February 13, 2009

Personality, Leadership and Organizational Performance

Just back from the Society of Consulting Psychologists (APA, division 13) conference in San Diego entitled, "Excellence in Leadership". As I make my re-entry from the land of palm trees and sunshine into the cold and chilly New England climate I have some time to reflect on more than the question "How is it a Florida girl ended up in this wintry mess?". I think also of the big questions raised at the conference.

One particularly thought provoking seminar was delivered by Eric Nelson and Robert Hogan (Hogan Assessments) entitled, "Personality, values and employee engagement". There were many good nuggets of information and unlike some of the ideas circulating around the literature on leadership, their work is clearly grounded in solid research.

Some of the key points delivered:
  • Leadership Matters---a person in charge can make or break a company
  • Good Leadership (and Bad Leadership) is a function of Personality
  • Senior Leaders establish the organizational culture
  • 47% of Employees distrust Senior Leaders of their companies
  • Personality predicts Leadership Performance better than IQ
  • High Employee Engagement leads to positive business outcomes
And, my all time favorite (which you may recognize from my earlier blog postings)....
  • People don't quit organizations, they quit their bosses.
As a Leadership Consultant I am sometimes asked what a Psychologist has to do with business, or given suggestions to "disguise" my psychological credentials to avoid scaring away potential clients who don't see the connection between business and psychology in the workplace.

Yet the research is clear, whether it comes from the Organizational, Personality or Business Management field: Leadership is Personal; and ignoring that reality is costly !