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Who should lead?

22 Ian 2013

Leadership and organizational effectiveness are strongly interconnected. Business psychologists demonstrate that good leaders determine organizational wealth (higher profits, better reputation, happier employees) as poor leaders determine organizational failure.

Leadership is not a fade. Leadership is not a hot topic on the HR agenda. Instead, leadership should be one of the organizational KPIs. Professor Robert Hogan, one of the most respected authorities in the world when it comes to predicting success and performance in organizations and one of the pioneers in the research of what leadership means, formulates the following definition: „Leadership is the ability to build and maintain a high performance team that can beat the competition.”
Many organizations define and measure leadership only based on the rating of the immediate boss favoring more „political” skills than performance related ones. Leadership should be measured through the results of the team.

Are men better leaders than women?
There are many myths related to this subject. Traditionally, the first hypotheses about what are the key successful factors for a leader were very masculine. Researchers and business evidence show that men and women are equally good or bad as leaders. There are many examples of failed leaders among men, but also among women. In the book „Why CEO Fail?” written by P. Cairo and D. Dotlich, we can read about leadership derailments and organization`s failure illustrated both with men and women figures.

In a recent research conducted by Hogan Assessment partners network in several countries (USA, Australia, China, Romania and other CEE countries) on more than 1000 executives and top managers, authors reveals that there are no significant differences between the profile of men and women in leadership positions and the benchmark leader profile created against a global norm of successful leaders. However, the study reveals some particular differences between the profile of men and women in leadership positions that are interesting from the organizational point of view. There is well known that companies with a balanced mix of men and women at the top get financial results up to 3 times better than those with unbalanced gender representation. So, if organizations can make sound decisions about who should lead and take appropriate development actions towards leadership development they can get a better results.

We have contributed to the general research about leadership attributes and conducted a study in Romania on more than 600 managers (middle to top) in multinational and local organizations in different industries (IT&C, Pharma, Agri business, Outsourcing Services, FMCG, Manufacturing etc.)

Our research team, consisting in seasoned business psychologists and consultants, selected a pool of top organizations, well respected in their industry, and assessed their leaders with a premium tool: Hogan Assessments suite: Hogan Personality Inventory, Hogan Development Survey (identifying leadership derailments), Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory.

Some of the findings are presented below.
Similarities between men and women at the top in Romania: Personality Profile
Women leaders are (like men leaders) disciplined, responsible, dependable, with a right degree of sociability which enables them to network and open relations, open to learn and stay up to date. In terms of core values and motivators, both men and women in leadership positions need recognition, visibility, success, and get their energy out of the desire to make a difference and leave their mark.

Can we get along: men and women at the top, differences in the leadership profile?
There are some significant differences in men and women leaders‘ profile that can explain a quite frequent reality in most organizations nowadays: there are fewer women at the top, especially in boards in most of organizations.

Women at the top tend to be more tensed, worried, self-doubting, but at the same time more open to ask and receive feedback, input, development coaching for self-development. They are more introspective, self-critical, less self-acceptant, less aggressive and dominant, but more prone to cooperate and play in a team. They have more focused intellectual interests, they have a more pragmatic approach to problem solving and they are better at implementing.

Women leaders are motivated to help others, to develop their teams, to offer support. They like to get involved in activities that improve society or others life, they have a strong social justice, they value and therefore strive to create a pleasant work environment and are preoccupied about satisfaction of their staff at work. They believe in family values, have strong principles about what is right and wrong, good or bad and care about their own image and the company’s (higher aesthetic sense).

Men leaders are mainly motivated about business opportunities and financial success.
We have discovered that men leaders tend to more courageous, prone to take risks and value excitement. When it comes to leadership derailments, at their worse they may over promise and under deliver, take unnecessary risks just to win, betray others trust by manipulating. Women leaders at their worse, under stress or when tired, tend to act more reserved, be more task focused. They are cautious, avoidant to take decisions that are not very safe or with uncertain outcome. Women tend under pressure to become more emotionally volatile.

Drawing a conclusion and answering to the question “who should lead?”, I strongly believe that what defines a good profile CEO is simple: to have the energy to take initiative and to draw others after himself (to get ahead), to make good decisions and to get along with the team in order to achieve superior results to those of the competition. Companies can adjust and adapt this profile depending on what their needs are at a specific time and can use powerful tools to predict performance in key leadership roles. Scientifically rigorous psychological instruments can be used both to identify leadership potential of women and men, without discriminating between men and women, and also to provide leaders with valuable feedback on their strengths and development areas.

Madalina Balan is specialized in organizational psychology, psychologist, Managing Partner and Senior Consultant at HART Consulting. Madalina is certified in Hogan Assessment methodology since 2007 and the Master trainer for Romania and Moldova in this methodology. With more than 12 years` experience as a trainer and consultant in human resources, Madalina has managed various projects on talent management, selection and leadership development for manifold Romanian and multinational organizations.

HART Consulting (www.hart.ro) has a history of 7 years on the local market, offering consulting services in areas such: selection (ROI, internal benchmark studies, personality and abilities assessments), assessment and development programs for individuals, leaders and teams (Hogan assessment, 360 feedback, A & D centers), organizational surveys, coaching, HR seminars. We are part of international network Hogan Assessment Systems and authorized distributor for Romania and Rep. of Moldova.

Published in Romania Insider

  • Who should lead? - HART Consulting
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