Are you selecting average leaders?

April 28, 2014 | By | Add a Comment

What’s more important to know when selecting someone for a demanding leadership role?

A. Their average level of capability compared against other candidates?

B. Their capacity to succeed in a demanding leadership role?

If you answered A, keep using your current selection technique and ignore this blog. However, if you answered B, you may be interested in what follows.

Personality, cognitive and capability assessments are designed to compare ‘average’ results between candidates at a point in time. These results answer questions like: “is Mary, on average, more conscientious than John?” This can be useful when selecting leaders for ‘average’ roles – that is, where the demands of the role don’t change considerably day-to-day.

However, these commonly used assessments have a major limitation – they don’t measure what causes performance to change when leaders experience complex, challenging and stressful role demands. For example, the results won’t tell you what causes a leader to be composed and considerate in one situation, only to react angrily and impulsively in another.

That’s because average measures ‘at a point in time’ don’t explain changes in performance ‘over a period of time’. For example, I might feel anxious and disorganised at the start of a job interview, but feel excited and confident by the end. So, which is the more ‘accurate’ measure of performance? And importantly, what caused this change?

A recent study we conducted showed that a new ‘event-based’ assessment technique accurately predicts leadership success in demanding roles. Our technique simulates a demanding performance task and measures a leader’s capacity to perform under these conditions. This research-based technique has been used for leadership selection and development in a number of local and global organisations. For more information please contact Michael Collins via email or phone (1300 369 455).

Filed in: Assessing leadership potential | Tags: ,

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