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How to Deal with a Jerk Boss

  
  
  

Deal with a jerk resized 600
“The Jerk Store called, and they’re running out of you.” - George Costanza (1997)

Seinfeld fans will recall George’s ill-fated attempt to deliver the perfect comeback to a smart-ass coworker. Rather than trying to outdo them, the key to dealing with jerks, or any other kind of difficult manager, is to understand them.

“Bosses are just like any other human: unique but predictable,” said Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, vice president of Research and Innovation at Hogan. “The best way to manage your manager is to figure out who they are, what they want, and why they do what they do. Then, adjust your behavior to fit their personality.” For example,

  • Is your boss impulsive? Impulsive bosses are driven by feeling rather than reason, so tune into their moods. Share your ideas when they are already feeling excited.
  • Is your boss creative? Creative bosses jump from one idea to the next, so avoid any discussion of admin details, bureaucratic processes, and rules. Admire their ideas and show interest in their eccentric suggestions.

Check out more personality types and what you can do to counteract the jerk in your boss in our new eBook So, Your Boss is a Jerk.

TED@NYC: The Power of Negative Thinking

  
  
  

Bookstore self-help sections are laden with volumes telling us to lean in, act confident, or fake it until we make it. Although research shows there are benefits to glass-half-full thinking, it also links overconfidence to outcomes ranging from increased traffic accidents to the recent financial crisis.

In his 5-minute talk at TED@NYC, Hogan Vice President of Research and Innovation Dr. Tomas Chamorro urges the audience to take a more self-aware approach to confidence, and to embrace the power of negative thinking.

Late Night Succession Planning

  
  
  

Nope, I’m not talking about brewing a pot of coffee and plotting out the future of your organization in the wee hours of the morning. When “Late Show” host David Letterman announced he was retiring after more than 32 years on the air, network executives moved quickly to announce his replacement, reportedly spurred by concerns over meetings with advertisers next month.

In the post-Conan era of late-night host selection, I imagine CBS executives put more than a few days of thought into who would fill Letterman’s shoes. However, the network’s choice, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, brings up a familiar problem in succession planning: whether it is better to promote from within or introduce a fresh face.

The arguments for Colbert are pretty clear: His show, “The Colbert Report”, which airs at 11:30 p.m., could bring with him tremendous viewership in key 18-49 demographics, which CBS badly needs to compete with NBC’s new late-night juggernaut, Jimmy Fallon. And, the argument has been made that in order to ultimately beat “The Tonight Show”,  CBS will have to completely overhaul its late-night format. Finally, Craig Ferguson, Letterman’s one-time protégé, has consistently low ratings in the 12:30 a.m. testing ground (CBS is reportedly replacing Ferguson with E! talk show host Chelsea Handler).

On the other hand, as one writer put it, the Colbert with which people are familiar is the ‘Colbert’ in quotation marks – a faux-conservative talk show host. Trying to transition his send-up of Bill O’Reilly to an hour-long network show would be disastrous, but abandoning it all together could mean alienating a significant portion of his current audience.

Although we can’t claim expertise in late-night host selection, in the corporate world, outside hires face tremendous challenges, and studies show that more than half fail, many within the first 18 months on the job.

For more on succession planning, check out our free ebook, From Potential to Performance.

Women in Leadership Series: Part I

  
  
  

The conversation around women in leadership is not new, yet we find the topic continues to be at the forefront of leadership discussions. Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic recently did a blog post regarding The Under-Representation of Women in Leadership which highlighted organizations inability to distinguish competence from confidence. I tend to agree with Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic around the debate for women to “lean in” and adopt the dysfunctional characteristics we find to be prevalent in our male leaders. This concept only perpetuates the issue of choosing arrogance over humility in our leadership; right or wrong.

Hogan has defined leadership as the ability to build and maintain a high-performing team that beats the competition. To build a high-performing team, the leader must be someone the team is willing to follow. This allows us to assess performance with respect to the overall team performance. Taking this view on leadership and the recently released paper The Case for Investing in Women by the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), we find there are some key advantages to women in leadership roles.

According to The Case for Investing in Women, having a priority on hiring women manifests higher organizational and financial performance. In particular, the following outcomes have been noted (see article for full details):

  • Fortune 500 companies with at least three women directors saw:
    • Return on invested capital increased by at least 66%
    • Return on sales increase by at least 42%
    • Average return on equity increase by at least 53%

These and other data points in the report provide compelling information concerning the advantages of women in leadership. Interestingly, as of 2010, women held 47 percent of the total U.S. labors force (United States Department of Labor), however, when it comes to women in CEO positions the numbers are dismal. Women represent 4.6% of the Fortune 500 CEO positions (Catalyst 2014).

CEO Company Rank
Mary Barra General Motors 7
Meg Whitman Hewlett Packard 15
Virginia Rometty IBM 20
Patricia A. Woertz Archer Daniels Midland Company 27
Indra K. Nooyi PepsiCo, Inc 43
Marillyn Hewson Lockheed Martin 59
Ellen J. Kullman DuPont 72
Irene B. Rosenfeld Mondelez International 88
Phebe Novakovic General Dynamics 98
Carol M. Meyrowitz The TJX Companies, Inc. 115
Ursula M. Burns Xerox Corporation 131
Lynn J. Good Duke Energy 145
Deanna M. Mulligan Guardian 238
Sheri S. McCoy Avon Products Inc. 252
Debra L. Reed Sempra Energy 281
Denise M. Morrison Campbell Soup 338
Heather Bresch Mylan 374
Ilene Gordon Ingredion Incorporated 386
Jacqueline Hinman CH2M Hill 415
Kathleen M. Mazzarella Graybar Electric 465
Gracia C. Martore Gannett 467
Mary Wilderotter Frontier Communications 492
Marissa Mayer Yahoo 494

If the research strongly suggests the need for women in leadership positions, then where are they? Lately, we have received questions around the lack of upward movement of women into executive levels. Organizations with a targeted approach and programs created to provide development opportunities for women to move into Executive ranks are finding their efforts moving slowly. Leadership programs, along with mentorships, job previews, and peer support groups to guide and educate women have been established within many companies and, yet, organizations find themselves with little movement among their female population. Organizations are starting to ask themselves, why?

To tackle this topic, my colleagues, Morgan Meister and Jennifer Lowe will explore how we got to this point, what organizations are doing right and wrong, and how to invest in future women leaders.

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Selection in the Real World

  
  
  

Jeans resized 600I was recently invited to guest-lecture in an undergraduate Personnel Psychology class. I was quick to accept as this particular professor started me down the I/O path that I’m still enjoying today. I started thinking about what I could tell undergraduate students that would be valuable to them both in and out of the classroom, and I landed on the topic of employee selection. Hiring has become so much more complex since I sat in a BSU classroom, and it really hasn’t been that long.

In many companies employee selection is marked by a few common practices:

1. It begins with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
Large multinational corporations use Applicant Tracking Systems to efficiently gather information about large numbers of candidates, evaluate minimum qualifications, and screen out candidates who do not meet basic job requirements. This technology often dictates the kind of information that candidates provide as well as the order and format in which the information is submitted. This can lead to a lengthy application process, which may leave candidates feeling frustrated and poorly-represented by the information solicited. These feelings are likely exacerbated if the individual fails to meet the minimum qualifications and is immediately eliminated from the selection process.

2. It’s not what you know, it’s who you are.
A recent Hyper Island study found that 78% of 500 leaders and employees surveyed rated “personality” as the most desirable employee characteristic, followed by “cultural alignment” at 53%, and “skill set” at only 39%. It is no longer enough to have the right education or previous experience. Candidates must also be able to demonstrate critical individual attributes, such as drive, teamwork, and innovation.

3. You may not be applying for just one job.
When applying for a given position, candidates’ qualifications may be evaluated in terms of the job for which they are applying as well as more broadly. Organizations may apply candidate information to multiple job profiles to determine not only if the individual should be hired, but also where he/she should be placed. In addition, given the challenges associated with finding and retaining high-quality talent, employers are increasingly considering candidates’ long-term potential. Proctor & Gamble’s Careers site offers the tag line “We hire the person, not the position”. They state that they hire not just for a given position, but with the expectation that each candidate should have the potential to grow in the company.

4. Just like a good pair of jeans, it’s all about fit.
Organizations are largely defined by their unique values and culture. To ensure continued success it is critical that they hire employees who fit with that culture and can embody those values. Candidates who demonstrate a high level of aptitude for the job, and perhaps even show leadership potential, may not be hired due to a lack of fit. Employers know that employees who are not a good match for the organizational culture may perform well in the short-term but be difficult to retain.

What common selection practices have you seen in the past? What trends do you see building in talent acquisition?

Can Spite Be Productive?

  
  
  

Society generally views spitefulness as a purely negative characteristic – there are hundreds of parables to this effect dating to the beginning of recorded history. However, an article in the New York Times recently described findings from several studies showing the bright side of spitefulness. Here are some highlights: 

  • Spitefulness tends to come with elevated levels of aggression, psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.
  • Men tend to be more spiteful than women and young people more than old.
  • Stressful circumstances – partisan politics and divorce among them – can provoke spiteful outbursts from otherwise temperate people.
  • According to anthropologist Frank Marlowe, what looks like spite is often a matter of image-making. “If you get a reputation as someone not to mess with and nobody messes with you going forward, then it was well worth the cost.”

Spitefulness isn’t something Hogan measures directly – although our research department told me spitefulness would possibly correlate with the Hogan Development Survey Skeptical, Bold, Leisurely and Mischievous scales – but the article was an excellent illustration of one of our core concepts; that there is no such thing as a purely negative (or positive) personality characteristic.

Intrigued? Check out how your greatest strength can become your biggest weakness here.

Hogan Distributor Profile: Sierra Alta

  
  
  

India is mysterious, intriguing and vast. So it is no surprise that countless talent management firms have gotten lost navigating the folds of this complex and ever changing market. Thus it is with great delight the Hogan Global Alliances Network can say we have Sierra Alta at helm of the region’s distribution channels. With managing partners Dr. Pradnya Parasher and Rahul Baswani bringing a combined 60 years of psychology and business expertise, we are overwhelmed by their team’s ability to consistently grow and expand the Hogan brand throughout the Asian subcontinent since 2010.

Like many of our distribution partners, one of the keys to their achievement is conducting regular certification workshops, consistently targeting the same major Indian and Sri Lankan cities on an annual cycle. “Keeping a consistent rotation of workshops provides us with a perfectly soft but proactive way to market Hogan Assessments as well as Sierra Alta’s breadth of talent management capabilities,” notes Rahul. “We are able to build on these training opportunities with additional educational services, such as our regularly scheduled Hogan Graduate Club meetings, and Best Practice sharing events.”

Another, lesser known secret to Sierra Alta’s continuously rising success is leveraging Hogan’s global network of multinational consulting partners. “We take pride in partnering with organizations such as Right Management and Aon Hewitt,” says Dr. Parasher. By supporting the Indian business units of these well established players in the market to deliver quality consulting around the Hogan instruments and reports, Sierra Alta has developed invaluable partnerships which they can call upon when their own clients require support on projects that go far beyond their current capacity. “We never have to worry about responding to our clients’ ever growing needs,” she adds.

“But this wouldn’t be possible without the experiences that so many other distributors around the world are willing to generously share; Mobley Group Pacific in Greater China, A&D Resources in Denmark, and Peter Berry Consultancy in Australia, just to name a few,” Rahul explains. “The Global Alliances Network is a great family and we look forward to partnering with each and every one of them on international projects.”

With this positive attitude and willingness to collaborate across boundaries, Sierra Alta in India is a perfect embodiment of what we like to call a ‘Truly Global Hogan.’

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Ask @DrTCP: The under-representation of women in leadership

  
  
  

There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management and entrepreneurship, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes, that prevents women from accessing the ranks of power. But what if all of us are missing the bigger picture? We asked Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic.

What do you think is the cause for the under-representation of women in management?

In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because people commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women.

Do men actually have an advantage over women when it comes to leadership?

The only advantage that men have over women is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

Why are we drawn to narcissistic individuals for leaders?

Leaderless groups have a natural tendency to elect self-centered, overconfident and narcissistic individuals as leaders. Freud argued that the psychological process of leadership occurs because a group of people — the followers — have replaced their own narcissistic tendencies with those of the leader, such that their love for the leader is a disguised form of self-love, or a substitute for their inability to love themselves.

What do you think about the “lean in” debate pushing women to be more like their male peers?

It strikes me as a little odd that so much of the recent debate over getting women to “lean in” has focused on getting them to adopt more of these dysfunctional leadership traits. Yes, these are the people we often choose as our leaders — but should they be?

What are women doing right when it comes to management and entrepreneurship?

In a comprehensive review of studies, Alice Eagly and colleagues showed that female managers are more likely to elicit respect and pride from their followers, communicate their vision effectively, empower and mentor subordinates, and approach problem-solving in a more flexible and creative way, as well as fairly reward direct reports. In contrast, male managers are statistically less likely to bond or connect with their subordinates, and they are relatively more inept at rewarding them for their actual performance.

Do women have an unseen advantage by being more humble?

Arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent. Whether in sports, politics, or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men. For example, women outperform men on emotional intelligence, which is a strong driver of modest behaviors.

So, then, what’s women’s biggest barrier to achieving equal representation in leadership positions?

One of the biggest problems is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent men, and the fact that we tend to equate leadership with the very psychological features that make the average man a more inept leader than the average woman. The result is a pathological system that rewards men for their incompetence while punishing women for their competence, to everybody’s detriment.

