Can Leadership Be Predicted? Employers hope for the best, but often guess wrong
By Paul Feeney Managing Director, Sanford Rose Associates - Wayne | October 28, 2008
Actually, personality tests do a pretty good job of revealing both natural and adapted behavior in day-to-day situations. Joe may be a controlling individual who has learned to replace domination with persuasion in order to broaden his support within the organization. Or Janice, who is most comfortable with numbers and facts, may have learned to be more expressive of her feelings in order to be perceived as less "cold."
OK, that's the daily work environment - but what happens when circumstances demand that someone must respond to the call of duty and lead? How does one identify the next Winston Churchill, George S. Patton or even Jack Welch? George W. Bush states repeatedly that he is a leader, but does saying so make it so? Or because John F. Kerry was a war hero in Vietnam, does that mean he can lead the Free World?
The truth is that leadership is generally more apparent by its absence than by its presence. How often in recent years have corporations replaced their CEO with either the current Number Two officer or with the savior from outside the company - only to regret the decision within months, if not days? The answer to that not entirely rhetorical question is more than half the time.
Companies, nonetheless, crave leadership and cite it in survey after survey as the most needed ingredient in CEOs and general business managers. Many search firms therefore tout their skills in identifying that elusive trait.
The Role That Confidence Plays
It's a clich'e, although true, that leaders inspire others to follow. The question is why?