Leadership Characteristics: Selection

How are you selecting your future leaders? What leadership characteristics do you seek? How sure are you that you've identified the right people? Have you invested in elaborate and expensive selection systems only to find high potential people leaving or worse, not live up to expectations?

The right leader at the right level is the most effective choice for your organization. People working below their ability feel frustrated; people working above their time span feel stressed. People working for a leader with a shorter time span or lower level of complexity then themselves feel frustrated and often leave the organization.

Gallup organization recently completed extensive studies that highlighted five abilities of successful managers:

  1. Accountability
  2. Assertiveness
  3. Relationship building
  4. Motivating
  5. Decision making

The studies further noted that only 1 in 10 managers possesses all 5 abilities. An additional 2 in 10 possess some of the abilities. The reason is that overwhelmingly, organizations continue to promote people into management, not for their ability to manage, but because of seniority or expertise in their past non-managerial position.

Retain your best talent by giving them the freedom to be the right person in the right job! Learn to select managers for their ability to manage!

Leadership Characteristics: Time Horizon

Knowledge, skills, and behaviors are leadership characteristics that can be taught. What cannot be taught is mental complexity and time span. Based on Elliott Jaques' here are keys to proper leadership selection:

  1. Identify the time span of the tasks for each level of leadership. Will the leader have projects spanning 3 months? 1 year, 2 years, 5 years or more?
  2. Identify through behavior-based interviewing the person's current time span capability
  3. Identify the level of complexity involved in the tasks for each level of leadership
  4. Through questioning, determine the potential leader's level of cognitive complexity
  5. Match the potential leader's capacity with the potential level of leadership in the organization

Leadership Characteristics: Task Complexity
LLead

Task Complexity Levels from least complex to most complex

  1. Direct judgment
  2. Data accumulation and diagnosis
  3. Construct alternative routes to goals
  4. Parallel processing and trade offs
  5. Practical judgment of both immediate and downstream consquences of change
  6. Global data accumulation and diagnosis
  7. Strategic options such as transforming operating systems

Higher complexity levels contain all the levels below them.

The right leader at the right level is the most effective choice for your organization. People working below their ability feel frustrated; people working above their time span feel stressed. People working for a leader with a shorter time span or lower level of complexity then themselves feel frustrated and often leave the organization.