Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire

 

Authors: Bernard M. Bass & Bruce J. Avolio

The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ—also known as MLQ 5X short or the standard MLQ) measures a broad range of leadership types from passive leaders, to leaders who give contingent rewards to followers, to leaders who transform their followers into becoming leaders themselves. The MLQ identifies the characteristics of a transformational leader and helps individuals discover how they measure up in their own eyes and in the eyes of those with whom they work. Success can be measured through a retesting program to track changes in leadership style. The program described in the MLQ Trainer's Guide provides a solid base for leadership training.

MLQ products are used for either assessment/development and for research.

  • If you are using the MLQ for research, click here for a list of MLQ products designed for researchers.
  • If you are using the MLQ for assessment and development, click here for a list of MLQ products designed for consultants.

Copyright © 1995 by Bernard Bass & Bruce J. Avolio

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Showing 1 - 18 of 18 items

Features of the MLQ

Purpose: Measure, explain, and demonstrate the key factors that set truly exceptional leaders apart from marginal ones.

Length:

MLQ Multi-rater Form, Rater Only Form, and Self Only Form = 45 items

MLQ Actual/Ought Form = 90 items

Average completion time:

MLQ Multi-rater Form, Rater Only Form, and Self Only Form = 15 minutes

MLQ Actual/Ought Form = 25-30 minutes

Target population: Adults

Administration: For individual or group administration

Other MLQ Features:

a. Differentiates effective and ineffective leaders at all organizational levels.

b. Assesses the effectiveness of an entire organization's leadership.

c. Valid across cultures and types of organizations.

d. Extensively researched and validated.

e. The MLQ provides an excellent relationship between survey data and organizational outcome.

Uses of the MLQ

  • Leadership development
  • Leadership research

The Authentic Leadership Questionnaire - available in combination with the MLQ - measures the components that comprise authentic leadership. The MLQ identifies effective leadership types, however highly transformational leaders can be highly effective without being authentic (e.g. Hitler). Using the ALQ alongside the MLQ provides measurement of leaders' self awareness, transparency, ethics/morality, and balanced processing.

Scales

Transformational Leadership:

Builds Trust (Idealized Attributes)

Acts with Integrity (Idealized Behaviors)

Encourages Others (Inspirational Motivation)

Encourages Innovative Thinking (Intellectual Stimulation)

Coaches & Develops People (Individualized Consideration)

Transactional Leadership

Rewards Achievement (Contingent Reward)

Monitors Deviations & Mistakes (Management-by-Exception: Active)

Passive/Avoidant

Fights Fires (Management-by-Exception: Passive)

Avoids Involvement (Laissez-Faire)

Outcomes of Leadership

Generates Extra Effort

Is Productive (Effectiveness)

Generates Satisfaction

If you are unable to find the translation you need, you can request permission to make a translation.

Available with MLQ Transform™ Online Survey License:
Regardless of which translation you select, participants can select and change any of these languages while taking the survey.

MLQ Multi-rater Form

  • Czech
  • German
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Turkish

MLQ Rater Only Form

  • German
  • Turkish

MLQ Actual/Ought Form

  • Spanish

Available with MLQ License to Reproduce and Remote Online Survey License:
These translations are available free of charge with your purchase of the license. Each PDF file contains the English forms and the translated forms on separate pages. To order, select your language from the Translation drop-down list on the product page. Need multiple translations? Contact us.

  • Albanian - Leader only
  • Arabic
  • Bulgarian - Leader only
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Croatian - Rater only
  • Czech
  • Dutch - Rater only
  • Farsi
  • Finnish - Rater only
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean - Rater only
  • Lao - Rater only
  • Lithuanian
  • Malay - Rater only
  • Burmese (Myanmar) - Rater only
  • Norwegian
  • Polish - Rater only
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Slovene
  • Spanish
  • Swahili - Leader only
  • Swedish
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese - Rater only

Note: We cannot assure translation quality — many are made by individual researchers and we are not necessarily familiar with the particular language or dialect. Some of the translations are partial and typically do not have validation data. Basically, we offer whatever is available to facilitate your work.

Need help organizing and analyzing your data? We recommend Statistics Solutions, a team of Ph.D research methodologists and statisticians who specialize in psychological survey instruments, research design, data analysis, etc. Click here to contact Statistics Solutions.

View Books

Avolio, B. J. (2005). Leadership Development in Balance: Made/Born. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, Inc.

