Life Styles Inventory

The Life Styles Inventory™  is an individual development tool that uses both self-assessment and colleague feedback to identify employees’ thinking and behavioral styles.

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The Life Styles Inventory™ is an individual development tool that uses both self-assessment and colleague feedback to identify employees’ thinking and behavioral styles.

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Research and development by Robert A. Cooke, Ph.D. and J. Clayton Lafferty, Ph.D.

The Life Styles Inventory™ (LSI) is an individual development tool that uses both self assessment and colleague feedback to identify employees’ thinking and behavioral styles. By providing insights into their strengths and areas for development, it empowers them to embark on their own journeys to being better at, and enjoying more, everything they do.

Designed for managers, leaders, and those in professional and technical roles, the LSI has already helped millions of people to understand and change the way they think and behave. It has also been referenced in numerous management and psychology books and journals, newspapers, and magazines.


Developed by Dr. J. Clayton Lafferty back in the 1970s, the Life Styles Inventory™ (LSI) measures 12 specific styles or patterns of thinking and behaving that can either contribute to or detract from personal effectiveness. The 12 styles measured by the LSI are organized into three clusters:

  • Constructive, which includes Achievement, Self-Actualizing, Humanistic-Encouraging, and Affiliative thinking styles.
  • Passive/Defensive, which includes Approval, Conventional, Dependent, and Avoidance styles.
  • Aggressive/Defensive, which includes Oppositional, Power, Competitive, and Perfectionistic thinking styles.

Research has shown that the styles measured by the LSI™ are related to many important outcomes, including job performance, problem-solving effectiveness, quality of interpersonal relations, salary, organizational level, individual health and well-being, and impact on organizational culture.

Now, four decades later, Dr. Robert Cooke has developed the Item-Level Feedback (ILF) report to provide a deeper understanding of the behavioral styles measured by the LSI and to pinpoint changes that can lead to these and other desired outcomes.


The LSI has two parts:

  1. The LSI 1 is a self-assessment of one’s thinking styles and self-concept and consists of 240 items.
  2. The LSI 2 is completed by up to twelve associates and taps others’ perceptions along the same 240 items

The inventories take about 20-30 minutes to complete. Results of the LSI 1 and the LSI 2 are plotted on the Human Synergistics Circumplex. These profiles enable individuals to quickly identify Defensive styles to eliminate and Constructive styles to accentuate. The Item Level Feedback (ILF) report provides detailed item-by-item feedback that offers otherwise unavailable information on the specific behaviors on which they should focus to strengthen
or reduce the styles they’ve targeted.

Results are compared to those for 14,000 individuals in our new international norming data set. To complement the ILF, additional results (self-reports and descriptions by others) at the style level are presented in a new Summary Grid to identify confirmed strengths, unrecognized strengths, stumbling blocks, and blind spots. The results and any recommendations are then presented to the individual in a comprehensive, confidential report. A consultant or accredited practitioner guides them through the findings and helps them to develop a strategy to change the way they think and therefore behave.

The LSI surveys are available online and on almost any digital device, as well as in hard copy.


The LSI can be used as a coaching or self-development tool to:

  • Enhance self-understanding by promoting reflection on and conversations about one’s values, beliefs, and assumptions.
  • Heighten awareness of untapped or underdeveloped aspects of thinking and behaviour.
  • Strengthen leadership capabilities.
  • Sharpen negotiation, time management, problem-solving, and/or interpersonal skills.
  • Improve individual health and well-being.

For system-wide interventions, the inventory can be used as a tool for:

  • Illustrating and discussing the effects of different personal styles
  • Evaluating current approaches to motivation and coaching
  • Promoting more effective management and leadership strategies by addressing systemic deficiencies
  • Moving toward a more positive and Constructive interpersonal climate Organizational development initiatives can be further guided by our new LSI Composite Reports and Comparative Profiles that present group-level results and the outcomes attained by the more Constructive and Defensive members of the group or organization.


The LSI profiles shown here illustrate some of the differences between successful and unsuccessful managers. Figure 1 is that of a successful Chairman of the Board of a profitable and innovative public utility company. The extensions at the top of this profile indicate a predominantly Constructive orientation, particularly in the directions of Self-Actualizing and Achievement.

In contrast, Figure 2 is a composite of three corporate presidents who failed in their jobs. The extensions toward the bottom of this profile indicate strong Defensive orientations, particularly in the directions of the Avoidance, Oppositional, Power, and Perfectionistic styles.


The Summary Grid presents blind spots, confirmed strengths, unrecognized strengths, and stumbling blocks. Blind Spots: Others disagree with Self that a Constructive style is strong or a Defensive style is weak Confirmed Strengths: Self and Others Agree that a Constructive style is strong or a Defensive style is weak Unrecognized Strengths: Others Disagree with Self that a Constructive style is weak or a Defensive style is strong Stumbling Blocks: Self and Others Agree that a Constructive style is weak or a Defensive style is strong Styles with extreme scores along which Self and Others either strongly agree or disagree, if any, fall in the dark gray cells near the corners. These styles often warrant the greatest analysis and attention by individuals and their coaches.


The Item-by-Item tables list by style the scores for the LSI items. The Self-Description tables list the individual’s own responses to the items associated with each style in order of the strength of their relationship to effectiveness (as reported by LSI 2 Description-by-Others respondents). The Description-by-Others Item-by-Item tables reflect others’ perceptions of the individual. Item scores can range from 0.00 (essentially unlike you) to 2.00 (like you most of the time). Difference scores (Δs) are provided based on the individual’s scores minus the median scores for the norming group. Positive Δs indicate that the word or phrase is more like the individual than the average person, which, for the Defensive styles, indicate a target for change. Negative Δs for Constructive items indicate that they are less like the individual and thus the behaviors described are potential targets for development.


The LSI will help to get your team thinking and behaving to their full potential and contributing to your success as a business and an employer of choice. It’s particularly valuable for helping individuals to:

  • discover new ways of thinking and behaving
  • improve their effectiveness in their roles
  • cope better with stress, pressure, and change
  • achieve self-set goals
  • apply more flexible and creative thinking
  • improve their interpersonal relationships
  • increase their personal effectiveness


The LSI™ is used and facilitated exclusively by people who have been prepared and accredited in its administration and interpretation. We offer two options:

1. A qualified and experienced consultant can help you to use the LSITM and implement the cultural changes you seek. Simply contact us to get connected with a consultant who’s right for the organization.

2. The entire change process can be led internally in your organization by arranging LSI™ accreditation for one or more change team members. This will ensure they have the skills to administer the LSI™ and identify appropriate levers to achieve long-term culture change. To get started, register for an accreditation workshop.

Certification is mandatory for this product.

The LSI requires accreditation via the General Certification Workshop before materials can be purchased.





Life Style Inventory® is a registered trademark of Human Synergistics, Inc.

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The Life Styles Inventory™  is an individual development tool that uses both self-assessment and colleague feedback to identify employees’ thinking and behavioral styles.

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