Are you equipped to be a leader today? These insights could help you up your game.
According to DDI’s new global study of 15,000 executives in 18 countries, there are certain personality traits and attributes that make it more and less likely that a person will succeed in a 21st century business world leadership role.
The warp speed of business has hastened the pace of leaders being thrust into roles of increasing scope and responsibility whether they are ready or not. As the cost of failure increases, predicting who can navigate these transitions demands an evaluation of personality factors that influence how leaders will respond to vastly greater challenge, pressure, and visibility.
One interesting section of the DDI report looks at hard-to-develop, positive traits (enablers) that grease leader success, and dysfunctional traits (derailers) that tend to trip them up. DDI examined these across three leader levels – strategic executive, operational, and mid-level. At each successive level, enablers were: exhibit stronger ambition and resilience and interpersonal sensitivity. Although the highest ranking executives are generally less vulnerable to them, the list of derailers was a bit longer:
- Volatility: displayed as inconsistency, distractibility and moodiness. This trait threatens credibility for building trust through predictable actions and consistent follow-through.
- Avoidant: often seen as passive-aggressive conflict resolution, which poisons opportunities to influence and interact.
- Perfectionism: the need to micromanage work or delay decisions in pursuit of a 100 percent outcome.
- Approval Dependent: senior leaders are sometimes ruled by the need for personal reinforcement and pleasing others.
- Arrogance: expressed as self-importance or insensitivity, or the need to oversell their own importance, or influence others through intimidation.
- Risk Aversion: an unwillingness to make bold moves to drive the business forward.
- Attention Seeking: the desire to take center stage risks overshadowing those whose hearts they need the most. This lack of humility compromises trust.
Leaders who are successful enough to be considered for a CEO position are unlike other high-performers. In order to learn how CEO candidates are unique in their response to leadership challenges and if their personal attributes set them apart, DDI also profiled 243 CEO finalists, in 48 organizations, and benchmarked them against its larger database.
What CEO Candidates Do to Excel
- Obsess over execution and results: They stay laser focused on outcomes and demand specifics on how results will be achieved.
- Instantly and accurately size up complex business situations: Relying on seasoned business instincts, they quickly sort the good business ideas from the bad so they can steer toward best bets.
- Fixate on customer needs: They embody the customer persona so that they can diagnose how business plans will meet customer needs now and in the future.
How CEO Candidates Are Wired
- Intensely competitive, confident, and emotionally resilient: While most executives share these traits, they are even more pronounced among those preparing for a CEO position.
- Craving of attention: Most personality derailers, such as arrogance or volatility, decline in prevalence for CEO candidates. Not so for attention-seeking. The top job attracts those who enjoy being noticed for their talents and charm.
- Creative OR pragmatic: Twenty-one percent of CEO candidates are creative, conceptual strategists, and 29 percent are practical, no-nonsense operators. Only 8 percent effectively balance both.
For more where this came from, visit the QuickBase Fast Track blog.