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Despre leadership, personalitate si performanta – de vorba cu Ryan Ross, VP Global Alliances la Hogan Assessments US

11 Dec 2017

Why is leadership important for the business outcome?

Put simply, there is a high correlation between leader personality against business results and/or organizational effectiveness. To begin, it’s just as important to operationally define leadership as there is no real or stated consensus in the current literature as to how an properly define this psychological dimension. At Hogan, we define leadership is the ability to build and maintain effective teams. Leaders of the organization also influence the culture and dynamic of the top management team or senior leaders, which in turn, influences the performance of the organization. Essentially, personality predicts leadership potential and style, leadership style predicts employee attitudes and team functioning, and team functioning predict organizational performance.

What proves do psychologists have?

The proof emerges when I/O psychologists profile leaders of successful organizations, or leaders who have demonstrated success as building and maintaining high performing teams. Once you can assess personality profile of the individual in question, you can then match (or correlate) criterion level data against that personality profile to create the prototype of what a successful leader resembles in a certain job/role/company. By using this approach, we can then use this profile to predict which future employees are likely to be successful given how they score against the profile of success or leadership benchmark. Any type of performance data, key performance indicator, supervisor rating form, or 360 survey could also serve as an objective variable to correlate with the personality profile of a leader. In the literature, there are numerous meta-analytic studies which link personality and leadership (Judge 2002, is one such example).

How do you define HIPO? Is there only one type of definition?

Before organizations can identify and develop high-potential employees for future leadership roles, they must define potential, aka: “Potential for What?”. Does potential mean the ability to perform at one level above an employee’s current role? Two levels? Does potential mean the ability to lead a different functional area, to lead the entire organization, or something else? By trying to answer this question in a manner that satisfies people across all departments and job levels, many organizations develop complex concepts of potential that satisfy no one. At Hogan, we define HIPO as the ability to build and lead teams that can consistently outperform the competition. This requires a set of personal attributes that form the basis for career effectiveness. Before people can lead others, they must first demonstrate their ability to contribute to a team and establish a reputation for being dependable and productive. Next, they must cultivate a leader-like impression by standing out, building connections with others, and exercising influence. Finally, they must be able to attract, retain, and develop talented team members, secure and allocate resources effectively, and move the team toward strategic business goals. Yes, there are numerous definitions of HIPO across the talent management industry. We suggest reviewing research from Church and Rotolo (2013) for a recent look at demonstrating the value of using validated assessments to identify leadership potential.

Can personality or intelligence predict the potential for leadership?

Both can predict leadership potential at a fairly commensurate level; however, by using personality, you have an opportunity to develop future leaders by understanding key strengths, areas of weakness, and basic motivational characteristics that you simply can’t uncover with GMA. IQ is better left to predict which individuals are intelligent enough to perform a certain job or task, but there is far more to leadership effectiveness than being smart (read, having access to formal educational opportunities).

How much can psychometric tools predict success at the top? What proves do psychologist have?

One such study, from Joyce, Norhia & Roberson (2003), report that CEO’s account for about 14% of the variance in firm performance. To put that number into perspective, industry sector accounts for about 19% of the variance. Personality assessments are certainly a growing trend in the executive selection industry and are often used in assessment centers as well. Hogan’s niche has historically been in the senior leadership population, and we would argue that our tools are extremely important for hiring decisions at all organizational levels, but crucial at the top of the organizational hierarchy/pyramid. This is due to the ability of one single individual to help or drastically hurt the performance of an entire organization. We have hundreds of examples of destructive, charismatic leaders who have been hired into a CEO, or c-level, role who have subsequently run their respective companies into the ground due to their personality characteristics.


Ryan has more than 20 years of experience across a wide range of industries. He has worked in numerous practices at Hogan over the last 14 years including the selection and development practices, as well as working with Hogan’s strategic alliances and partners around the world. Ryan has developed and implemented large scale, multi-level selection programs domestically and internationally, consulted with organizations on selecting people into new jobs, and on the use of personality based and future oriented job analysis. Ryan also has vast experience in validating and defending the use of personality assessments in the pre-employment context.

Ryan’s experience also encompasses leadership development, talent management, and succession planning projects. Considered an expert on leadership derailment and the use of assessments to help identify potential points of failure in current and future leaders, Ryan frequently speaks at conferences and invited sessions on the topic of Strategic Self Awareness. Practically, Ryan has experience integrating Hogan’s tools into various development programs at all levels of the organization, including the integration of data into larger development and succession planning processes.

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