Esalen Leadership Culture Survey - Online Summary

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Leadership Culture

The effectiveness of the leadership system in an organization determines, to a large degree, the organization’s performance. This Leadership Culture Survey® measures the health of Esalen's leadership system — the culture of leadership in your organization.

Leadership Culture Survey® is unique in that it measures two domains of leadership:

Creative competencies (top half of circle) are well-researched leadership competencies that measure how you achieve results, bring out the best in others, lead with vision, enhance your own development, act with integrity, and encourage and improve organizational systems.

Reactive tendencies (bottom half of circle) are leadership styles that emphasize caution over creating results, self-protection over productive engagement, and aggression over building alignment. These self-limiting styles overemphasize the focus on gaining the approval of others, protecting yourself and getting results through high control tactics. High reactivity has a limiting effect on a leader’s competencies.

Click here to learn more about the Leadership Culture Survey®.

Esalen Institute

In the Spring of 2011, The Leadership Circle® worked with the Esalen Institute leadership team to conduct the Leadership Culture Survey® with the entire community of Esalen residential staff and students.

The survey is designed to measure current culture and the desired culture. This required respondents to fill out the same 62 questions twice — once for the way things are, and once for the way they want them to be. When results are displayed, the gap between current reality and vision was highlighted.

31 dimensions of Esalen's culture were measured and organized into eight summary dimensions. The survey showed that the actual culture (strongly reactive) and the desired culture (strongly creative) of Esalen were almost exact opposites. In light of the Management Culture Survey results, Esalen Institute decided to make the following changes in its leadership:

  • No changes

Esalen Institute now offers the Esalen Integral Leadership Program to mentor future leaders.


All scores are displayed as percentile scores comparing your scores to our norm base. "High" scores are those beyond the 67th percentile. "Low" scores are those below the 33rd percentile.

Summary of All Dimensions — High Level 8
measures the extent to which leaders in your organization relate to others in a way that brings out the best in people, groups and organizations. It measures how well the leadership culture of the organization builds quality relationships, fosters teamwork, collaborates, develops people, involves people in decision making and planning, and demonstrates a high level of interpersonal skill.   
measures the extent to which leaders offer visionary, authentic, and high achievement leadership. It measures the extent to which leaders encourage a focus on achieving end results that are at once purposeful and strategic. It measures the creative use of power and effective decision-making.   
measures leadership’s orientation to ongoing professional and personal development, as well as the degree to which inner self-awareness is expressed through high integrity leadership. It is a measure of emotional and interpersonal maturity. It also measures the extent to which the culture encourages the kind of personal/professional development that results in personal mastery.   
measures your leaders’ capability to relate to others in an authentic, courageous, and high integrity manner. It measures the extent to which their leadership is authentic—not masked by organizational politics, looking good, winning approval, etc. It also measures their ability to take tough stands, bring up the “un-discussables” (risky issues the group avoids discussing), to openly deal with relationship problems, and share personal feelings/vulnerabilities about a situation. Courage in the workplace involves authentically and directly dealing with risky issues in one-to-one and group situations.   
measures the extent to which leaders establish a sense of personal worth through task accomplishment and personal achievement. It measures the extent to which leaders exert too much control, push themselves and others excessively hard, pursue results at the expense of people, and use overly aggressive tactics to get others to do what they want.   
measures the extent to which leaders act to protect themselves and establish a sense of worth/security by emotionally withdrawing and remaining distant, hidden, aloof, cynical, superior, and/or rational. This stance is often intellectually bright, but overly critical and cold.   
Systems Awareness26%88%62
measures the degree to which your awareness is focused on whole system improvement and on community welfare (the symbiotic relationship between the longterm welfare of the community and the interests of the organization).   
measures the extent to which leaders act in ways that are overly conservative, cautious, and/or polite. It measures the extent to which leaders get a sense of self-worth and security by complying with the expectations of others rather than acting on what they intend and want.    

Top 10 Sub-Categories
Interpersonal Intelligence (Relating)18%90%72
measures the interpersonal effectiveness with which leaders listen, engage in conflict and controversey, deal with the feelings of others, and manage their own feelings.   
Fosters Team Play (Relating)20%88%68
measures leadership's ability to foster high-performance teamwork among team members that report to you, across the organization and within teams in which you participate.   
Sustainable Productivity (Systems Awareness)22%90%68
measures your organizations' ability to achieve results in a way that maintains or enhances the overall long-term effectiveness of the organization.   
Purposeful & Visionary (Achieving)19%87%68
measures the extent to which leadership provides a clearly communicated organizational purpose and vision. It measures how well they align the organization by modeling commitment to the direction.   
Courageous Authenticity (Authenticity)21%88%67
measures leaders' willingness to take tough stands, bring up the 'un-discussables' (risky issues the group avoids discussing), and openly deal with difficult relationship problems.   
Strategic Focus (Achieving)21%87%66
measures the extent to which leaders establish and follow a thorough discipline of strategic planning that focuses the organization on the 'right stuff.'   
Personal Learner (Self-Awareness)25%90%65
measures the degree to which leaders demonstrate a strong and active interest in learning, personal and professional growth, as well as the extent to which they support this in the organization.   
Autocratic (Controlling)81%16%–65
measures your leaderships tendency to be overly forceful, aggressive and controlling. It measures the extent to which leaders' use of power is exercised at the expense of people/team development and at the expense of high performance.   
Decisiveness (Achieving)21%85%64
measures leaders' ability to make decisions on time, and the extent to which they are comfortable moving forward in uncertainty.   
Collaborator (Relating)24%87%63
measures the extent to which leaders model and create a culture that encourages collaboration within teams and across the organization.   

Lowest 5 Sub-Categories (smallest gap)
Driven (Controlling)43%25%–18
is a measure of the extent to which leaders are in overdrive. It measures the extent to which leaders, by example, encourage workaholic levels of effort.   
Perfect (Controlling)32%22%–10
measures the extent to which leaders push those around them to attain flawless results and perform to extremely/excessive high standards. This push is often driven by an inordinate need to look good and/or fear of failure.   
Pleasing (Complying)48%38%–10
measures leadership's need to seek others' support and approval in order to feel secure in activing or speaking up. It is a measure of the extent to which harmony is pursued at the expense of achieving results.   
Customer Focus (Systems Awareness)52%60%8
measures the extent to which customer satisfaction is the focus of your business and extent to which customers are invited to shape organizational direction, decisions, and processes.   
Belonging (Complying)38%35%–3
measures leadership's need to play it safe, go along to get along, conform, follow the rules, and meet the expectations of those in authority.   

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Leadership Culture Survey® is a registered trade mark of The Leadership Circle
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