Executive Director & Founder, EEK & SENSE (https://www.glwswellbeing.com/)
Headaches (and their remedies) in pursuit of best practice test development for a new multi-scale measure of leader wellbeing.
Broad consensus in the academic and grey literature depicts wellbeing as an unstable and dynamic construct in comparison to constructs such as aptitude and personality traits which have been the traditional focus points for occupational tests. There is also consensus between academics and practitioners that wellbeing is a largely subjective and multi-dimensional construct. The conceptualisation of wellbeing as a complex psycho-social construct reflective of the interaction between a combination of individual factors, home-work-family conflict factors and organisational factors (job-demands-resources) is becoming increasingly well understood and adopted by organisations, as is the acceptance of wellbeing as an outcome which is variably and only partially under an individual’s direct control or influence and which is therefore subject to determination by the actions (or inactions) of multiple parties.
Is ‘leader wellbeing’ a new or even valid construct? Why develop a new measure for ‘leader wellbeing’? What if existing mental health and general wellbeing scales can provide valid measures of leader wellbeing? What if they can’t? Long before ‘employee wellbeing’ became the burgeoning occupational phenomenon it is today, my business partner and I were curious to answer these perplexing questions. More than curious. Deeply concerned. As executive coaches and leadership development consultants during the post-GFC era, our rooms were filling up with an alarming number of depleted managers, professionals and executives. Although generally too well to seek the services of clinicians, too many leaders were struggling. Once seen, it couldn’t be unseen. As practitioners, it triggered a crisis of conscience within us – we felt unable to continue peddling our wares as coaches and org./occ. psychologists in good faith. Compelled to find a new methodology which would enable us to put leaders’ wellbeing front and centre of individuals’ and organisations’ coaching and leadership development objectives, we unwittingly embarked upon a journey which has continued unabated for almost ten years. Upon reviewing existing measures as being either too clinical and oriented towards diagnosis of mental ill-health; or too generic and broad in their scope as assessments of overall subjective wellbeing; or too narrow in terms of being single sector or construct specific, we felt a new measure specifically of ‘leader wellbeing’ was warranted to ensure successful application with senior professional, managerial and executive populations.
In this session, it will be my privilege to share how we approached the development and evaluation process for a new measure of leader wellbeing by adopting conventional item and scale development methodology to a significant extent; making modifications to standard approaches where required for theoretical and/or practical reasons; pivoting to reflect rapidly changing global, political, economic, societal, health, organisational, environmental and legal norms; accommodating our philosophical stance of leader wellbeing as both an outcome measure and a measure of outcomes; and adhering to key a core set of six design principles. Over the decade of our independent research, we have sincerely attempted as practitioners to navigate and uphold orthodox psychometric test design – but this has not been without its challenges. By sharing how our items, scales, structures, outputs and applications with 5000+ individuals across Australia, UK, Hong Kong, China, New Zealand, Singapore, USA and Canada have been developed and evaluated, the main tensions and paradoxes we encountered will be evident. In so doing, the intention is to constructively provoke a considered discussion about the relevance and currency of traditional best practice approaches to psychometric testing, especially for newer occupational constructs and/or where psychological test construction theories may be lagging digital, legal and commercial considerations.
As the only non-academic invited speaker at the EAWOP 2023 Congress, Audrey is an independent practitioner psychologist with over 30 years of executive coaching, leadership development and organisational design consulting experience, and is increasingly considered as one of the leading experts in corporate wellbeing and sustainable leadership in Australia and globally. Advising many of Australia’s top ASX companies, Federal and State government agencies, her company EEK & SENSE is respected for its impeccable service reputation and its scientific rigour as pioneers in the provision of wellbeing measurement and development systems for individuals, teams and critical talent cohorts. Examples of Audrey and her team’s recent advisory work are available here, in a series of short papers which summarise the impact and relevance of hybrid, gender and psychosocial health regulatory developments for leader wellbeing and for how organisations can continue to improve their approach to leading wellbeing. Audrey has an MA (Hons) in Psychology and Business Studies from The University of Edinburgh, MSc in Psychotherapy Studies from the School of Health and Related Research (S.C.H.A.R.R.) at The University of Sheffield and she is currently undertaking her Professional Doctorate in Occupational Psychology, at Birkbeck College, University of London where she is researching the relationship between workaholism, hybrid work patterns and specific job-demands/resources. She is the former Managing Director of SHL Australia, the founder and CEO of EEK Coaching, founder and Executive Director of EEK & SENSE, co-author of The Motivation Questionnaire (SHL MQ®), and co-author of the Global Leadership Wellbeing Survey (GLWS®).
Social Media link: Audrey McGibbon | LinkedIn