life styles inventory

Life Styles Inventory (LSI) Explained

There are a variety of performance assessment tools that can be used to identify the strengths of an organisation as well as areas for development. The Life Styles Inventory, or LSI, is an organisational tool that provides these insights for leaders by utilising self-assessment and feedback from colleagues and employees. It is based around the Human Synergistics Circumplex, describing constructive, passive/defensive and aggressive/defensive behaviours. It is a type of 360 Degree Feedback that aims to provide the individual with a full-picture understanding of how they perceive themselves, as well as how they are perceived by others. In this article, we take a closer look at how the Life Styles Inventory works to achieve this and what benefits it can have on individual performance and the organisation as a whole. 


How it Works

There are three components to the LSI that are used to make the assessment:

  • LSI 1 (self-assessment): this tool is specifically designed to help you understand the thoughts and attitudes that motivate your behaviour, how you relate to others, and how you solve problems and make decisions.

    The LSI is a survey of 240 inventory items that the individual is first asked to assess themselves in. The answers provided to these items measure how you view yourself on 12 key thinking patterns as being either effective or ineffective.
  • LSI 2 (other’s description): this tool provides objective feedback on an individual’s behaviour as they are interpreted by others.

    Eight trusted associates are selected by the individual to answer the 240 items and their results are combined, forming a composite profile that provides insight into how the individual is collectively perceived. 
  • The results of each assessment are compared to identify the individual’s areas of strength, as well as those in which they can improve. 


Features of the LSI

When the results of the Life Styles Inventory are compiled, they form a circumplex (or ‘clock’) to provide a visual representation of how you think you behave in each of the 12 styles. These styles are further broken up into three broader categories – constructive, passive/defensive, and aggressive defensive. This provides a clear visual representation of the individual’s leadership behaviours.


The LSI 1 is part of the Life Styles System that allows the individual the opportunity to take an introspective look at the image they hold of themselves. Unlike many other self-assessment tools, the LSI 1 provides a quantifiable measurement of strengths and weaknesses. This means that there is a concrete starting place for targeting areas of improvement. Results from over 240,000 organisations indicate that there are significant connections between LSI 1 scores and the development of leadership effectiveness, an increased ability to facilitate change, the achievement of self-set goals, and improved relationships with others. 

When used in conjunction with LSI 1, the LSI 2 will provide further objective feedback on the individual’s leadership behaviours in a way that is confidential, reliable, and presented in a nonthreatening manner. Re-testing packs of each assessment also enable individuals to monitor their growth at 3, 6, and/or 12 months after completing their initial assessment. Not only is this a great benefit for the individual, but the organisation is also able to measure the effectiveness of LSI development. 


Performance assessment tools such as the Life Styles Inventory can be useful in providing insight into the full scope of an individual’s leadership behaviours. The LSI is one of many different leadership assessment and personality profiling tools that The Leadership Sphere use to assist organisations in identifying key leadership characteristics and behaviours. Each organisation, and each leader, will have different goals they hope to achieve through the implementation of any leadership development program. For this reason, it is important that you are using the right tool for the right job. 

For more information about the Life Styles Inventory (LSI) and how The Leadership Sphere can help you unlock performance through leadership, by supporting your leaders at every level of the organisation with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website or call us on 1300 100 857.

Life Styles Inventory (LSI) Explained