Meet the Over-Committer

She’s the one with the can-do attitude. The boss needs that proposal by tomorrow? No problem. Have a 3 a.m. conference call? She’ll be there. You need 10,000 copies correlated and stapled? She can do that, too. Sure, she may over commit, but you don’t get ahead by saying “no.”

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Playground to C-Suite: Bullying Behavior Causes Derailment

  Bullying is a topic that has been widely covered in the news recently. Schools are instituting and actively enforcing policies against bullying to prevent physical and psychological distress against those being bullied. Although we most frequently think of bullying in a school context, this sort of hair pulling, name calling, and harassing behavior is not limited to the elementary school playground or the high school locker room. Read More »

Q&A with Dr. Hogan: Leadership 101

Leadership is one of the most important topics in the social, behavioral, and organizational sciences. When good leadership prevails, organizations and people prosper. Bad leadership is almost always accompanied by inevitable bankruptcies, corporate corruption, and business disasters. Yet, according to Dr. Robert Hogan, the keys to effective leadership are still largely misunderstood. In the following interview, Hogan, answers several common questions regarding effective leadership.What is leadership?Leadership is not being in charge; many people who are in charge of teams and organizations are either lucky or are good politicians and have no talent for leadership. Leadership should be defined as the ability to build and maintain a high-performing team that bests the competition. In turn, leadership should be evaluated in relation to the performance of the team.What influences good leadership?Being able to evaluate the talents of the team members to be sure the right people are on the team, the wrong people are off the team, and the right people are in the right positions. Good leadership also involves developing a good strategy for the team, so that it can outperform the competition.How can we measure corporate leadership?The best way to measure leadership in corporations is in terms of the performance of the team or unit of which the leader is in charge. The second best way to measure leadership is to ask the members of the team to evaluate the performance of their leader. Subordinates’ evaluations of leaders are a good proxy or substitute for measures of overall team performance.How can we identify and grow corporate leaders?The wrong way to identify leaders is to ask the senior people which junior leaders they like. The typical high potential program is more about politics than talent. The quickest, most cost effective and most objective way to identify and grow leaders is by using a systematic assessment process. Well-validated assessments can be used to identify leadership potential and to give the potential leaders feedback regarding their strengths and developmental needs.Are men better leaders than women?Men are not better leaders than women. There are as many incompetent male leaders as there are incompetent female leaders. When women are good, they are just as good as men; when they are bad, they are just as bad as men.Is there any shift in managing younger leaders? Are their values different from their bosses?Good values are good for business; bad values are bad for business. Some older people have good values, some have bad values. Some younger people have good values, some have bad values. Working hard and wanting to do a good job is important for young people and older people. Everyone, young and old, needs to understand customer service. Integrity is as important for younger people as it is for older people. Being a good colleague and good team player is as important for younger workers as it is for older workers. The strange haircuts, tattoos, and clothing styles that young people prefer are irrelevant to job performance.What is leadership failure?If a leader gets fired, that is failure. If the team performs poorly, that is failure. If the team members hate their leader and refuse to work for him/her, that is failure. If the team has high rates of absenteeism, turnover, and accidents, and low levels of productivity and morale, and poor ratings for customer service, that is failure.What causes leadership failure?Leadership failure results from a leader being unable to build and maintain a high performing team. This is usually because the leader: (a) is untrustworthy; (b) makes bad decisions; (c) lacks competence in and knowledge of the business; (d) has no vision for the team. Leaders who lie, steal, cheat, play favorites, bully their subordinates, and are unable to control their emotions are usually seen as untrustworthy, the most important factor contributing to leadership failure.Can leadership failure be prevented?The best way to prevent leadership failure is to promote people into leadership positions who have some talent for leadership in the first place. The best way to evaluate leadership potential is to ask people who have worked for the person in question. The most cost-effective, quickest, and most objective way to evaluate leadership potential is with well validated psychological assessments.

Understanding Lawyers: Perspective from the Jury

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of serving jury duty. I’ve never been summoned to serve on a jury. The holding room for potential jurors is in a hot, windowless basement. The thought of sitting in what Tulsans affectionately call The Cellar Club wasn’t exactly my idea of a good time. I thought I’d pass the time catching up on work or finally finishing The Hunger Games. Instead, I found myself playing my new favorite game – Guess the Hogan Scales. People-watching is the best at the airport and courthouses apparently.

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Don’t Shoot the Managers

Ron Ashkenas recently posted an interesting blog on Harvard Business Review positing two common failures of high potential development programs: (1) employers are uncomfortable tapping some employees for development over others, and (2) managers are uncomfortable maintaining the complex coaching dialogue needed to develop these high potential employees. Ashkenas writes:

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Awareness Coaching

  The modern economy is changing more and more rapidly than ever before. Companies depend on their leaders to guide them through this turbulent marketplace, making the availability of savvy, well-developed leaders a crucial part of business suc­cess. However, a recent survey found that although the majority of HR directors identified high-potential leader development as their most important focus, more than 80% of those surveyed expected their HR budget either to shrink or stay the same. Read More »

The Secret of Narcissism

Narcissists don’t just think they are better than everyone else, they actually ARE better – at least when it comes to interviewing. In his recent study, Dr. Peter Harms (a Hogan academic partner) found that narcissistic behaviors such as self-promotion and self-confidence make narcissists more desirable during job interviews. Ultimately, narcissists better communicate why they’re able to do the job.

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BIRGing and CORFing: From the Hardcourt to the Boardroom

  On Monday night the University of Kentucky beat the University of Kansas to claim the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Didn’t watch it? That’s okay; I wasn’t that interested either. However, this sporting event has given us an opportunity to observe some basic social psychological phenomena in action that have implications not only for sports fanaticism but for the workplace as well. Read More »

Meet the Outsider

Meet the outsider. You’ve caught an occasional glimpse of him around the office. Capable and resilient, what he lacks in social grace he makes up in cold rationality. Sure, it gets lonely at the top, but that’s the way he prefers it. He is the lone wolf, the recluse, the strong, silent type.

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