Measuring the Efficacy of LIFE Intelligence: 9 Core Leadership Competencies

Evidence-based Leadership Training

LIFE Intelligence is a 9-step program and problem-solving toolkit for complete self, career, and relationship development. The app’s mission is to help users in these 3 core areas of their lives: to manage stress and anxiety, improve work productivity, and build lasting relationships. By using a research-based program, LIFE Intelligence helps with daily decisions, emotions and conflict. However, how do users measure their improvement on self-and-other management skills that traditionally have been difficult to quantify? LIFE is more than just a beautiful app, top-rated by best app designs. Read more to see how we measure the efficacy of LIFE Intelligence.

 

Mission 1: Master your Mind

Understanding and managing your thoughts and feelings is the basis for everything else we do. That’s why the LIFE app begins with becoming adept at catching anxious or self-defeating thoughts and replacing them with more productive behaviors. While it sounds basic, we know of no schools that actually teach these principles. So, sadly, these skills are usually overlooked by the general public. It takes most people years to actually develop these skills through therapy and cognitive training. LIFE’s goal is to make that simpler, cheaper, and easier for the average person to self-study.

LIFE Intelligence: Manage Emotions

Mission 1 Contents & Objectives: 

1.1 Get emotionally granular (develop emotional awareness)

1.2 Retrain your thoughts (learn Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

1.3 Catch cognitive distortions (understand cognitive distortions)

1.4 Escape mental ruts (combat learned helplessness)

1.5 Grow a growth mindset (continually challenge yourself)

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

The efficacy of the content we teach has been proven over years of research. Each piece of content is cited in-app for those most scrutinizing. We’ve merely done the grunt work of combing through and curating research to bring you the best insights. While we know the science is sound, we still want to measure the efficacy of our digital teaching method. So, we try to measure how well a user has picked up the practice of CBT, for example, through utilizing standard skills questionnaires. 

 

One such questionnaire is the CBT Therapy Skills Questionnaire (CBTSQ). This questionnaire was created to identify skills that are predictive of positive CBT treatment outcomes. It’s used by clinicians and patients in real-world settings to  assess patients’ use of the two core CBT skills, Cognitive Restructuring and Behavioral Activation (Jacobs et al., 2011). 

 

LIFE Intelligence: Self Development

Researchers found out that CBTSQ scores increased after CBT Therapy treatment. Also, Cognitive Restructuring (techniques that help people notice and change negative thinking patterns) and Behavioral Activation (working on an activity to move forward when feeling anxious) scores predicted reduction of overall psychiatric symptoms and depression. (Jacobs et al., 2011). Here are a few statements you can use to rate your CBT skills before and after Mission 1.

Rate these on a scale of 1-5 (1 = I don’t do this, 5 = I always do this)

Emotional intelligence and emotional management skills

One of LIFE's unique features is the Mood Wheel, a more detailed version of Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. Through this wheel, you'll find coping, problem-solving, and communication strategies to manage everyday issues and develop emotional awareness. You can rate your own emotional awareness based on questions from the self-awareness and self-regulation aspects of the Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire.

Rate these on a scale of 1-5 (1 = underdeveloped, 5 = excellent)

LIFE Intelligence: Invest in Yourself

Mission 2: Develop Self Awareness

So, you’ve mastered your mind and have good control over your emotions. What’s next? In Mission 2, LIFE helps you develop self awareness and make sense of who you are and where you are going. This involves using principles from Narrative Therapy and the Hero’s Journey, a literary arc that explains how we overcome challenges in life.

Mission 2 Contents & Objectives: 

2.1 Tell your story (narrative therapy and how we explain situations/events)

2.2 Be your own hero (identify identity-shaping events and traits)

2.3 Find a mentor (learn the meaning of mentorship and become your own)

2.4 Develop self-awareness (understand how others see you)

2.5 Lead authentically (develop confidence in owning who you are) 

 

Narrative therapy for depression

Narrative Therapy is often used with adults who experience moderate depression. In such therapy, people are asked to “rewrite” self-narratives in a process organized around three phases: 

 

 

The central goal of this is to understand a problem in its context. It attempts to separate a person’s problem from the person, by focusing more on circumstances, assumptions, effects, and influences (Lopes et al., 2014). In LIFE, we try to do the same, by helping you see your struggles (foes, challenges) as something external that you can conquer. 

