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The Cardinal Leadership Inventory assesses leadership that goes beyond what leaders do and provides insight and feedback for developing the heart and soul of a leader. The CLI measures six critical facets of leadership character essential to effective, life changing leadership. Currently used to assess and develop leaders of character at West Point, the CLI provides each leader with detailed feedback and a framework for a personal leader development plan. An action plan for character development and reflection is provided with each 30-page feedback report. 


The Cardinal Leadership feedback report provides detailed analysis on six critical facets of leadership character:

  • Courage: your moral resilience and bravery under pressure
  • Integrity: how well your life reflects you values
  • Selflessness: placing the needs of the organization and your followers above your own
  • Empathy: understanding others’ perspectives, leveraging diversity for high performing teams
  • Collaboration: capacity for supporting peers as teammates and seeing the big picture
  • Reflection: translating performance into potential by learning from experience
Each leader also receives detailed analysis on their leadership identity to better understand how they see themselves as a leader.

  • Ability to Lead: having what it takes to lead others
  • Desire to Lead: satisfaction with being in the spotlight and responsible for the actions of others
  • Need to Lead: confidence in leading regardless of the setting or situation
Every leader grows and develops differently. In order to take ownership of their developmental journey, leaders gain a greater understanding of their preferred method of leader development in the following areas.

  • Formal Learning: higher education, reading and exchanging perspectives on case studies
  • Personal Experience: hands on leadership opportunities and on the job training
  • Role Modeling: emulating the leadership of personal exemplars
Character is derived from the Greek word charattein, meaning to engrave. Your character is engraved over your lifetime. Unlike your personality, your character can be developed. Unlike knowledge, skills and abilities, your character runs so much deeper than what you can do.

The six cardinal dimensions of character are; courage, integrity, selflessness, empathy, collaboration, and reflection. Courage is further explored in terms of your moral resilience and physical bravery. Empathy is further investigated as your tolerance of others who are different and your ability to practice humility when provided with legitimate power. Collaboration is further assessed as your support for your peers, and your ability to see the big picture. Reflection measures in discriminating detail how well you assign meaning to the events of your life as a leader.

Developing your character requires honesty, introspection, and patience. Time spent with a trusted mentor has also been shown to be of great assistance in facilitating character development. When considering a mentor, I suggest you select someone who knows you well enough and is personally vested in your development to the degree that they will provide you with unvarnished feedback. A mentor must facilitate your development, not present it to you. A good mentor illuminates the path for growth before you and lets you do the discovering.

At Performance Programs we are all about assessments! 

Well-designed assessments can provide awareness, which can lead to well targeted actions that can improve performance.  We are a versatile source for HR and talent management.

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