What can we do to stop the unnatural selection of male leaders and entrepreneurs?

First, we can debunk the myth of leadership and entrepreneurship as masculine. Psychological research has shown that even when we know stereotypes are inaccurate, they still affect our decisions. Uprooting the stereotype that men are naturally better suited for leadership and entrepreneurship would encourage competent women and discourage incompetent men. Second, we can bet on competence rather than confidence – for investors to bet on actual rather than self-perceived talent.

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SIOP 2014 Symposium: The Emergence of Abusive Supervisors. What Makes Them Mean?

  
  
  

SIOP Hawaii
The discipline of leadership is highly romanticized (Meindl, 1985). In particular, the popular press sensationalizes leaders by assigning them heroic qualities and crediting them with herculean feats of success. Common observation, however, suggests great people are almost always bad people (Acton, 1887) and that power is abused with surprising regularity (Kellerman, 2004). A relatively new wave of leadership research has exposed this phenomenon under a variety of banners, including petty tyranny, destructive leadership, and managerial derailment. Abusive supervision is one such area that focuses on the hostile actions perpetuated by a supervisor against their subordinates.

Although abusive supervision is a relatively low base-rate phenomenon (Tepper, Duffy, Henle, & Lambert, 2006), the annual damages it perpetuates in terms of health, productivity, retaliation, and employee withdrawal has been estimated to exceed $20 billion (Tepper, 2007). Clearly, the reduction of such behavior would greatly benefit followers and firms alike. While an impressive literature has been amassed on the consequences of abusive supervision (see Schyns & Schilling, 2013), relatively less empirical work has addressed why leaders – intentionally or otherwise – engage in subordinate mistreatment. At the time of his major review, Tepper (2007) noted only three studies on the antecedents of abuse, leading to calls for future research into its origins. Recognizing the likelihood abusive supervision is a multilevel and dynamic phenomenon, the goal of the current symposium is to address this question from a variety of vantage points, including leader characteristics, leader self-concepts, and environmental forces. Our ultimate aim is to help guide future research into this burgeoning arena.

The first study revisits the “great man,” or, in this case, “terrible man,” approach to leadership by pitting the normative side of personality (the Big Five) against its darker or maladaptive counterparts. Further, as a new trait model, Simonet, Bolen, and Nei argue derailing tendencies (as assessed by the Hogan Developmental Survey, HDS), owing to their interpersonally dysfunctional nature, should incrementally predict an abusive proxy above and beyond normative trait models. Using sequential logistic regressions and dominance analyses, they find multiple dysfunctional tendencies (e.g., excitable, cautious, leisurely, dutiful) increase the likelihood of classifying a supervisor as being too forceful and insensitive in their leadership style. Limitations are stressed and implications discussed.

Next, adopting a person-situation interactional approach, Schilling and Schyns provide a more likely portrayal of how supervisors’ dark side traits express themselves in harmful ways. Specifically, they found a main effect for Machiavellianism predicting abusive supervision. This finding was moderated by stress indicating Machiavellianism is less predictive of abusive supervision under high stress situations. They also found a main effect for narcissism predicting abusive supervision. This finding was moderated by procedural justice indicating that narcissism is more predictive of abusive supervision under low procedural justice situations.  Collectively, findings suggest self-interested persons are more likely to mistreat subordinates, a tendency which is exacerbated by unfair procedures and potentially, at least for Machiavellian individuals, mitigated by stress.             

The final panelist considers an array of macro-environmental factors which, to date, are woefully underrepresented in contemporary studies of abusive supervision. Using an ecological framework, Mulvey further develops the model of abusive supervision by considering the contextual factors of instability, perceived threat, cultural values, and an absence of checks and balances. Mulvey argues that this perspective allows for a richer and more useful set of research questions and conclusions. As such, this paper highlights the limitations of a purely behavioral perspective providing a contrast to the other papers.

This symposium will be held Thursday, May 15.

References available

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Faking It

  
  
  

Hubris or humilityEver heard that phrase “fake it until you make it”? In his latest book, Confidence, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic advises that “when you are competent, fake modesty. When you are not, fake competence. And if you cannot fake competence, then try to fake confidence.” 

While the narcissistic attitude that goes hand in hand with charm and enthusiasm can be a handy asset for promotion, it has its downsides. People with narcissistic tendencies are likely to be impulsive, unrealistic in evaluating their abilities, pigheaded, and entitled, to name a few.

In a recent online trend, humble CEOs are being lauded for their superior leadership styles and healthy organizations. Learn more about the perfect balance of hubris and humility in the workplace.

 
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