Avolio, B. J. (1999). Full Leadership Development: Building the Vital Forces in Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Avolio, B. J. & Bass, B. M. (2002). Developing Potential across a Full Range of Leadership: Cases on transactional and transformational leadership. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and Performance beyond Expectations. New York: Free Press.

Bass, B. M. (1998). Transformational Leadership: Individual, Military and Educational Impact. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Bass B. M. & Avolio, B. J. (Eds.). (1994). Improving Organizational Effectiveness through Transformational Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass & Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications. New York: Free Press.

Bernard M. Bass & Ronald E. Riggio. (2005). Transformational Leadership, 2nd edition, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Bernard & Ruth Bass (2008). The Bass Handbook of Leadership, 4th ed. New York: Free Press.

Sosik, J. J. (2006). Leading With Character -2nd Edition: Stories of Valor and Virtue and the Principles They Teach. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Sosik, J. J. & Jung, D. (2009). Full Range Leadership Development: Pathways for People, Profit and Planet. Psychology Press.

View Articles

Antonakis, J., Avolio B. J., & Sivasubramaniam, N. (2003). Context and leadership: an examination of the nine-factor full-range leadership theory using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. The Leadership Quarterly, 14(3), 261-295.

Avolio, B. J., Bass, B. M.,& Jung, D. (1999). Reexamining the components of transformational and transactional leadership using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 7, 441-462.

Barling, J., Weber, J.,& Kelloway, E. K. (1996). Effects of transformational leadership training on attitudinal and financial outcomes: A field experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81, 827-832.

Bass, Bernard M. (1997). Does the transactional-transformational leadership paradigm transcend organizational and national boundaries? American Psychologist, 52(2),130-139.
ABSTRACT - There is universality in the transactional-transformational leadership paradigm. That is, the same conception of phenomena and relationships can be observed in a wide range of organizations and cultures. Exceptions can be understood as a consequence of unusual attributes of the organizations or cultures. Three corollaries are discussed. Supportive evidence has been gathered in studies conducted in organizations in business, education, the military, the government, and the independent sector. Likewise, supportive evidence has been accumulated from all but 1 continent to document the applicability of the paradigm.

Bass, Bernard M., Avolio, Bruce J., Jung, Dong I. & Berson, Yair. (2003). Predicting unit performance by assessing transformational and transactional leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(2), 207-218.
ABSTRACT - How do leadership ratings collected from units operating under stable conditions predict subsequent performance of those units operating under high stress and uncertainty? To examine this question, the authors calculated the predictive relationships for the transformational and transactional leadership of 72 light infantry rifle platoon leaders for ratings of unit potency, cohesion, and performance for U.S. Army platoons participating in combat simulation exercises. Both transformational and transactional contingent reward leadership ratings of platoon leaders and sergeants positively predicted unit performance. The relationship of platoon leadership to performance was partially mediated through the unit's level of potency and cohesion. Implications, limitations, and future directions for leadership research are discussed. Full text of the article available in PDF form at APA site (must have Adobe Acrobat reader).

Dvir, T., Eden, D., Avolio, B. J.,& Shamir, B. (2002). Impact of transformational leadership on follower development and performance: A field experiment. Academy of Management Journal, 45, 735-744.

Eagly, A. H. Johannesen-Schmidt, M. C., & Van Engen, M. L. (2003). Transformational, Transactional, and Laissez-Faire Leadership Styles : A Meta-Analysis Comparing Women and Men. Psychological Bulletin 129, 4, 569-591.
ABSTRACT - A meta-analysis of 45 studies of transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership styles found that female leaders were more transformational than male leaders and also engaged in more of the contingent reward behaviors that are a component of transactional leadership. Male leaders were generally more likely to manifest the other aspects of transactional leadership (active and passive management by exception) and laissez-faire leadership. Although these differences between male and female leaders were small, the implications of these findings are encouraging for female leadership because other research has established that all of the aspects of leadership style on which women exceeded men relate positively to leaders' effectiveness whereas all of the aspects on which men exceeded women have negative or null relations to effectiveness.

Howell, J. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1993). Transformational leadership, transactional leadership, locus of control, and support for innovation: Key predictors of consolidated business business-unit performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 891–902.
IN BRIEF: Higher transformational and transactional leadership ratings were associated with more effective business unit performance.

Judge, T. A. & Piccolo, R. F. (2004). Transformational and transactional Leadership: A meta-analytic test of their relative validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5) 755-768.

View Citations

American Psychological Association press release reports that the MLQ predicts leadership in battlefield simulations. See "Leadership Styles That Use Rewards and Shared Values Help Platoons Perform Well in Simulated Combat Situations: Implications for Leadership Training in the Military" at the American Psychological Association (3/26/03).