 

LIFE Intelligence: Invest in Yourself

Self-awareness for productivity

Another objective of Mission 2 is self-awareness. Having self-awareness is crucial to well-being and mental health. It also has important effects on performance, with reflection and mindfulness encouraging persistence and productivity under stressful situations (Sutton, 2016). By using the Self-Awareness Outcomes Questionnaire (SAOQ), you can check your own level of self-awareness. 

Rate these on a scale of 1-5 (1 = not true at all, 5 = very true)

 

LIFE Intelligence: Start with You

Mission 3: Set & Meet Goals

75% of adult Americans have a habit of making New Year’s Resolutions (Choi, 2020)  However, few of us are ever taught how to properly identify, set, measure, and revise goals. In Mission 3, we provide such training, using project management principles to inform personal/professional goals. Determine your “why” and “how” using Mission 3.

Mission 3 Contents & Objectives: 

3.1 Goal-setting science (learn neuroscience principles for goal motivation)

3.2 Define your why (define your values and find your purpose)

3.3 Process beats procrastination (learn project management tool and agile principles)

3.4 Measure to manage (understand importance of tracking and measurement)

3.5 Essential reflection (learn the benefits of reflecting and recalibrating)

3.6 Helpful & harmful habits (understand conditioning and habit reversal therapy)

 

Project management competencies

Setting goals can be easy, but the determining factor between success and failure is why that goal is important. Your values are the driving force. Mission 3.2 (Define Your Why) talks about the importance of prioritizing your values and goals so that your actions are aligned with purpose.  

 

Managing a project can be very challenging, containing multiple steps. In a study, researchers wanted to identify the competencies and training needs required of project managers. The study found that project management skills involve common competencies across a range of industries and demographics (Birkhead et al., 2000). See how you rank on the core competencies for project management skills. 

Rank these core competencies from not true to very true.

 

LIFE Intelligence: Self Discovery

Mission 4: Minimize Regret, Maximize Time

In the United States, on average, global internet users spent 144 minutes (~2.5 hours) on social media sites every day (Henderson, 2020). At that rate, you would be spending almost 17 hours on social media a week. You might regret using those 17 hours in a week. But, why do we waste so much time on social media or otherwise? How can we make better use of our schedules? Mission 4 teaches you strategies to become more aware of how you spend time, and gives practical skills for better blocking, prioritization, and productivity.

Mission 4 Contents & Objectives:  

4.1 What we regret, and why (understand cognitive dissonance and grow from regret)

4.2 Regret over time (minimize regret when making decisions)

4.3 Become aware of time (arrange and adapt your schedule to maximize time)

4.4 Arrange your time (learn prioritization techniques)

4.5 Adapt to distractions (find focus after intrusions, breaks, annoyances)

4.5 Socializing & social media (turn one of the biggest time sucks into a positive break)

 

Social media and self-esteem

One thing that I’ve learned from Mission 4.6 (Socializing and Social Media) is that being on social media is not always bad. Now, looking on social media platforms for four hours is clearly not how you want to spend your time. However, using social media to connect with a community or messaging a friend can help you have a more meaningful and positive experience; rather than using social media to compare body types or passively scrolling through posts.

One thing I love about the LIFE Intelligence program is that the app really goes into the nuance of situations. Instead of simply saying “stay off social media,” it shows you both the good and bad. By wisely assessing and utilizing your time, you can focus on tasks at hand while still enjoying some of your favorite leisure activities. 

LIFE Intelligence: Personal Development

Time management competencies

How do we measure your use of time? You can use the Time Management Skills Self Assessment Questionnaire (Olmstead, 2010) to see if your time management skills are on point.

