Boardroom lottery

September 14, 2012

What are your chances of reaching the top of the career ladder based on your gender, age, ethnic group and more? Play the OU Boardroom Lottery challenge to find out:

Boardroom Challenge 

The challenge was inspired by Hilary Devey’s Women at the Top BBC2 TV series.


Leadership: boring vs charismatic!

May 19, 2012

Is ‘boringness’ the secret of great leadership? Read:

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/05/boringness_the_secret_to_great.html


Fairy tales and predicting good leaders

August 8, 2011

“A common phenomenon and problem in leadership practice concerns undue reliance on popular fads without sufficient consideration given to the validity of those ideas…” Click on the link below to read a very good review from Amazure Consulting for the evidence on cognitive tests, personality, situational judgement, emotional intelligence and interviews being ‘effective’ predictors of leadership ability.

http://www.amazureconsulting.com/files/1/39199746/FairyTalesFactsPredictingLeadershipEffectiveness.pdf


Leadership: the bland leading the bland

July 8, 2011

There’s the usual angst in the air about: (a) the importance of effective leadership, (b) but that it seems impossible to find enough good leaders, and (c) that we don’t really know what it is anyway. Oh, and that the whole subject is at the mercy of fads and pseudo-science; and organisations believing that leadership is all about stability when it’s actually about change and risk.

Try reading this for some interesting thoughts: http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hr/features/1019726/leadership-the-bland-leading-bland-time-radical


Must see videos for entrepreneurs and leaders

June 30, 2011

These are good, inspirational and thought-provoking videos, compiled by Timothy McGee. Take a gander:

http://tgm1215.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/4-must-see-videos-for-entrepreneurs-and-leaders/

PS: Haven’t got a ‘mantra’ yet? What have you been doing?! Click on the above!


The entrepreneurs of identity

March 19, 2011

As business psychologists we spend a great deal of time trying to identify leadership. And to help us there’s a mighty army of personality and leadership questionnaires, as well as numerous books that claim to pinpoint the ‘habits’ that distinguish successful leaders from the rest. In contrast there is little on the way in which leadership can grow from a leader’s role as part of a group.

Less I-ness, more we-ness

The group perspective on leadership, or the ‘social identity’ approach to organisational psychology, works on the premise that our sense of self isn’t fixed. It exists on a continuum that runs from self-interested personal identity (‘I-ness’) to group orientated social identity (‘we-ness’); with our position being determined by social context. What is more we tend to act on an individualistic basis when we compare ourselves to an ‘in-group’, such as one composed of our work colleagues; whereas when the comparison is with an ‘out-group’, such as a competitor, we are far more likely to act in a group-orientated manner.

Who are we?

It follows that if social rather than personal identity is better at explaining what we do in groups, then measures of the latter, such as personality questionnaires, are not going to be good predictors of behaviour.

In terms of leadership it also seems likely that a concentration on the individual isn’t the answer. If leadership is about group behaviour then it’s really about creating a shared identity that binds the group together. Thus true leadership is about helping to create, shape and sustain a sense of ‘who and what we are’.

What happened to my charisma?

Those that are masters at creating shared identity are also likely to be described as charismatic. However if charisma is dependent on the management of group identity, then if you lose your ability to shape this identity your charisma will evaporate – an effect that can be readily observed in the world of politics!

Overall then, perhaps there’s one expression that sums up social identity and leadership: great leaders are the entrepreneurs of identity. And what they do is to help us create our perception of who we are.

Note: The expression ‘entrepreneurs of identity’ is probably best attributed to Alex Haslam and Steve Reicher. If you’re interested in this area you might also like to read Alex Haslam’s book, Psychology in Organizations: The Social Identity Approach, published by Sage.

Picture credit: Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net


Psychology of leadership

January 4, 2011

What traits do you need to become a great leader? Is leadership ‘in the blood’ or can you train people to develop the right skills? Catch Carolyn Quinn’s new two-part BBC Radio 4 series on the Psychology of Leadership starting tonight, January 4th, at 9:00pm. Second part on January 11th, with repeats! Also available on BBC iPlayer.

Details: http://goo.gl/13TlP


Can introverts lead?

November 18, 2010

Watch this video interview. The expert is Francesca Gino who is an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School.

Can introverts lead?

It lasts just over 9 minutes.


A great book on organisational behaviour!

July 2, 2010

If you want to read a contemporary book on business psychology that spans individual, group and organisational behaviour, which gives you an idea of how psychological thinking has developed in these areas, and brilliantly covers the options for HR and OD practitioners, Eugene McKenna’s slight little 816 page tome is the one for you: Business Psychology & Organisational Behaviour, Psychology Press (2006). Seriously, if you would like to know what it’s all about, this is a very good place to start.


Big bad boss

June 26, 2010

Have you noticed the websites that are popping up telling you how do deal with ‘difficult’ bosses? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that surveys suggest 50% are incompetent! Here are a few sites to browse:

One of our jobs as business psychologists is to try to spot the dodgy boss, those that really are validating the Peter Principle (that people tend to rise to their level of incompetence), and to work out what to do…


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