How transformational leadership works: Kaiser, Robert B. and Robert Hogan and S. Bartholomew Craig (2008). "Leadership and the fate of organizations." American Psychologist, 63(2) 96-110.
"Research on how leaders affect followers' self-concepts indicates that transformational leadership works by influencing followers to identify with a collective enterprise and to internalize group aspirations. Transactional leadership appeals to followers' self-interest, but transformational leadership changes the way followers see themselves—from isolated individuals to members of a larger group. Transformational leaders do this by modeling collective commitment (e.g., through self-sacrifice and the use of “we” instead of “I”), emphasizing the similarity of group members, and reinforcing collective goals, shared values, and common interests. When followers see themselves as members of a collective, they tend to endorse group values and goals, and this enhances their motivation to contribute to the greater good."

Research findings on transformational leadership from "Context and leadership: an examination of the nine-factor full-range leadership theory using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire" by John Antonakis, Bruce J. Avolio and Nagaraj Sivasubramaniam, The Leadership Quarterly, 14(3), June 2003, 261-295:

  • Transformational leaders created greater alignment around strategic visions and missions.
  • Transformational leadership behavior factors are associated with organizational sales increases, market share, earnings and ROI.
  • Scores on Transformational leadership predict individual and group performance.
  • Transformational leadership has been found to explain between 45% and 60% of organizational performance.
  • Transformational leaders created greater unit cohesion, commitment, and lower turnover.
  • Transformational leadership predicted higher levels of product innovation in R & D teams.
  • Transformational leaders created safer work environments.
  • Transformational leadership training has been shown to improve leadership and associated performance over time.

Featured

Avolio - Full Range Leadership Development
Bruce J. Avolio (2011). Full Range Leadership Development (Second Edition). Sage.

A practical guide to leadership development based on the world's most thoroughly researched leadership development model.

Conversational and accessible, this Second Edition of Bruce J. Avolio's groundbreaking book uses the full range leadership development model as an organizing framework and shows how it can be directly applied to improving leadership at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Filled with examples that show how the full range model comes to life in today's global world, Full Range Leadership Development, Second Edition, demonstrates how people, timing, resources, the context of interaction, and expected results in performance and motivation all contribute to effective leadership.

Over the last decade, the full range model has become the most researched model in the leadership literature—and the most validated—and has been proven to be an accurate guide for developing exemplary leadership in diverse cultures, organizations, and leadership positions. The new edition shows how the process of leadership development is linked to validation and how the process of validation informs accelerated leadership development.

Sosik FRLD

John J. Sosik and Don I. Jung (2010). Full Range Leadership Development: Pathways for People, Profit and Planet. Taylor and Francis.

It has been more than 20 years since Bernie Bass presented an integrated overview of full range leadership development. This has been the standard for providing leadership training around the world in business, military, religious and educational contexts. Penn State University’s master of leadership development program is directed by John J. Sosik and uses these transactional –transformational leadership paradigms as their foundation for their courses. This book can be used as a main textbook for this course and supplement any IO course in the area of leadership development.

Full range leadership development strives to grow transformational leadership in organizations at all levels, including followers, thereby generating numerous positive outcomes at all levels. Organizations that support and develop transformational leadership across organizational levels are more productive and profitable, attract and retain high quality associates, promote creativity and innovation, garner trust and commitment from employees, and are strategically positioned to respond well to changes in the market.

This book presents the different theories of leadership and concentrate on the process model of Full Range Leadership that explains the concepts and procedures by which leaders affect their followers (individual leadership), teams (leader to team), and organizations (leader to larger systems). This book can be used by practitioners or students, as the authors provide practical action steps for how to best develop and display behaviors in the Full Range Leadership Development model.

What is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational leaders are those who transform their followers into becoming leaders themselves. From Wikipedia, "Transformational leadership is a leadership approach that is defined as leadership that creates valuable and positive change in the followers. A transformational leader focuses on "transforming" others to help each other, to look out for each other, to be encouraging and harmonious, and to look out for the organization as a whole. In this leadership, the leader enhances the motivation, morale and performance of his follower group." From Bass and Riggio (2006, page 3), "Transformational leaders are those who stimulate and inspire followers to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and, in the process, develop their own leadership capacity. Transformational leaders help followers grow and develop into leaders by responding to individual followers' needs by empowering them and by aligning the objectives and goals of the individual followers, the leader, the group, and the larger organization. Evidence has accumulated to demonstrate that transformational leadership can move followers to exceed expected performance, as well as lead to high levels of follower satisfaction and commitment to the group and organization." There are four components of Transformational Leadership (Bass, Bernard M. 1998 Transformational Leadership. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc, Inc.):

Builds Trust and Acts with Integrity (Idealized Influence - also known as Charismatic Leadership) - Transformational leaders act in ways that make them role models. They are respected, admired and trusted. Followers identify with them and describe them in terms that imply extraordinary capabilities, persistence and determination. These leaders are willing to take risk. They can consistently be relied upon to do the right thing, displaying high moral and ethical standards.

