CASE STUDY: enke Look for Valid Measures of Leadership

enke: Developing valid indicators for leadership

enke: Make your Mark is a youth leadership and social innovation initiative. Like many other organisations, enke have found it challenging to find good indicators to measure the impact of their work. Recently, they have made some interesting changes to their surveys to improve the quality of indicators and data they collect.

enke have spent time interrogating what they mean by 'leadership' - a term that has been defined in different ways by the people and organisations using it. It is a nuanced concept, with a variety of potential components. enke’s understanding of leadership is influenced by theories on GRIT, self-efficacy (locus of control), learned optimism, a 'growth' mind-set and social awareness. This definition of leadership has particular connotations. enke believe social awareness is defined by empathy, tolerance and acceptance or engagement with diversity. In defining these complex outcomes, we can begin to create better indicators that are detailed from this measure the outcomes that we actually want to measure. In short, improve validity. This will, in turn, assist with the correct interpretation of results.

enke now have six statements for each of their components/dimensions of leadership which are converted to a scale that can be used for analysis. We can be more confident in the validity of these indicators, in contrast to one statement that could be misunderstood or may only measure one component of the outcome of interest.

enke have also tried to move away from asking transparent and straightforward questions which might lead to answers that are not an accurate reflection. While it is not incorrect to assess the extent to which beneficiaries agreed or disagreed with the statement that “I am a leader”, measuring leadership in an objective way is not possible (e.g. due to misreported answers or different understandings of what leadership is).For example, enke were initially using the notion of diversity as a measure of social awareness; measuring the degree to which beneficiaries agreed with “I am comfortable with people from different backgrounds”. As a statement on its own, enke find that it is likely to be a leading question. On the other hand, a more scenario-based or situational question that relates to the direct experiences of respondents and more indirectly to the outcome might be “I would marry someone of a different race”. This may be a more accurate reflection of true feeling around diversity.