– Ioana Hincu
How do we differentiate efficient leaders from less efficient ones? Which are the top 3 qualities of a good leader? How much is born and how much is educated in leadership? These are only some of the questions that were answered during the Online Leadership Forum, an event organized by Sfera Business on the occasion of the launch of Online Leadership Academy, a professional development program addressed to managers.
Regarding the question “how much is born and how much is educated in leadership?”, Dragos Iliescu, University professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the University of Bucharest, where he leads the doctoral school, talked to us with great passion about one of our favorite topics: Leadership.
“Some universal individual features for efficient leadership:
- By far, the most important is the overall cognitive ability (intelligence – IQ);
- Then personality components: dominance, dynamism, positive emotions;
- One of the dark triad components: narcissism ▶ most of the leaders have a narcissistic component”.
“They ALL have a terrible genetic base or are formed in early childhood to late teenage years ▶ it is already late, when you meet that person in business, to try an intervention on these components (70-80% it’s already given and it is hard to get away from them). It is relatively easy to make from a good leader an excellent leader; from a mediocre leader a good leader, from a slightly inefficient leader a mediocre one. But on these components, you can’t do more than a small shift, not a radical one.
Beyond these, a number of contextualized behaviors are important in the effectiveness of leadership. They are reactions to stimuli that are passed through the prism of their innate characteristics. They are being learned more easily, they have a skill component.”
- Use of humor, public speaking, communication of their own values;
- Even charisma can somehow be learned or faked;
- Active listening, relationship coaching, and so on.
“Creativity is an eminently cognitive ability, difficult to educate after 25-30 years. It’s hard to try to develop cognitive abilities like creativity (with a relatively low correlation with IQ) and integrity (integrity values).”
“So, the good news is: When you learn that a characteristic is educable, it requires hard work, but it can be formed through effort and investment of time and resources.
More good news: leadership and management are mistaken, but they are not separable.”
Conclusion: “In leadership, a native component is educated by those managerial behaviors. On the other hand, the individual characteristics that modulate the response to the context and those behaviors are less educable. Therefore, there’s a lot of focus on developing talent in talent management, but those components that cannot be developed must be selected (brought in the organization by recruiting and selecting).”
Participant’s question: What do you choose between innate traits and experience?”
“It depends on the prediction you make, on what you emphasize. Are you making predictions for now, immediately, or for the next few years? For a longer time, I would always bet on the one with the higher capacities.
Greater experience is not predictive of performance over time, but of immediate performance, while a higher IQ helps you learn quickly.
It depends on the technical, procedural complexity of the job. How much specific knowledge do you need for that job? In a neuro-surgery job, the experience is more important.
When we talk about managerial positions, the level of complexity (technical, procedural) is not so high in middle management, but when we talk about top management, that’s another story.”
These were just some ideas form Dragos during the Online Leadership Forum, ideas that are hard not to think of. Dragos speaks with so much passion about leadership, you just don’t know when time goes by. You remain fascinated and captivated by what he says and he makes you want to learn more.
That’s what Leadership Academy intends to be – a program that brings new concepts to ensure that the participants learn and develop essential leadership skills for their professional development. For more details, please go to the following link: