IPA Core – Leadership





About IPA CORE – Leadership

IPA Leadership is an extension of IPA-Core. Through IPA-LEADERSHIP you get the opportunity to assess the candidate’s expected ability to perform LEADERSHIP.

These Leadership Scales are a “TEST IN THE TEST”, where each of the 4 scales is defined with statements from all 12 traits in the IPA Analysis.

The results of the leadership scales should be considered as hypotheses about the candidate’s ability to take on a leadership role.

  1. Many of these abilities lie as untested and unrealized potential in the personality.
  2. A person may have the personal qualifications needed for leadership, but choose to pursue other paths in life. It is therefore crucial to combine the result on the leadership scales with the person’s concrete experiences and work biography, as well as the personal impression you get of the candidate in the subsequent dialog.

Researcher Flemming Olsen talks about IPA Nordic’s Leadership analysis

The idea of INTEGRATION has been central to the development of IPA Analysis from the very beginning. This idea expresses that the quality of what you develop at one level is dependent on the quality of what you have developed at other levels. For example, when you leave the “blue room” and move on to the “red room” in terms of development, it doesn’t mean that you forget everything about knowledge and structure. But it does mean that you no longer primarily start your problem solving in the “blue room”, but rather assess your situation based on the performance demands placed on you, the goals you need to achieve and how you can most effectively achieve your goals operationally with the resources you have available.

Knowledge, systems, control, etc. become means to an end for you and are no longer an end in themselves and the dominant platform from which you experience and view the world. You INTEGRATE the qualities of the “blue room” into the “red room”. And in doing so, you experience and apply the knowledge you have in a new way.

It is this entire personal development journey that the IPA Analysis model illustrates with its INTEGRAL idea and model.

Figuratively speaking, this idea is illustrated by the ability to mentally move between the different “spaces” in the IPA Analysis. The Operational Leader moves freely in the red and blue space. The Motivational Leader moves freely in the blue space (with the opposite sign), the red space and the green space. Finally, the Strategic Leader moves freely between all 4 spaces. Thus, in their personal development and on their path through life, they add new qualities and new insights about themselves and their leadership. And every time you move from one level to another, you take the best of the “old world” with you.

The 4 new leadership scales are built on this idea of integration, and this integration adds new qualities and nuances to leadership with each personal quantum leap. With each evolutionary leap, you grab a new pair of binoculars and point them out to the world to orient yourself and find your way. At the same time, the “old” binoculars are ready for use the moment you deem it useful and necessary.

Leadership trait # 1


This is someone who is primarily operationalized with statements from the blue factors in the IPA Analysis: System Orientation, Detail Orientation, and Security Orientation. The dominant trait is Security, which makes it absolutely crucial for the Specialist to have a clear mental overview of the conditions and structures around her. This is someone who prefers to immerse themselves in professional or analytical tasks, and she prefers to focus on knowledge and content in the given tasks. In most cases, the Specialist has no desire to take on leadership responsibility for others.



As a person, their primary motivation and focus is not on the opportunity to immerse themselves in the professional and analytical content of the tasks. Nor do they have a strong need for structure, security and control.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that knowledge, control and structure can’t be part of the job, but they will direct their energy and attention to other areas of work life.

These may be social and/or managerial areas that are more important to him/her than the purely professional and analytical content of the tasks. For this person, the professional will be a means to achieve other personal goals in life and work.


Is someone who prefers to immerse themselves in professional or analytical tasks, and whose strongest motive in their work life and career is the ability to focus on the knowledge and content of the tasks at hand.

He/she is a meticulous and thorough person who prefers to work in a well-defined and manageable field where there is time and opportunity for immersion and where it is possible to gain a mental overview of the surrounding framework and structures.

This person prefers to be a concrete professional task manager or knowledge provider at an analytical level and in most cases has no desire to take on managerial responsibility for others.

Leadership trait # 2


The OPERATIONAL LEADER is primarily defined with statements from the RED FACTORS of the IPA Core, Confidence, Autonomy and Achievement Motive, as well as statements from the Influence factor. However, the operationalization also includes statements from the Blue factors.

Thus, the Operational Leader is defined as a person who INTEGRATES the attributes from the Blue factors into the attributes of the Red factors, thus creating a new quality in the way the Blue attributes are applied.