 

Rate these on a scale of 1-5 (1 = Never,  5 = Always)

Coping with and learning from regret

While time management is important, what about the time we lost? Do we continue to regret that wasted time and grieve over it? LIFE teaches that practicing self-compassion after a regretful episode promotes personal improvement (Zhang et al., 2106). By using scales like the Self-Compassion scale, you can see how much you personally grow from mistakes. 

 

Rate these on a scale of 0-4 (0 = never, 4 = a lot)

 

LIFE Intelligence: Understand You

Mission 5: Make Difficult Decisions

We encounter difficult decisions all the time. These can range from the daily frustrations of finding a place to eat, to bigger life choices like which major to pursue or which job to take. To help with those tough decisions, Mission 5 provides frameworks from investment management.

 

Mission 5 Contents & Objectives:  

5.1 Catch cognitive biases (understand how mental heuristics affect perception)

5.2 Decision-making process (learn a mathematical framework to make decisions)

5.3 Accounting for uncertainty (learn to draw decision trees and map consequences)

5.4 Let sunk costs lie (logically evaluate go-forward decisions)

5.5 Paradox of choice (see how restricting choice can improve satisfaction) 

5.6 Confirmation bias (be open to candid feedback when asking for advice)

Decision-making competencies

When it comes to difficult decisions, we’re often unaware of the many factors that can influence our choice, from fear of loss to social pressure. The Decision-Making Questionnaire (DMQ) was developed to see what factors affected decision making. They found 10 primary factors that affected decision making (Lizarraga et al., 2009):

 

 

To see if your decision making has improved after Mission 5, try these questions from the Decision-Making Questionnaire:

LIFE Intelligence: Self Care Science

"When I make an important decision, for me, it is essential to..."

 

Decisions can come in many scenarios, whether it is risky or ambiguous. On a scale revolving around decisiveness in different situations, five levels of decisions are given, each with different situations and scenarios. Can you:

Rate these on a scale of 1-5 (1 = I never do this, 5 = I always do this)

 

LIFE Intelligence: Better You

Mission 6: Stress, Social, Holistic Health

Stress is a physiological response to an external trigger, like a big work deadline or a relationship conflict. That’s why calming stress is only the tip of the iceberg. Unless we understand and fix stress triggers, momentary calming only covers up the symptom. Stressors will continue to arise until we learn to take care of our holistic health (our physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs).

Mission 6 Contents & Objectives:  

6.1 The body-brain connection (understand the connect between mental/physical health)

6.2 Two-way street (learn how to sleep, exercise, diet affects anxiety, depression)

6.3 Stress & social support (learn neuroscience of stress contagion and social support)

6.4 Strengthen social connections (understand tactical ways to form friendships)

6.5 Provide social support (see why effective support must match the recipient's style) 

6.6 Secure your self esteem (learn secure vs. insecure self esteem and build confidence)

6.7 Affirm your authenticity (learn the scientific way to affirm the self for performance)

Manage stress and anxiety

One scale to see your stress levels is the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). As one of the most widely used psychological instruments for measuring the perception of stress, the PSS indicates which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful (Cohen et al., 1994). This scale helps us understand how different situations affect our feelings and our perceived stress. Check out a few questions from the PSS.

 

Rate these from a scale of 0-4 (0 = never, 4= very often)

 

LIFE Intelligence: Live Better

Another scale option would be the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS). This clinical assessment is used to measure the three states of depression, anxiety and stress. 

Rate these statements on a scale of 0-3 (0 = this does not apply to me at all, 3 = applies very much to me). "Over the last week..."

Improve self-esteem

LIFE’s Mission 6 discusses how to manage stress alone. But, it also shares how we can support loved ones through stress, and how stress can often be contagious across family and colleagues. So, the second half of Mission 6 discusses social influence and self-esteem. High self esteem can actually come into two categories: secure or fragile. Researchers examined whether verbal defensiveness differs as a function of whether individuals’ high self-esteem is secure or fragile. By using scales like the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, Contingent Self-esteem Scale and others, they assessed participants’ self esteem and whether it was fragile/secure. 

 

They found that individuals whose self-esteem was stable, not contingent, or congruent with high implicit self-esteem exhibited low amounts of verbal defensiveness. On the flip side, verbal defensiveness was considerably higher when individuals’ high self-esteem was unstable, contingent, or paired with discrepant low implicit self-esteem (Kernis et al, 2008). To see if your self esteem is secure or fragile, try to rate these statements. 

 

Rate these from a scale of 0-4 (0 = never, 4= very often)

LIFE Intelligence: Invest in Yourself

Mission 7: Attachment & Relationships

Love might be an innate feeling, but the process of forming lasting bonds isn’t something that just comes naturally: it’s an evolution of perspective through experiences. What attracts us toward those we are romantically interested in, and how can we grow in the same direction together? The psychological theory of Attachment Styles says that our adult attachments are influenced by our childhood relationships. Mission 7 explains what attachment styles are, and how you can change yours.

Mission 7 Contents & Objectives:  

7.1 Choose and attract (learn which traits correlate with successful relationships)

7.2 Attachment theory (understand how childhood relationships affect adults)

7.3 Attachment styles in action (learn to become more secure in relationships)

7.4 Learn to love  (develop empathy, listening skills, supportive replies)

7.5 Close connections (improve emotional attunement others for intimacy)

 

Test your attachment style

One scale to self-report your attachment style is the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR) Questionnaire. In this questionnaire, Avoidant individuals find discomfort with intimacy and seek independence, whereas Anxious individuals tend to fear rejection and abandonment (Fraley et al., 2000). This scale is used to identify your “status quo” style in intimate relationships, though your style is malleable with work. Find out how secure your attachment style is through these questions:

 

Rate these statements on a scale of 1-7 (1=strongly disagree, 1=strongly agree)

 

Another scale to see your attachment style is the Adult Attachment Scale (AAS). By categorizing attachment style as secure, anxious and avoidant, participants can see how they interact with their partner or friends.

To see if you are secure, anxious or avoidant, rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 (1 = not true at all, 5 = very true) *S=Secure, Ax= Anxious, Av= (Avoidant)

LIFE Intelligence: Personal Development

Mission 8: Conflict & Communication

Arguments and conflicts are inevitable in both professional and personal relationships. In Mission 8, we focus on communicating effectively and navigating conflict.

Mission 8 Contents & Objectives: 

8.1 The Four Horsemen (avoid four “relationship ruining” ways to fight) 

8.2 Solve what you can (gain conflict resolution frameworks for disagreements)

8.3 Making up matters (learn post-conflict relationship repair strategies)

8.4 Resolve and restore (understand how to rebuild trust after conflict)

Manage conflicts

One scale that can be used for conflict management is the Conflict Management Formative Questionnaire. The scale measures three essential components of conflict management:

  1. Understand your natural response to conflict. 
  2. Understand the context of the conflict, including the perspectives of all involved. 
  3. Apply a conflict management approach that is appropriate to the situation.


From these three components, participants can develop different approaches to conflict based on their understanding of the context and perspectives of all involved (Gauman et al., 2018). 

Here are some questions you can answer to better understand your conflict resolution abilities.

Rate these statements on a scale of 1-5  (1 = very true, 5 = not true at all)

Manage workplace conflicts

Conflicts in the workplace are also very common, as they can create functional or dysfunctional consequences resulting in hurt relationships. The Organization Communication Conflict Instrument (OCCI) was developed to assess conflict strategies in work environments, as there were not many instruments available at the time the OCCI was developed. The OCCI was able to pick up on verbal and nonverbal tactics, as well as being sensitive to situational influences on conflict behaviors (Wilson et al, 1988). Try out some questions from the OCCI below.

Rate these statements on a scale of 1-7 (1 = Always, 7 = Never)

LIFE Intelligence: Live Better


Mission 9: Leadership & Influence

At LIFE, we believe that leadership training shouldn’t be limited to the 1%. Rather, it’s for the 100% of us whose words, actions and emotions affect those around us daily. By the end of LIFE’s 9 missions, you start to realize that the entire program is really a leadership program. An effective leader needs the complete self-and-other management skills that LIFE teaches, from emotional intelligence to decision-making and relationship-building. The final mission, Mission 9, ties the whole program together by talking about leadership in a more traditional sense. It shows us how to best present ourselves and motivate a team.

