When we ask members of a team who THEY want as their leader, we hear a very consistent set of descriptors: someone who is trustworthy, authentic and respectful; listens to their point of view; truly values them as human beings; has good business savvy; and admits mistakes. Furthermore, they want a leader who allows them to make mistakes and helps them grow. In other words, most individuals seek great emotional intelligence, as well as business intelligence, in a leader.
Chances are, however, that when your board and other executives think about candidates who would make the next, best CEO of your organization, a very different profile emerges.
The people at Hogan Assessments released research that found that when actually choosing individuals to BE our CEOs, we tend to choose individuals who are more confident, fearless, competitive, high-achieving, feedback-resistant, calm under pressure and energetic than the average person. Those characteristics absent emotional intelligence may seem leader-like, but produce leaders who might actually be, well—jerks. And the research goes on to say that jerks do not tend to be effective CEOs.
But, really, how many CEOs think of themselves as jerks or get up in the morning intending to be ineffective? Not many. The CEOs I coach are likeable, caring and bright people, but I am also seeing them when they are most honest, vulnerable and open. Here are some signs we look for to help determine if CEOs are seen as ineffective leaders living in blissful denial:
- Tend to explain (sometimes multiple times) why their perspective is correct and the other’s perspective is incorrect; believe if only others would listen to their perspective, they would understand.
- State their own point of view and debate with others BEFORE assuring that they really understand the other’s perspective.
- Fail to check in with important and relevant constituents BEFORE making decisions and taking action on initiatives they own; believe they already understand/anticipate impacts of decisions/actions on other functions.
- Have no time to connect personally with people—there is just too much to do.
- Tend to forget or put off casual promises and commitments made to others when their own priorities conflict.
If you are unwilling to risk the possibility that you are an ineffective leader living in blissful denial, send me an email, we’ll chat!