Using the Saville Wave to measure and develop Leadership Impact

The Saville Wave Professional Styles questionnaire is an award-winning measure of workplace behavior (see our recent article for a more detailed discussion of the Wave). One of its key benefits to end-users is to help predict leadership success, and in turn, inform the development of leadership across organizations.

An important report in this regard is the Saville Wave Leadership Impact report. Derived from the Wave Professional Styles questionnaire, the Leadership Impact report offers users insight into a candidate’s likely behavior along three axes of leadership impact, namely: Professional, people, and pioneering leadership.

In this article, we discuss the growing criticality of leadership impact for organizations before turning to the key uses and benefits of this vital report.

Why leadership impact matters

According to a recent survey conducted by Apollo Technical, 83% of businesses say that it is important to develop leaders at all levels, yet less than 5% of companies have implemented leadership development across all levels.

This points to the uncomfortable truth that real leadership talent is a rare commodity. Finding it in your talent pool is difficult and failing to nurture it once found risks losing such talent. Successful organizations need leaders who can create an impact for both teams and individuals, while still being aligned with organizational strategy.

In a similar vein, a survey by GoRemotely found that 69% of Millennials believe that there is a current lack of leadership development in their organizations. In addition, 71% of Millennial workers reported that they will leave their job in the next two or three years if their leadership skills are not developed.

This highlights the importance of identifying leadership talent early, building pipelines and creating career pathways to retain talent and potential.

The Saville Leadership Impact model can help identify the type of impact that leaders need to have in the future and focus their development in the right places. 

The model uses three main facets of leadership: Professional, People, and Pioneering. 

The three P’s of leadership impact

High-impact leaders can leverage the three key domains of leadership:

  • Professional Impact: professional leaders are effective at leading specialist teams, focusing on building a strong reputation, and providing technical guidance and insights.
  • People Impact: people-orientated leaders are effective at managing a wide range of people across teams, functions, and geographies.
  • Pioneering Impact: pioneering leaders are effective at identifying new opportunities in the marketplace, driving change and transformation, and achieving growth.

In addition to reporting on the three P’s of leadership impact above, the Saville Leadership Impact report details a candidate’s behavior across nine key areas of impact (e.g. service delivery, managed risk, expert reputation, organizational commitment, successful teams, communication, new markets, organizational transformation, organizational growth).

Multiple uses

The Saville Leadership Impact report can be used for a multitude of objectives within organizations:

  • Identifying, selecting and developing exceptional leaders.
  • Gaining greater depth of insight into leadership behavior.
  • Delivering relevant, positive and uplifting performance feedback.
  • Bridging the gap between behaviors and outcomes.
  • Improving self-reflection and leadership performance

Clients who use the Leadership Impact report can leverage the predictive power of the Saville Wave to successfully appoint executive hires, reducing the risks associated with high-stakes selection, and increasing the odds of placing high-impact leaders in the most essential roles.

By using group analytics, prepared by our TTS research team, clients can use leadership impact data to:

  • Benchmark the effectiveness of their senior leadership teams,
  • Review the caliber of leadership candidates,
  • Target leadership development in a scientific, objective manner,
  • Manage their leadership succession pipeline effectively.

Final thoughts

Research conducted by Saville on leadership impact shows that the three areas of leadership impact and their nine impact areas are critical for running a successful organization.

However, not all leaders can be expected to be strong across all impact areas. Often, leaders are more likely to develop four or five of the nine impact areas.

But as long as the nine areas of impact are covered by most of an organization’s leaders, success is far more likely.

If employers also ensure that there is sufficient breadth and diversity in their leadership pipeline (again, an area that can be predicted and measured by the Saville Wave Leadership Impact report), developing a robust leadership bench is virtually assured.

By using the Impact report as an individual tool for leadership development, conversations about what is required of leaders in the future can be more effective. In turn, development efforts can then be focused on areas that can deliver the most valuable impact.

If you would like to know more about how the Saville Wave Leadership Impact report can help your leadership pipeline, selection, and development efforts, why not connect with us at


Mullaney, H., & Williams, R. (2022). Leadership Lessons Part 2 – Where Should You be Focusing in 2022?. Retrieved from: