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Leadership Readiness: Do You Measure For Fit?

Originally posted: December 1, 2011 on TrishMcFarlane.com

As a speaker at The Conference Board’s recent Senior HR Executive Conference, I had the opportunity to hear several other HR leaders speak about their approaches to development of their leaders. One speaker that caught my attention was Susan Schmitt.  Susan is the SVP of HR at Rockwell Automation.

While most organizations focus on leadership capabilities as they develop their management team, Susan shared a story of an exercise she went through in which several HR leaders from various companies found that the leadership capabilities they used at their organizations were almost identical to each other.  With that knowledge, Rockwell decided to look beyond the capabilities they were using and determine what ultimately drove successful leaders.

Instead of focusing on just the core leadership capabilities, they added elements that focused on fit:

  • Skills, knowledge, experience and education-  These are traditional core leadership capabilities you look for in any organization.  Still highly important, but you need to take it a step further.
  • Information processing capability- Ability to manage the complexity of the work.  This element determines if the leader, or potential leader, can handle increasing levels of volitality, uncertainty, complexity and abiguity in their work.
  • Temperament- This is the point that Rockwell began to diverge from the traditional leadership capabilities.  They use specific techniques to focus on extremes in behavior that can inhibit or derail the leader’s success.  If it is found that someone has a temperament that is not conducive to successful leadership, they work on that capability or they are not promoted to the next level.
  • Commitment-  Does the leader value the work and demands associated with the role?  If you cannot answer this in the affirmative, then you will not have long-term success with this leader.

While not widely used grouped in this way, I believe that Rockwell Automation is on a path to building successful leaders.  What elements does your organization use to determine the temperament or commitment of your leaders and people on the leadership track?  Would you prevent someone from being promoted to a leadership role if they did not have the temperament to deal effectively with people?

Share your ideas, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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