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Leadership emergence and leadership approval: An evidence-based approach

Dave Bartram & Anna Brown SHL Research British Academy of Management, Belfast September 2006

SHL Research on Leadership

Carried out review that identified 4 essential functions that leadership has to fulfil in organisations
Developing the Vision Sharing the Goals Gaining Support Delivering Success


Developed a functional model that integrates research into transformational and transactional leadership Developed a dynamic model that integrates competency potential, performance, outcome and contextual factors. Are exploring ways of linking this into intangible asset valuation

SHL Corporate Leadership Model definition of leadership


Leadership is about influencing people such that they come to share common goals, values, and attitudes and work more effectively towards the achievement of the organisation's vision. An effective leader is one who makes a demonstrable impact by influencing the behaviour and performance of others.
Bartram (2002)

Leadership Value Chain (Kaiser & Ferrell, 2005)

The chain has four main components:

1. Leadership characteristics (human, social and knowledge capital) 2. Leadership style (behaviours and decisions) 3. The impact these behaviours and decisions have on individuals, team and the organisation 4. Organizational performance


Aim is to show how leadership characteristics ultimately relate to style, impact and performance. Two aspects to analysis of individual leader characteristics:
Standing out, or emergence Approval or others ratings of effectiveness.

The present research


Which personality attributes predict who get nominated as leaders (emergence) Which predict how well leaders do in terms of approval by others? Use the SHL Corporate Leadership model as a framework for the research (Bartram, 2002). This is based on the SHL Universal Competency Framework (Bartram et al, 2002; Bartram 2005), which defines 112 competency components structured under 20 dimensions which in turn are related to eight broad factors.


Sets of behaviors that are instrumental in the delivery of desired results Competency potential: the individual attributes necessary for someone to produce the desired behaviours Competency requirements: the demands made upon individuals within a work setting to behave in certain ways and not to behave in others Results: The actual or intended outcomes of behaviour



Great 8

Factor level


20 Dimensions

Competency level

112 Components
Behaviour level

The Great 8 Domains of Performance

Leading and Deciding
Takes control and exercises leadership. Initiates action, gives direction and takes responsibility.

Supporting and Co-operating

Supports others and shows respect and positive regard. Puts people first, working effectively with individuals and teams, clients and staff. Behaves consistently with clear personal values that complement those of the organisation.

Interacting and Presenting

Communicates and networks effectively. Successfully persuades and influences others. Relates to others in a confident and relaxed manner.

Analysing and Interpreting


Creating and Conceptualising

Open to new ideas and experiences, Seeks out learning opportunities. Handles situations and problems with innovation and creativity. Thinks broadly and strategically. Supports and drives organisational change.

Organising and Executing

Plans ahead and works in a systematic and organised way. Follows directions and procedures. Focused on customer satisfaction and delivers a quality service or product to the agreed standards,

Shows evidence of clear analytical thinking. Gets to the heart of complex problems and issues. Applies own expertise effectively. Quickly learns new technology. Communicates well in writing.

Adapting and Coping

Adapts and responds well to change. Manages pressure effectively and copes well with setbacks.

Enterprising and Performing

Focuses on results and achieving personal objectives. Works best when work is related to results and the impact of personal efforts is obvious. Shows an understanding of business, commerce and finance. Seeks opportunities for selfdevelopment and career advancement.

Hierarchical structure of the SHL UCF

Factor Level
2: Supporting and Co-operating 3: Interacting and Presenting 4: Analysing and Interpreting

Dimension Level


3:1 Relating and Networking

3.2: Persuading and Influencing

3.3: Presenting & Communicating Information

Component Level

3:2.1 Making an Impact 3.2.2: Shaping Conversations 3.2.3: Appealing to Emotions 3.2.4: Promoting 3.2.5: Negotiating Ideas

3.2.7: Dealing with Political Issues 3.2.6: Gaining Agreement

The dynamic model: Potential Competencies Results

Hard, lag measures:

1. Performance metrics 2. Track record Results

Soft, lead measures:

1. 2. 3. 4.

Motives Personality traits Values Cognitive abilities

Observable, now measures: Competencies Business Strategy Market Context

1. 2. Behaviours Skills


Behaviour & Performance

Leadership competencies are defined within the SHL Competency Framework. Potential is assessed using personality, ability and motivation measures with mapping to competencies. Behaviours and decisions are assessed through self- and other-ratings of competencies. Important that 360 focuses on behaviours and not on attitudes or likes and dislikes.


The Functional Model Developing the Vision - Strategic

Analysis of the situation and context and the development of a coherent vision of where to go and strategy for how to get there

Sharing the Goals - Communicating

Communicating the vision to others

Gaining Support Motivating People

Motivating others to contribute and identifying potential barriers to success.

Delivering the Success - Operational

Consolidating gains and keeping the change process going until the goals have been fully achieved.

SHL UCF Dimensions in relation to the four Leadership Functions

Transactional Management Focus
Developing the Vision

Transformational Leadership Focus

5.2 Creating & Innovating 5.3 Formulating Strategies & Concepts 7.1 Adapting & Responding to Change 3.1 Relating & Networking 3.2 Persuading & Influencing 1.2 Leading & Supervising

4.3 Analysing 5.1 Learning & Researching 8.2 Entrepreneurial & Commercial Thinking 3.3 Presenting & Communicating Information 4.1 Writing & Reporting 2.1 Working with People 2.2 Adhering to Principles & Values 6.1 Planning & Organising 6.2 Delivering Results 7.2 Coping with Pressure & Setbacks

Sharing the Goals Gaining Support Delivering Success

1.1 Deciding & Initiating Action


Outline of the study

Data collected using the SHL Leadership Potential and Performance Audit Combines personality (OPQ32), motivation (MQ), ability (various) assessments with 360 performance data (UCF20). Sample:
N=119 managers from a number of organisations. 28.4% middle managers, 45.5% senior managers, the rest directors or CEOs. Represent 13 job functions, with most in general management or human resources. Majority private sector: Banking, Pharm and biotech; Insurance.

360 ratings use strength scale from Outstanding down to Development opportunity. Each competency also rated for importance on a 4-point scale, from not relevant for job success to essential.

Results 1: Emergence

Personality shows significant links to the initial selection for the job and subsequent approval by people. People see as crucial for success in the job, those characteristics on which they rate themselves as effective. Cognitive ability was strongly related to leadership emergence those who get promoted into leadership positions are generally more intelligent and more motivated than those in the general managerial pool As one moves up the pipeline, people are more competitive, bottom-line oriented and cool-headed, and they display a stronger desire for a fluid environment without imposed structure.



Results 2: Effectiveness
As managers become more senior, they are rated as more effective at Developing the Vision
Female leaders rated as more effective on operational and people issues. Effectiveness in strategic planning shows an interaction between gender and level of management but n is too small for reliable interpretation.


Personality linked to ratings of effectiveness:

For subordinates this relates to ratings of leader effectiveness in the People, Communications and Operational domains: diplomacy, consideration, and integrity seen as important. Peer ratings most strongly linked to the Communication domain Line managers show link between Operational domain and characteristics like reserved, conscientious, conventional 16

The characteristics that advance a managers career along the pipeline are not necessarily what makes an organisation effective. Many of the factors associated with emergence and approval relate to the career development of leaders and equipping them for roles in other organisations. Need to shift the focus from the individual to the organisation. Current research is looking at how leadership experiences can be managed to develop leaders to fit organisations need rather than just progress the individuals career.