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Chris Young

Great post, and interesting research, Steve! Unfortunately the perception of a competent leader can often lead to an ugly organizational reality if leadership decisions are not made responsibly - thanks for sharing!

I have featured your post in my weekly Rainmaker 'Fab Five' blog picks of the week (found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2009/06/the-rainmaker-fab-five-blog-picks-of-the-week-1.html) to share your message with my readers.

Be well, Steve!

Becky Robinson

My personal experience certainly agrees with your research, Steve. I have read also, however, that a high percentage of upper level executives are introverts. Must be that these introverts overcome their preferences to assert themselves in order to emerge as leaders early in their careers. It is hard for me to speculate, though, since no one would mistake me for an introvert.

Thanks for another great post! And congratulations on your recent recognition.

Steve Roesler

Thanks, Chris. Always a treat to be featured on your special lineup!

Steve Roesler


Well, I don't know about the "introvert" thing statistically with upper executives, or the definition/psychological assessment used to identify that preference. My personal experience is that there is a variety of personalities in the executive suite, including those who might be described as introverts.

But that is the point of the closing in the post. The research and the bulk of the post is about what happens in unstructured, informal groups when it comes to a leader emerging and what that person does to be perceived as a "leader". In fact, the person may do nothing consciously at all; it's the group that attaches leadership characteristics as a result of the person's outspoken behavior.

In formal organizations moves up the hierarchy are more likely to be the result of specific performance, seniority, organizational politics, and other dynamics.

Wally Bock

Great post, Steve. The point about how groups attribute competency based on "outspoken" behavior is important. It gives us an idea of how easy it is to suggest that someone is a leader when all they are is loud.

But there are two problems with these studies. The first is that, in business, leaders are often not expected to have the highest task competency. In theory, at least, the leader is supposed to be the one who is able and willing to suggest direction for the group. In business those are often different than the task-specific knowledge. In the experimental setting, they're not.

There's another big problem with all these studies. They look at groups who are thrown together for a short period. Prior knowledge of each other is not necessarily part of their leadership equation.

In most business settings where the group chooses a leader, either in general or for a project, the group knows quite a bit about each member. They're usually quite capable of culling the leaders from the loudmouths.

Steve Roesler


Well, there seems to be some misunderstanding about the real point(s) of this post; your comment addresses both.

This is all about watching how leadership "emerges" in informal groups. The end of the post was supposed to be the caveat about leadership in formal, structured organizations.

It looks like I didn't make the distinction clear enough.

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