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In last week’s blog, I wrote about the critical competencies that Executive Leadership Team members should possess.  Today, I will review those competencies and describe how CEOs and Boards can more reliably predict which leaders have them.

Blending recent research results from two sources I trust (Hogan Assessments and McKinsey Consulting), here are the most critical competencies for leaders:

  1. Equal parts confidence, competence AND humility
  2. Sound decision-making/Judgment AND open-mindedness
  3. Focus on Results
  4. Trustworthy/Sensitivity to others
  5. The ability to envision the future of the organization and inspire others to WANT to go there

None of these are particularly surprising.  Most leaders I know truly believe they have most, if not all these competencies.  However, if you work with some of these folks long enough—or ask the direct reports or peers of these individuals–you sometimes uncover a different story.  For example, what at first looks like confidence, could be arrogance.  Or, what at first appears to be an ambitious drive for results, can be micromanagement.

What gives?  First, leaders can “overdo” strengths to the point where they become weaknesses. Secondly, leaders may often act in one way, but stress brings out a different behavior (what Hogan Assessment refers to as the “dark sides”).  Many leaders believe that they self-manage their “dark sides” but awareness and self-management are sometimes incomplete.  That is all too human.  A third reason, however, is that we perceive a leader is one way but we have simply “read them wrong”.  That is, good leadership can sometimes be in the “eye of the beholder” AND the beholder is biased.

An individual’s behaviors certainly provide clues to their underlying personality, but what we see and how we make sense of what we see is also rooted in OUR own personality.  As Anais Nin once said, “We don’t see the world at it is, we see the world as we are”.

The good news is, as our friends at Hogan Assessment say, there is an underlying SCIENCE of PERSONALITY that if studied and understood (aside from our own biases and popular culture ideas) can be measured and predicted.  If you use the right tools, your predictions about others’ tendencies can be revealed more reliably. Here at The Bailey Group, we use the Hogan Suite of Assessments (and others) to predict–reliably and with accuracy–the tendencies of leaders to be what leaders really need to be.

How do we do that?  As I’ve said, the competencies listed above are rooted in personality.  And personality can be understood and analyzed to predict which leaders are more likely to behave as we need them to.  While we can’t necessarily “see” one’s underlying personality, there are tools that can reliably and accurately tell us how someone will really show up as a leader—not how they SAY they will, or not as others merely predict.

Organizations must first take the time to understand what they REALLY need in leaders.  Then, they need to partner with the personality experts who can help them determine if leaders will really show up like that–and to what extent.  If so, their odds of choosing great leaders increase.

If you are considering a hire from outside your organization, you do not have to rely on interviews, the biased judgment of others, or on references to get a read on a leader you don’t know.  If you are considering an internal hire, you can predict if they have the right stuff for the job they are GOING to do, not just the job they currently do.

I would love to talk more with you about using the Science of Personality to decrease the uncertainty in hiring and increase your odds of getting the right leaders on the bus.  Send me an email to begin a conversation!

You Worked Hard To Reach The Top

You Worked Hard To Reach The Top

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