Mission 9 Contents & Objectives:  

9.1 Communication styles (develop empathy for diverse voices)

9.2 Loved or feared? (understand the importance of warmth and competence)

9.3 Emotional Intelligence (learn how Team EI affects performance, retention, culture)

9.4 Stand up To social influence (lead daily by speaking up for what’s right)

 

The Transformational Leadership Questionnaire (TLQ-LGV) is positively correlated with: 

The questionnaire measures participants’ qualities as they relate to transformational leadership (Metcalfe et al., 2000). See how much you agree with the statements below to see your transformational leadership qualities.

Rate these on a scale of 1-5 (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree)

Ready to improve your skills in each of these 9 leadership competencies? Download LIFE Intelligence today for you or your team, and start your journey of self improvement. A self therapy app, productivity app, and leadership training tool in one, use LIFE to improve every aspect of yours.

David Lee
January 30, 2021

References

Jacobs, K. L., Christopher, M. S., Neuhaus, E. C. (2011). Development and Validation of the Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Skills Questionnaire. Behavior Modification, 35(6), 595-618.

Bell, L. V., Cornish, P., Flusk, D., Garland, S. N., Rash, J. A. (2020). The INternet ThERapy for deprESsion Trial (INTEREST): protocol for a patient-preference, randomised controlled feasibility trial comparing iACT, iCBT and attention control among individuals with comorbid chronic pain and depression. BMJ Open.

Lopes, R. T., Gonçalves, M. M., Machado, P. P., Sinai, D., Bento, T., Salgado, J. (2014) Narrative Therapy vs. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for moderate depression: Empirical evidence from a controlled clinical trial. Psychotherapy Research, 24(6), 662-674. 

Sutton A. (2016). Measuring the Effects of Self-Awareness: Construction of the Self-Awareness Outcomes Questionnaire. Europe's journal of psychology, 12(4), 645–658.

Birkhead, M., Sutherland, M., Maxwell, T. (2000). Core competencies required of project managers, South African Journal of Business Management, 31(3), 99-105.

Cohen, S., Williamson, G. (1994). Perceived Stress in a Probability Sample of the United States. The Social Psychology of Health.

Olmstead, J. W. (2010). Effective Time Management Skills & Practices: Self Assessment Questionnaire.

Zhang, J. W., Chen, S. (2016). Self-Compassion Promotes Personal Improvement From Regret Experiences via Acceptance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(2), 244-258.

Lizarragaa, M. A., Baquedanoa, M. T., Olivera, M. A., Closas, A. (2009). Development and Validation of a Decision-Making Questionnaire. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling. 37(3), 357-373.

Lovibond, S.H. & Lovibond, P.F. (1995). Manual for the Depression Anxiety & Stress Scales. (2nd Ed.)Sydney: Psychology Foundation

Fraley, R. C., Waller, N. G., & Brennan, K. A. (2000). An item-response theory analysis of self-report measures of adult attachment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 350-365.

Collins, N. L., & Read, S. J. (1990). Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(4), 644-663.

Kernis, M. H., Lakey, C. E., Heppner, W. L. (2008). Secure Versus Fragile High Self-Esteem as a Predictor of Verbal Defensiveness: Converging Findings Across Three Different Markers. Journal of Personality. 76(3). 

Gaumer, E., Noonan, P. M. (2018). In the Skills that Matter: Teaching Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Competencies in any classroom.  (183-184).

Wilson, S. R., & Waltman, M. S. (1988). Assessing the Putnam-Wilson Organizational Communication Conflict Instrument (OCCI). Management Communication Quarterly, 1(3), 367–388.

Alban-Metcalfe, R. J., Alimo-Metcalfe, B. (2000). A convergent and discriminant validation study. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. 21, 280-296.

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