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?

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.