Scene from the Westeros Human Resources Department

Thanks for coming everyone. We’ve had some more . . . unexpected turnover in senior management, and need to consider some new candidates to sit the Iron Throne. You know what we say around here, chaos is a ladder.”

Our first candidate is Cersai Lannister. She has been filling the role on an interim basis, and is very keen to retain it. Cersai would be an internal promotion. She has a lot of experience in a supporting position to the throne. However, it is not clear she has a compelling vision for the realm, at least not one she has communicated to relevant stakeholders. Most subordinates report not feeling appreciated or inspired by her leadership. References are mixed, some find her cunning and effective. Other references also report concerns with her . . .  shall we say temperament?

Another very interested applicant is Daenarys Targaryen, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains . . . well, you can read the rest of it on her resume. She has rapidly ascended to a senior management position for our Eastern competitors. She has an aggressive plan for significant change, and has won over some key stakeholders . . . and burnt alive the rest. So some similar temperament concerns as with Cersai. Her leadership has also seen some difficulty continuing projects to completion, based on her tenure in Meereen.

Now, aside from the applicants, there has been another candidate nominated. Jon Snow, senior leader from the Northern branch. He has also rapidly ascended the ranks, and is highly regarded by his senior team. He seems to be a real Transformational Leader, compared to Cersai’s more transactional approach. He has very clear vision for the realm, but I’m concerned this focus on the so-called “Army of the Dead” is more a regional concern that may not translate to the position. And looking over his accomplishments, I wonder if he can keep this up, or if this has been a run of incredible luck. I’m concerned of a real “Peter Principle” situation with him.

I don’t know, I guess we can interview them, but I wish we had a way of getting a deeper look at these candidates?”

What’s the takeaway?

Relying on the personal perceptions of an interview, or looking at a candidates’ experience can miss the many other possible influences on their success (or failure). To know what they brought to a situation, and therefore what they might be able to do for you, you could benefit to better understand their personality, and what scientific research tells us about what is important in a leader.

  • Q: Are manipulation and deceit actually beneficial traits in leaders?

A: Research generally finds that leaders who use these underhanded tactics tend to create a hostile workplace for their employees, and are not successful in their endeavors. Although, there are a few studies that suggest that the more cunning (i.e., highly intelligent) can be as effective.

  • Q: Is it a coincidence that women in leadership positions often are described in unflattering ways concerning their personalities or temperament?

A: This is no coincidence. Research has long documented that many people have implicit biases that dispose them to find fault with female leaders. Typical leadership behaviors don’t look the same when we view them through the prism of commonly held gender stereotypes.

  • Q: Does “leadership style” really matter?

A: Research is mixed on the importance of so-called “leadership styles”. Contrary to explicit expectations, both “Transactional” and “Transformational” leaders seem to inspire about equal commitment in their employees. These so called “leadership styles” may not be defined or measured well enough, or may miss the more complicated reality that leaders use a mix of techniques that do not fall neatly in to one “style” or another.

Can AI help find the best fit Westeros Ruler?

Yes! And you are in luck because we’ve just conducted a very rigorous Game of Thrones “experiment” that utilizes some of our Talent Management AI features. Learn about the results of this “experiment.”

The science of leadership is extensive, and has not produced the sort of simple, straightforward answers hiring managers need. Cangrade’s Pre-Hiring Assessment does just that, measuring the critical dimensions of personality and giving you clear answers of where your candidate has the goods, and where they might fall short. Reduce the chaos in your hiring decisions, for the good of the realm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *