Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Trait that all Successful Leaders Have

According to a posting by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, the essential trait is warmth:

There is, however, one simple fact that leaders ignore at their peril: those who demonstrate high levels of “interpersonal warmth” have a better chance at long-term success.

“Warmth is the differentiating factor,” says Loran Nordgren, an associate professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School. He cites a Zenger Folkman study that looked at 50,000 managers and found that a leader’s overall effectiveness is predicted more by warmth than competence. “If you’re seen as low-warmth, you have something like a 1-in-2000 chance to make the top quartile of effectiveness as a leader.”

The lesson for aspiring business leaders is not to smile more broadly. Instead, Nordgren recommends simply being aware of one’s perceived warmth and taking steps to manage that perception whenever possible.

Thus, warmth alone is not enough. Here is an example from The Simpsons:

Moe, the sleazy, inept bartender, would fall squarely within the low-competence, low-warmth quadrant. Mr. Burns, the oligarch, is high competence, low warmth. Homer, who is basically a well-intentioned guy with an impulse-control problem, might be categorized as low competence, high warmth. The exemplar of good leadership in The Simpsons would be Lisa. “She’s accomplished and intelligent, but also other-focused and empathetic, and she conscientiously advances both sets of characteristics.”

An important point: Not only do you need to have warmth, you need  to make sure that others perceive that you are a warm person.

For some advice, please click here.


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