Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor in Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies; Under the Supervision of Professor Richard J. Torraco
Lincoln, Nebraska: November, 2009
Copyright (c) 2009 Michael J. McDonald


This study proposed that the level of self-awareness possessed by a leader has a direct relationship with the engagement level of the team he or she leads. A quantitative approach using the results of self-other leadership ratings and team engagement ratings were examined to explain employee engagement through perceptions of leadership awareness.

By understanding leadership through the integration of two instruments, one designed to measure seven specific demands of leadership (the L7 instrument) and another to measure employee engagement on twelve dimensions (the Q12 instrument), this study explored the relationship between leader self-awareness and the effect of that awareness on performance as understood by employee engagement.

The examination of leader self-awareness and team engagement was conducted by comparing the proximity of leadership ratings provided by leaders, their superiors, their peers, and their team to each other, and examining the relationship of the overall leadership ratings alignment to the levels of engagement expressed by team members.

The study contributes to the literature on self-other leadership ratings by using a large and diverse leader-member sample in an area of research that often lacks both, by revealing relationships among leader self-awareness, self-other agreement, and employee engagement, and by offering key questions for further research about the interactions between leader self-awareness and work attitudes and outcomes.

Adviser: Richard J. Torraco, Ph.D.