Charisma Is Clogging Up Your Leadership Pipeline


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.

Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 3.10.23 PM.png

“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.