Encourages Others (Inspirational Motivation) - These leaders embody the term "team spirit". They show enthusiasm and optimism, providing both meaning and challenge to the work at hand. They create an atmosphere of commitment to goals and a shared vision.

Encourages Innovative Thinking (Intellectual Stimulation) - a Transformational Leader encourages creativity and fosters an atmosphere in which followers feel compelled to think about old problems in a new way. Public criticism is avoided.

Coaches & Develops People (Individualized Consideration) - Transformational leaders act as mentors and coaches. Individual desires and needs are respected. Differences are accepted and two-way communication is common. These leaders are considered to be good listeners, and along with this comes personalized interaction. Followers of these leaders move continually toward development of higher levels of potential.

Who coined the term Transformational Leadership?

The term Transformational Leadership was introduced in 1978 by James MacGregor Burns in his analysis of political leaders. His conclusions centered around the differences between management and leadership. He communicated the two basic concepts of "transformational" and "transactional" leadership.

In 1985, Bernard M. Bass added to Burns' theory on Transformational Leadership, and in the early 1990's Bass and Bruce Avolio, through empirical study, mapped the most common leadership approaches of managers and military commanders. They placed Transformational and Transactional Leadership on a continuum and defined more stages at the passage between the two leadership approaches. This model is called "The full range of leadership."

How is Transformational Leadership measured?

While researching these concepts, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) (Bass & Avolio) was used. The MLQ measures the concepts of transformational and transactional leadership. The MLQ has undergone various revisions over the years and had achieved a set of items that are clear, behaviorally based, and so central to the concepts that there are only four items per concept (scale) and yet the MLQ consistently shows excellent validity and prediction of organizational performance.

Why is the MLQ the best tool for measuring Transformational Leadership?
  • Bernard Bass, besides being known as a father of Transformational Leadership, is also the author of the famous Bass & Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership. In developing the MLQ he used his deep knowledge about leadership and what predicts organizational performance.
  • The MLQ has become the benchmark measure of Transformational Leadership.
  • The MLQ measures, and the MLQ report makes personal to individuals how they relate on the key factors that set truly exceptional leaders apart from marginal ones.
  • Valid across cultures and all types of organizations (see Bass 1997).
  • Easy to administer, requires 15 minutes for a rater to complete the 45 questions.
  • Extensively researched and validated, documented in numerous journal articles and independent studies.
  • Among leadership assessment methods, the MLQ provides the best relationship of "survey data" to "organizational outcome"
What does the MLQ consist of?

The classic form (MLQ 5X Short) of the MLQ includes both self and rater forms. The self form measures self perception of leadership behaviors. The rater form is used to measure leadership as perceived by people at a higher level, same level, or lower level in the organization than the leader. Each form is 45 questions. The ideal number of raters for a leader is 8-10, with at least 3 in the subordinate category. The MLQ also includes 9 outcome items rating the leader's effectiveness and the satisfaction the rater has for the leader. The rater form is at the heart of the MLQ and may be used without the leader form if desired. The leader form serves to provide a contrast between how the leader perceives herself and how others perceive her. Validity is documented for the rater form, however there is no relationship between a leader's self-rating and organizational performance.

How is Transformational Leadership assessment used in the professional development of leaders?

The MLQ, in its measurement of Transformational and Transactional Leadership, reflects on leadership behavior. It provides a contrast between how the leader sees himself versus how others see him. The perceptions of others form critical feedback to the leader and provide specific information to that leader to provide a basis for growth and change. Frequently, the MLQ is administered before and after leadership training programs to focus the training and to measure the effect of these programs.

Is Transformational Leadership measured only in the U.S.?

The MLQ has been translated into dozens of languages and is used all over the world for the measurement of Transformational Leadership. Transformational leaders may be found in any culture.

For additional FAQs about the MLQ and other multi-rater instruments, please visit our FAQ pages.