Behavioral Assessments; HBR’s 10 Most Common Failures of Bad Leaders

Introspection leads to growth.  Scientifically validated behavioral assessments are key to effective introspection.  I recently completed the Predictive Index® [PI] survey, an assessment tool that provides insight into the natural workplace behaviors.  I have to agree with the statement, “it appears to be a simple adjective checklist, however the results are uncannily accurate.”
Harvard Business Publishing
Let the introspection begin with Harvard Business Review’s June 2009 article, Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders:

After scrutinizing 360-degree feedback data on over 11,000 leaders and evaluating the 10% considered the least effective, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman found the 10 most common leadership shortcomings. These are ranked according to the size of the difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders’ scores; successful and failed leaders differed most significantly in their energy and enthusiasm.

  1. Lack energy and enthusiasm. They see new initiatives as a burden, rarely volunteer, and fear being overwhelmed. One such leader was described as having the ability to “suck all the energy out of any room.”
  2. Accept their own mediocre performance. They overstate the difficulty of reaching targets so that they look good when they achieve them. They live by the mantra “Underpromise and overdeliver.”
  3. Lack clear vision and direction. They believe their only job is to execute. Like a hiker who sticks close to the trail, they’re fine until they come to a fork.
  4. Have poor judgment. They make decisions that colleagues and subordinates consider to be not in the organization’s best interests.
  5. Don’t collaborate. They avoid peers, act independently, and view other leaders as competitors. As a result, they are set adrift by the very people whose insights and support they need.
  6. Don’t walk the talk. They set standards of behavior or expectations of performance and then violate them. They’re perceived as lacking integrity.
  7. Resist new ideas. They reject suggestions from subordinates and peers. Good ideas aren’t implemented, and the organization gets stuck.
  8. Don’t learn from mistakes. They may make no more mistakes than their peers, but they fail to use setbacks as opportunities for improvement, hiding their errors and brooding about them instead.
  9. Lack interpersonal skills. They make sins of both commission (they’re abrasive and bullying) and omission (they’re aloof, unavailable, and reluctant to praise).
  10. Fail to develop others. They focus on themselves to the exclusion of developing subordinates, causing individuals and teams to disengage.

These sound like obvious flaws that any leader would try to fix. But the ineffective leaders we studied were often unaware that they exhibited these behaviors. In fact, those who were rated most negatively rated themselves substantially more positively. Leaders should take a very hard look at themselves and ask for candid feedback on performance in these specific areas. Their jobs may depend on it.

Source: Harvard Business Review, June 2009

Reading the above list, I feel great about my PI results.

Have you taken the Predictive Index survey, the Strengths Finder 2.0, or another behavioral assessment?  How did you feel about the results?

Do you agree with HBR’s list?

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