Charisma Is Clogging Up Your Leadership Pipeline

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Thu, Feb 02, 2017

When it comes to who we want to work for, everyone thinks they want the same thing: a charismatic leader whose engaging personality and sweeping oratory inspires his or her followers to greatness, like every coach in every sports movie ever made, ever. Including this one by Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday.

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“Charisma has long prevailed as one of the most celebrated attributes of leadership,” Hogan CEO Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic wrote in a post in Fast Company. “A global survey evaluating everyday perceptions of leadership across 62 countries identified ‘charismatic’ and ‘inspirational’ as two of the most recurrent attributes linked to leadership.

For all it’s assumed importance, “There’s actually little evidence that charisma helps leaders be more effective,” Chamorro-Premuzic continued. “When leaders are charismatic but lack good judgment, vision, or the ability to build effective teams, they can be pretty destructive.”

Sound like anybody you know? If you’re like most organizations, your pipeline of high potential candidates is likely clogged with individuals matching this description. That’s because most organizations still rely on supervisor nominations (68.5%) and performance appraisals (74%) to identify potential in their talent pools. And, unfortunately, performance reviews and supervisor nominations tend to be good at identifying the people in an organization who “look” like leaders — individuals who seem smart, confident, charismatic, and who excel at self-promotion.

To be sure, these characteristics are critical to help individuals climb the corporate ladder. But they aren’t enough to succeed at the top, which is why 46% of leaders fail to meet business objectives in a new role.

How can you keep charismatic but ultimately unfit individuals out of your leadership pipeline? The reason most high potential programs struggle to produce viable high potential candidates is that they’re missing one thing: science. Hogan’s model of high potential is built on 30 years of independent research and validated on more than 21,000 global managers across every industry.

Want to know more? Check out our free ebook “The Politics of Potential” to read more about putting the Science of Personality to work in your high potential program.


Topics: leadership, high potential leaders, high potential, high potential employees, high potential program, charisma

Engaging high potential employees – it’s not as simple as it sounds

Posted by Lewis Garrad on Wed, Jan 25, 2017

6pf6daiwz48-rayi-christian-wicaksono.jpgCoaching high potential employees to find impact, challenge and meaningful relationships at work can help create stronger motivation, commitment, and retention.

If identifying high potential employees is the most important talent management challenge that companies face, it’s arguable that creating a compelling career for high potentials comes in at a close second. With so many dollars spent on programs to develop leadership succession and capability, it’s important to get a good return on your investment. Keeping top talent learning, motivated, and committed is critical to doing that. 

Many organizations understand this but the basic assumption seems to be that the expanded opportunities afforded to someone who has been identified as top talent should be enough – this most often includes increased access to senior leaders, special projects, and extra training. However, with so much passive job seeking these days (thanks to sites like LinkedIn) and an increasingly diverse workforce to deal with, leaders often find that their programs are not helping to create the “stickiness” they need. Indeed, in Sirota's own projects we find that top talent is rarely more positive about their organization than the average employee.

So how can programs be designed to boost success? Once the science of talent and personality assessments help you make good decisions about what candidates to pick, the science of engagement should help you to get them to stay. Here are three key issues that you should consider:

  • Give them the right feedback. Tagging someone as top talent usually means directing more investment and attention to them. This can be a double-edged sword as colleagues can notice the imbalance of resources that are being used for their development. Highly confident and ambitious characters, who get themselves noticed easily, might even start to act in more self-centered and entitled ways. As the fascinating research into toxic employees shows, there’s no point having a superstar if they suck performance from other members of their team. Although it’s tempting to want top talent to feel they are special, it’s rarely helpful if they start to act like it. If you want your high potentials to have productive careers then they need to learn how to get along with others, as well as get ahead in their jobs. That means ensuring they get feedback to understand the impact they have on colleagues and providing coaching to help them adapt to it. The benefit of this is that it will help to strengthen the relationships they form at work, boosting their sense of belonging.
  • Challenge them in the right way. Many high potentials are given special assignments to stretch them into new areas. This can be a great way to engage them with impactful and challenging projects. However, there is some nuance to this and research shows that while some work demands actually help to boost motivation and focus (challenges - like complex problem solving or tight deadlines), others are draining and exhausting no matter what (barriers to performance - like interpersonal conflict or highly ambiguous goals, leading to uncertainty). In a recent survey, many high potentials also said they feel significant additional pressure to get things right more often. We should remember that burnout and exhaustion is a substantial risk for high potential employees who ambitiously pursue the extra projects that they are given, while at the same time being exposed to the watchful eye of senior leaders who are constantly judging their performance. Ensuring that development programs and projects are built around the balance of resources and demands facing the participants is an important part of keeping them engaged. And remember, just because someone is able to handle a tremendous amount of pressure, that doesn’t mean they are always a good fit for more senior roles – particularly if they need to be able to empathize with overwhelmed subordinates.
  • Meaning and purpose. Although it has become rather cliché to talk about the importance of meaning and impact in the workplace, there should be no doubt that it makes a difference. People will often use the pursuit of higher-level purpose or vision to buffer against the shorter-term impact of stressful or boring work on their motivation. So, while many high potential programs might emphasize the increased influence, development, and even reward that high potentials have access to, it’s important that a clear connection is also made to achieving a broader career impact and purpose. This means ensuring that leaders and managers understand that their role in developing top talent isn’t only to talk to them about their performance, but also to help them think through their development toward their broader career goals.

While the additional investment that high potential employees receive is a privilege, the market for talented individuals means that competition is fierce. Helping high potentials to design their careers in a way that brings stronger impact, rewarding challenges, and better relationships can help boost engagement and retention.

To learn more about how the personality of high potential employees influences engagement of team members, check out The Engaging Leader.

Lewis Garrad, a chartered organizational psychologist, is the Growth Markets leader at Mercer|Sirota. He specializes in the design and deployment of employee attitude research programs, feedback interventions, and talent strategy. Follow him on Twitter.

Topics: leadership, high potential leaders, talent management, engagement, high potential, high potential employees, high potentials, high potential program, talent

Who Dare Speak Truth to Power?

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Tue, Oct 18, 2016

Truth_to_powerHow organizations can encourage influential partnerships by guest blogger Gillian Hyde, Chief Psychologist, Psychological Consultancy Ltd.

Leaders - from presidents and CEOs to principals and primary school head teachers - exert power over people’s lives. Significant aspects of their personality - such as self-confidence, charm, being visionary or simply a strong communicator - are often the ingredients that elevated them to their influential positions. Yet almost every forceful character in a managerial or leadership position will have downsides to their personality. A go-getting, optimistic leader is likely to be arrogant at times and may be overbearing or even too forceful. Similarly, a wildly imaginative and innovative type will probably display a sprinkling of eccentricity and possibly a hint of vagueness from time to time. 

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As leaders scale the career ladder and acquire more power and influence, the impact of these overplayed strengths becomes more far-reaching. At the same time, their behaviors are likely to gain momentum, turning more excessive and unfettered because of a lack of counterbalancing forces. Colleagues and peers have less influence, and this constrains their ability to challenge the leader through honest discussion, debate, criticism, or advice. “Nobody speaks truth to power,” says Geoff Trickey, Managing Director at Psychological Consultancy Ltd. “No one tells you you’re a fool or that’s a stupid idea. You’re beginning to feel indestructible so at that point the dark side is just lurking around the corner. It’s been creeping up on you as you’ve moved up the building.”

Stemming the tide

So how widespread is the issue? Research suggests that as much as 85% of the UK population has at least one potentially derailing personality characteristic, with over a quarter possessing four or more. These dark side qualities typically become apparent during novel or stressful periods, or when an individual feels relaxed, or invulnerable. Given the prevalence of these characteristics, the question then is what can organizations do to cur

b excessive behavior amongst their leaders and minimize the risk of them derailing?

There are numerous tools and interventions available to help leaders today, providing important insights into the impact of their behavior. Assessing extreme personality characteristics, for example, helps individuals to increase awareness of their blind-spots and potentially counterproductive behaviors. It can provide early-warning signals, flagging areas they should pay attention to and, in the process, start preparing them for feedback on these behaviors. Further feedback is also available through 360 degree surveys, which provide leaders with rich insights into colleagues’ opinions of them and highlight ways in which they could improve in their attitudes, behavior, and performance. Casting the net more widely, employee engagement surveys show how enchanted or otherwise employees are about the organization, its culture, and processes.

These tools have been demonstrated to have a significant impact. But is it possible to go a step further, creating a role for someone to provide regular feedback and ensure that information gleaned from these assessments and surveys creates a change in a leader’s everyday behavior?

Influential partnerships

One solution is to help leaders to create sustainable influential partnerships. History and literature are peppered with examples of the court jester or fool, who dared to ‘speak truth to power’. Today, a more common example of an influential partnership is likely to be a ‘trusted aide’. This person could be a spouse or partner, a work colleague, or a ‘tough-talking’ executive coach. Crucially, it needs to be someone who is not in competition or engaged in a power struggle with the leader and who can speak up without fear of recrimination.

To be successful, an influential partnership must possess certain key qualities. For example, the partner must have the complete trust of the leader and have the leader’s best interests at heart. Additionally, they mustn’t compete for power and they should try to be present as much as possible so they are well-versed in the issues and sensitivities surrounding the leader. Perhaps most importantly, though, is the need for them to be given free rein to speak the truth. Having knowledge of the leaders’ dark side tendencies, they must be able to flag up when the counterproductive behaviors are in evidence and be candid with their feedback, even if it is not what the leader wants to hear.   

Organizations require diverse personalities and leaders often need counterbalancing forces to moderate and mediate their behaviors. By raising awareness of dark side tendencies and creating influential partnerships, organizations can help leaders to curb their more extreme counterproductive behaviors and avoid the potential pitfalls to derailment. Ultimately, these relationships could benefit the leader, their employees, and the health of the organization.   

Topics: leadership, distributor

Leadership Lessons from Muhammad Ali

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Jun 07, 2016

Professional sports often illustrate important psychological and life principles, even for the world of business. Traditionally, discussions on leadership tend to focus on team sports, but occasionally individual athletes emerge who can teach us a great deal about leadership, too. Here are some lessons from the extraordinary Muhammad Ali:

1) Morality is antisocial: True leadership requires vision, and vision requires the inability to accept the status-quo. In that sense, all leaders are somewhat antisocial: they reject established rules and norms and provide a different - better - perspective on reality, which is the basis for their moral code. Importantly, true leaders have the integrity to live by their beliefs even if it means upsetting authority and sacrificing personal gains; and they deal with the consequences. They show high levels of consistency between what they say and what they do, and challenge the elite with defiance. And in the end, their thoughts and ideals prevail over the old order of things. To be sure, leaders will only inspire if their vision is congruent with the beliefs and values of their followers, and in doing so they will also repel those who think and feel differently. But one thing is certain: if you don’t stand for anything, have no visible convictions, or just follow what everybody else does, you are not a leader. This is why leaders are rare not only in the world of professional sports, but also in politics and business.

2) Personality is a talent accelerator:
No matter how much talent you have, the right mindset, a serious work ethic, and a desire to strive for perfection and be the best, will enhance your talent. It is often the case that individuals with an innate predisposition to develop exceptional skills lack the grit and determination to unleash their full potential. Despite Ali’s incredible talent, he trained and worked as if he had none. From early on in his career he was the first person to arrive at the gym and the last one to leave - and he hated training. When we consider that the most effective leadership development interventions involve leaders who are already more coachable to begin with - they sign up and engage in this programs because of their higher levels of curiosity, humility, and willingness to improve - it is clear that coaching tends to help mostly those who need it the least. Conversely, those who need it the most - mediocre or inept leaders - tend to resist coaching and development because they are arrogant, complacent, or unaware of their incompetence.

3) It ain’t bragging if you can back it up:
It would be hard to call Ali modest, and fewer personality attributes are more salient in him than his self-confidence. However, it is equally naïve to think that Ali was as arrogant as his self-presentation style suggests. First, his public self-confidence was clearly a calculated attempt to entertain the media and intimidate opponents. Second, it also helped him hide any nerves or fear, both from others and himself. Third, and most importantly, unlike most self-confident and arrogant people, Ali had the goods to back it up. This point was highlighted beautifully by Barack Obama: “Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d ‘handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail’. But what made The Champ the greatest - what truly separated him from everyone else - is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.” Along those lines, lay people are often quick to highlight negative personality characteristics in famous, mega-successful, leaders: e.g., Steve Jobs was emotionally volatile, Walt Disney was mean, and Henry Ford was ruthless. That may have been the case, but unlike most volatile, mean, and ruthless leaders they had the talent, work ethic, and vision to back it up. Although Ali may not have been a better boxer without his hubris, without his talents he would have looked more like Donald Trump.

This article orginally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Topics: leadership

Drinks with Hogan: Leadership in a Team Environment

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Tue, May 24, 2016

If leadership is defined as the ability to build and maintain a high performing team, how does a leader effectively engage his or her team? Rebecca Callahan, Manager of Hogan Labs, and Amber Smittick, Corporate Solutions Consultant, discuss the tools and tactics to successful leadership in a team environment in this edition of Drinks with Hogan.


Topics: leadership, teams, Drinks with Hogan

Chats from China: Cross Cultural Questions

Posted by Krista Pederson on Wed, Mar 09, 2016

China is home to over half a million foreigners, many of whom are here for business. Multinational corporations doing business in China, as well as Chinese companies who are going global, all face questions regarding talent within a multicultural setting.

As a Hogan representative in China, I frequently field questions about personality in a multicultural context. Business people are interested in understanding the differences between Western and Chinese management styles from a personality perspective, and how they can use the information to create smoother and more effective onboarding programs. They want to know how cultural values affect company culture, and how these findings can help them hire the most appropriate people for the company.

Our decades of research into personality assessment show personality is actually the greatest job opportunity equalizer. Regardless of cultural background, nationality, or ethnicity, people all over the world show similar measurable facets of personality. This evidence can be used to predict performance in an unbiased way, and to develop individuals, leaders, and teams within a company – even a multinational company with employees from all across the globe.

Leadership emergence, according to Hogan research on companies operating in mainland China, does take on special characteristics within the context of a local culture. Research found that within their day to day personality, leaders in China tend to be more consensus driven and detail orientated than their counterparts from traditional Western cultures. Under stress and pressure, they tend to be more moody and emotionally volatile, seen as more overconfident and arrogant as well as having more of a “kiss-up, kick-down” style of leadership when compared to Western counterparts, but seen as less reserved and more open to communication under stress and pressure. Finally, leaders from China may be seen as caring more about helping their colleagues and team, having more focus on the appearance and feel of products or their environment, and wanting more recognition within a workplace context in comparison with their Western counterparts.

Both Chinese companies setting offices up overseas and multinational companies doing business in China and across the globe hope to be successful in a multicultural context. With our research on the differences in leadership style across cultures, Hogan helps companies with their multicultural programs better integrate and develop leaders from different backgrounds. Whether it be working with a Chinese company to help them understand how the leadership style of the manager from their Toronto branch differs from their headquarters in Beijing, or working with an American company to onboard a local team in Shanghai, Hogan works with you and your local Hogan partner to develop your leadership and increase your effectiveness within a global context.

Topics: leadership, cultural differences

The 4 Personality Traits Of Engaging Leaders

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Dec 15, 2015

Most people think of leadership as a vocation, but it's really a psychological process—namely, the process of influencing others to put aside their self-serving agendas and cooperate for the common good of a group. Companies are just bigger, more organized groups than those groups where our earliest ancestors first developed the psychological patterns we still live with today.

One reason leadership is so fundamental is because it transforms a collection of talented individuals into a coordinated team—but only if it's done in a way that actually helps the team perform well together. And since the secret to performance is engagement, it takes an engaging leader to make that happen.

Why Being Engaging Matters
Extensive psychological research shows that engagement is the key driver of individual performance—in other words, the degree to which employees think, feel, and act in ways that show their commitment to the organization. Engaged employees are energized, proud, enthusiastic, and have positive attitudes at work. Organizations whose employees are engaged show higher returns on assets, are more profitable, and yield nearly twice the value of their shareholders compared to companies characterized by low employee engagement.

On the flip side, disengaged employees underperform, get bored, and show counterproductive work behaviors, like wasting time online, not showing up, and burning out. It's been estimated that disengaged employees cost U.S. companies more than $450 billion each year.

Four Traits of Engaging Leaders
Clearly, engagement matters. But what do we know about engaging leaders? Although their style and expertise might vary, they tend to display some consistent personality characteristics. On average, they're more emotionally stable, ambitious, sociable, and interpersonally sensitive than others.

Emotional stability helps leaders stay cool under pressure so they can calm down their subordinates and keep everyone on track when things get tough.

Ambition helps leaders set challenging goals their teams need to reach for. That's especially important considering the reciprocal effects between engagement and performance. In other words, engaged employees perform better, but high-performing individuals will also be more engaged. It's either a virtuous circle or a vicious cycle depending on how well a leader leads.

Sociability helps leaders communicate with their teams, develop good networks, and put in the time it takes to nurture those relationships.

Interpersonal sensitivity causes leaders to focus more on others than on themselves. They're more altruistic and better attuned to their subordinates’ feelings.

Five Traits of Disengaging Leaders
Less effective leaders share traits that inspire disengagement in others. Being too excitable, cautious, leisurely, mischievous and attention-seeking can reduce your team's performance.

Excitability can cause disorder among employees due to a leader's erratic and unpredictable moods.

Caution is sometimes the prudent approach in certain situations, but overly cautious leaders can be frustrating because their risk-aversion makes them perpetuate the status quo even when things need to change.

Leisureliness causes leaders to be superficially polite and avoid conflict, but it can hold them back from offering constructive criticism. That, in turn, can create a passive-aggressive approach to management.

Mischievousness can occasionally be an asset as well. Clever leaders sometimes see opportunities others can't. In many cases, though, mischievous leaders appear charming to some, yet manipulative and dishonest to others. Their mixed reputations make them hard to trust.

Attention-seeking isn't usually the best trait in a leader, either. Those who want to focus more on themselves than their team members aren't likely to keep them engaged for long.

Beyond Personality
Of course, your personality doesn't determine your leadership style—only your leadership potential. The more traits you share with potentially disengaging leaders, the more effort it takes to overcome those tendencies. But you can still turn out to be a really effective leader.

As some studies have shown, it isn't just through their own behaviors that leaders impact team engagement. They can also do that by shaping their employees’ roles. When employees are starved for variety and autonomy, or when their tasks are trivial and seemingly purposeless, their engagement and performance can sink. It's up to leaders to offer regular feedback and guidance to counteract those things.

But it's a two-way street. Employees' own personalities determine how well they cope with lackluster work situations. The more conscientious and optimistic employees themselves can be, the better they'll tolerate both uninspiring jobs and bosses.

Getting More Engagement
Ultimately, every leader can make a deliberate effort to become more engaging through their own actions and dispositions. It starts simply with being aware of your tendencies so you can understand their impact on others.

Most leaders fail because they don't perceive well enough how others perceive their behaviors. That's why the bulk of executive coaching interventions try to reduce the negative effects of leaders’ personalities and dial up the behaviors that actually do engage their teams.

It's also important to craft meaningful and rewarding jobs for your teams, assigning everybody to the right role and ensuring the teammates know what you want them to achieve and why. If that doesn't work, your next best bet is simply to hire people who are happy by temperament. That might not sound like much of a leadership technique, but it still takes a savvy leader to understand how attitude can make a real difference. Happy employees are actually likely to stay engaged for longer, even if their productivity stays the same.

This article originally appeared in Fast Company.

Topics: leadership, employee engagement, engagement

What You Think Makes A Good Leader Probably Doesn't

Posted by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on Tue, Dec 08, 2015

What does it take to be a good leader? One reason that's such a perennial question is because it's so hard to answer. Many of our opinions about leadership are based on subjective experiences rather than the full breadth of psychological research in the field. We may think we know what qualities we value in those who lead us—and why—but companies and entire countries keep pushing less than stellar leaders into positions of power. How come?

What Actually Makes A Good Leader
To answer that question, it helps to get back to basics and ask why we as humans look for leaders in the first place. Mostly, it's because we need someone to help us get ahead, get along, and find meaning. Human beings are inherently social, but coordinated group behavior is unlikely to occur unless someone's in charge. While few of us can achieve very much without working together, doing so doesn't come naturally, and that's where leaders come in. They help balance the tension between individual agendas—our self-serving desire to get ahead—with the need for others’ approval and cooperation—our need simply to get along.

Leaders also fulfill our intellectual thirst for meaning and purpose. We need to understand the "why" of things, and we seldom feel satisfied unless our behaviors and choices (particularly involving our careers) make sense. Leaders can offer a sense of direction that corresponds with our inner moral compasses.

Finally, in any team—from professional athletics to the military and business—leaders are tasked with making key decisions. To the degree that leaders are more competent than their individual team members when it comes to decision-making, teams are generally glad to outsource that function. In that sense, then, leadership is a resource for the wider group.

What Good Leaders Have In Common
So it's no surprise that good leaders share similar psychological characteristics. They're competent and have good judgment, integrity, vision. They're also highly self-aware, which helps them understand how others see them and improve based on feedback, especially from their subordinates.

This all might seem obvious, yet over and over again, leadership choices, whether through democratic elections or autocratic decisions, are driven by the wrong factors. For instance, although there are no sex differences in leadership effectiveness, people virtually everywhere in the world perceive men as more leader-like than women.

That baseless bias is our own loss. As a result, we're left with an unjustifiable overrepresentation of men in leadership positions—which helps explain the surplus of incompetent male leaders. There are plenty of other leadership decoys to go around: Age, attractiveness, and race are all predictive of people’s leadership preferences, even though they have nothing to do with leaders' actual effectiveness.

Taking Risks With Risk-Takers and Narcissists
Another problem is the popular notion that leaders must be risk-takers. As a matter of fact, the best leaders in any field tend to be prudent and conscientious. They aren't impulsive and are remarkably capable of self-control, even when temptations are high. And those qualities are actually enhanced by the fact that good leaders tend to have . Intelligence helps people build and maintain high-performing teams because it enables people to learn faster, better, and more (as long as they're interested in what they're learning).

But the mismatch between what people actually value in leaders and what they should value is arguably the greatest when it comes to altruism versus narcissism. In what's probably the best quantitative study of this dimension, the psychologist Tim Judge found that disagreeable people—those who are more likely to be self-centered, confrontational, and antisocial—have a higher probability of becoming leaders. More agreeable people—who are empathetic, altruistic, and sociable—tend to make better leaders, but are less frequently chosen to lead.

This implies that some of the qualities linked to leadership effectiveness are negatively related to leadership emergence. In other words, mean people rise to the top, even though kinder people are actually needed there. Getting decision-makers to understand the distinction between emergence and effectiveness could very well increase the share of competent leaders out in the real world. But our criteria and the rules of the game would need to change first.

What We Can Do To Get Better Leaders
At the very least, organizations should ensure they select leaders with good people skills. A number of studies have shown that a leader’s interpersonal skills are an important predictor of team engagement. That finding is consistent with other research pointing to the importance of emotional intelligence for leadership. Too often, people are promoted to leadership positions simply on the basis of their technical competence and expertise, even when they lack the "soft skills" to build good relationships with subordinates and boost team morale—especially in difficult times.

There's also the assumption that leadership talent is closely related to charisma. One comprehensive analysis of perceptions of leadership across 62 countries found that people tend to prefer charismatic leaders. Consider the personalities of most political dictators (and many famous CEOs), and that finding isn't so surprising. Charisma can be a poor yet compelling stand-in for leadership ability. In fact, that quality is often associated with narcissism, a trait that researchers defined as "encompassing grandiosity, arrogance, self-absorption, entitlement, fragile self-esteem, and hostility," and found disproportionately among leaders.

A Leader For Every Season
Finally, some of the things we look for in leaders tend to vary by culture and circumstance. For example, some research indicates we prefer leaders who seem to resemble us (especially in terms of personality). In that sense, the notion that every country has the leader it deserves is fairly accurate.

And the similar idea that every era has the leader it deserves? Same thing. When times are tough, and people’s self-esteem is down, strong, autocratic leaders are likelier to emerge. In other words, while we look for similarities in our leaders when it comes to certain attributes, we sometimes choose leaders who we think fulfill a deficit. A leader’s abrasiveness is likely to reflect his or her followers’ sense of weakness and self-doubt. And in those cases, many of the prejudices we've already covered tend to come into play. That's why masculine-seeming leaders tend to emerge during periods of conflict, while leaders with attributes perceived to be more feminine arise during periods of peace and cooperation.

But if we paid closer attention to the science, we'd be more likely to choose the leaders who are actually right for what we need them to accomplish—not those who we think will be.

This article originally appeared in Fast Company.

Topics: leadership

Gender as an Asset and a Liability in Leadership

Posted by Jocelyn Hays on Thu, Oct 15, 2015

Following the September 16th GOP debate and the October 13th Democratic debate, political pundits praised the performance of the two female candidates, Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton. An online article published by The Atlantic noted that Carly Fiorina won the GOP debate “largely because she skillfully exploited the thing that is both her biggest liability and, potentially, her biggest asset: She’s a woman”.

It’s hard to envision being a woman as a leadership asset when the Pew Research Center published findings in January 2015 that indicated:

  • Only 20% of all U.S. Senators and 19% of all House of Representatives members are women
  • Only 26 Fortune 500 companies are led by female CEOs and women represent just under 17% of Fortune 500 board members
  • A significant wage gap still exists between men and women despite the fact that more women now attend college, earn a degree, and pursue graduate studies than men

Despite these downright depressing statistics, there may be reason to hope! While recognizing the undeniable truth that being a woman makes it more difficult to ascend to the highest level of most fields (politics and business alike), organizations are increasingly recognizing the strengths associated with “gender-balanced” leadership teams. According to commentary written by Michael Landel, CEO of Sodexo, management teams composed of a balanced mix of men and women achieve results – such as improved employee engagement and consumer satisfaction – more consistently than unbalanced teams.

Landel notes that Sodexo has taken specific actions to promote female leaders, such as an internal organization charged with implementing a strategy to increase female leadership and targeted efforts to change the corporate culture. Individual development efforts may also help women advance in their organizations and careers. Helping female leaders and high-potential employees build strategic self-awareness may better position them to face the challenges posed by gender bias and traditional leadership thinking. Targeted development and coaching efforts can help individuals:

  • Understand their reputation – how others see them
  • Identify and leverage their strengths both in terms of their current positions and those to which they aspire
  • Recognize and manage their weaknesses to enhance current effectiveness and prepare for advanced roles and responsibilities
  • Take a strategic approach to building and promoting an effective leader brand over time

What techniques have you seen used to advance female leaders and create more gender-balanced teams at the top of organizations? Which methods have been successful and which have fallen flat? Please post your thoughts and lessons learned in the comments section!

Topics: leadership, women in leadership

Hogan a Proud Partner of Odgers Berndtson’s CEO x 1 Day Program

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Mon, Oct 12, 2015

For the third consecutive year, Hogan has partnered with leading global executive search firm Odgers Berndtson as the exclusive assessment provider for its CEO x 1 Day program.

The career-shaping CEO x1 Day program gives third and fourth year Canadian university students the opportunity to be CEO for one day at some of Canada’s most sought-after employers. Successful candidates have the opportunity to meet and job shadow one of 17 dynamic CEOs from national and international organizations in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.

“The CEO x 1 Day program helps us uncover and develop the next generation of Canadian leaders by providing students with invaluable access to the most respected CEOs and with opportunities for them to learn about themselves and their leadership potential,” say Rob Quinn, a Partner at Odgers Berndtson.

All CEO x 1 Day participants fill out an online leadership assessment developed by Hogan and administered by Performance Programs Inc., and then they receive personalize reports to learn about their strengths and weaknesses.

“We’re proud to be supporting this important initiative by contributing the predictive power of our assessments,” says Hogan CEO Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. “Based on 30 years of experience and data from millions of leaders, our assessments help to identify the best candidates and provide them with critical development feedback to build upon their potential.”


Topics: leadership

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