The dominant motive is Performance Need, but the Operational Leader is also characterized by a strong Power motive and a desire to influence their surroundings.


This is the person who doesn’t have their primary focus on concrete operational management, but puts their energy elsewhere in their job and work life.

This may be due to a lack of desire to be a leader or because he/she is motivated by tasks that involve more social, complex and abstract managerial issues and where goal achievement and results are further in the future.


It is the person who stands on a strong mental platform of self-confidence, results orientation and a strong desire to be the agenda-setter and the leader who takes responsibility for the efforts of others.

He/she is the person who likes to set concrete goals for others and organizes and manages daily efforts in a clear and visible way.

This is the person who stands firm in the face of adversity and is a realistic and calculating person who emphasizes that things are in place and in order. This is the person who reacts and acts on concrete and visible challenges and goals, and their main motives are dominated by influence, action and results.

If they have the will and ambition, they are already a leader or have the potential to lead people at an operational level.

Leadership trait # 3


This is someone who is primarily defined by statements from the GREEN FACTORS: Trust, Social Understanding, and Extroversion, but also from statements from the Influence and Intuition factors.

This means that the Motivational Leader is someone who INTEGRATES the personal qualities inherent in the will to leadership, as well as Intuition together with a high Social Understanding and a strong social motif.

This is a leader who can navigate difficult social contexts and deal with complex social processes that have a strong element of cooperation, conflict management, and communication.

If this type also has a positive score on Operational Leader, then she can shift her focus between complex social processes to the more concrete and direct goal-oriented elements of the leadership tasks.


This is the person whose primary focus is not on managing complex social processes in a leadership role.

Perhaps he/she is more motivated to solve concrete and operational management tasks, or he/she wants to be able to immerse him/herself in professional or analytical tasks and issues.


This is someone who finds her motivation in a job where one of the main success criteria is for her to inspire and motivate others.

She navigates well in difficult social situations and she can deal with complex social processes where cooperation, conflict management, and communication are key factors.

If she also has a positive score on the Operational Leader, then she is able to shift her focus from complex social processes to a more concrete goal-oriented leadership, depending on the situation.

Furthermore, if the right ambitions and experience are present along with the right amount of self-reflection, then she is someone who can deal with contradictions whilst satisfying conflicting needs among the employees.

She has a desire to push the unit towards the concrete goals and results whilst ensuring that there are social processes that support cohesiveness, meaning, and motivation in the company.

Should all these elements be present, she probably already has a leading position or has the potential to be a leader.

Leadership trait # 4


The STRATEGIC LEADER is defined based on statements from ALL 4 MAIN FACTORS.

This leader doesn’t need systems, details and certainty to navigate the world, and says yes to red, green and yellow statements.

It is the leader who can mentally move freely in all 4 spaces and thus strategically choose which leadership role in the current business context is the most optimal for doing the job and achieving the set goals. The dominant motives are Power combined with Intuition and Performance Needs.

The Strategic Leader is the person who is very strong in both ideas and will and is able to accommodate, understand and communicate the conditions, goals and future development of the entire business area.


This is the person who is motivated and focused on other tasks in their professional life than managing an independent business area with all the demands, pressure and responsibility that comes with it.

Perhaps he/she doesn’t want leadership responsibilities at this level at all, but is more interested in more concrete operational or motivational leadership.

Or they may want to immerse themselves in professional or analytical tasks and issues to a much greater extent.


This is someone who is characterized by innovation and willpower. She has a willingness to take risks, get results, and take on influence. She combines these personal traits with ideas and creativity.

If she also has a positive score on the Operational Leader and the Motivational Leader, then she has the potential to lead an independent business area with everything it takes regarding development and transformation on a strategic level. She is able to accept, understand, and communicate the area’s conditions, goals, and future development.

This is someone who can deal with all aspects of leadership, whether it is the bottom line or the most complex sitiuations. This person has the skills and perhaps the experience to shift between leadership roles with a high level of complexity whilst satisfying contradictory needs among her employees.

If she also has a strong element of self-reflection, she is able to contain all the aspects of good leadership and shift between roles depending on the given context.

Unfold leadership in the IPA 360° Cockpit

leadership skills compared to personality

Find leadership talent in your recruitment or organization.

Use the IPA Core Personality and see which leadership roles the candidate is most likely to take on.

Kontakta IPA Nordic: