The ability to use emotions to inform one’s impressions of an experience while intentionally choosing actions to pursue healthy and effective ways forward.

Inclusive Leadership

cultural competence

Requisite awareness, values, and behaviors that enable effective communication and advocacy across cultures.

social perspective-taking

Ability to take another person’s point of view and accurately infer their thoughts and feelings.

social change behaviors

Enactment of values-based Leadership and civic engagement behaviors to advance the common good.

sociocultural discussion

Engagement with peers around compelling social and cultural issues including values stances, diversity, human rights, political perspectives, and religious beliefs.

navigating systems

Ability to envision multiple pathways in navigating systems to achieve goals.

Interpersonal Leadership


Desire and ability to work effectively with others in group processes.


Receptivity to and appreciation of differing viewpoints and the advantages of engaging with them in productive ways.

sense of belonging

Degree to which an individual feels a sense of affiliation and connection to an organization/program.

Innovative Leadership


Pursuit of knowledge or experiences through novel, complex, differing, or uncertain stimuli to resolve gaps, understand, and learn.

critical questioning

The ability to generate a variety of high-quality questions as well as strategically deploy questions to build relationships and acquire information.


Ability to suspend judgment by hypothesis testing through active experimentation to generate unique insights.


The ability to perceive beyond the expected using all senses to heighten awareness in a given moment or context.

integrative thinking

Ability to engage in non-linear thinking to make connections across traditional boundaries and seemingly unrelated phenomena.

Civic Leadership

civic engagement

Desire and ability to contribute to one’s community.


Concern for future generations as well as engagement in current actions to advance the future of a community.

social capital creation

Ability to develop and maintain diverse relationships across traditional boundaries for the purpose of mutual benefit in personal, community, and professional domains.

Sustainable Leadership


Ability to initiate and sustain goal-directed efforts.

leadership efficacy

One's internal beliefs about their likelihood of success when engaging in Leadership processes.


Ability to persist in the midst of adversity and positively cope with stress.

search for purpose

Meaning-making grounded in the exploration of life’s deeper purpose.

Using the Index is simple.

Index solutions are designed to maximize impact while providing practical and easy-to-understand tools for individual or group use.

This is supported by a management platform – The Index Manager – that makes purchasing, customizing, distributing, tracking, and reporting on results effortless. Using the Index is simple:


keys to access the product


the leadership capacities you want to measure


the Index Manager to complete surveys, distribute keys, and monitor responses


your growth with customized leadership development reports