Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders?

A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential

by Jeffrey Cohn , Jay Moran

Number of pages: 256

Publisher: Wiley

BBB Library: Human Resources, Leadership

ISBN: 9781118062203

About the Authors

Jeffrey Cohn : Cohn is Professor of Psychology at the University of "Pittsburgh" and


Jay Moran : Professor of Leadership & International Business at IES Barcelona. He specializes


Editorial Review

It is difficult to pick good leaders. Time and again, we complain about the quality of the men and women who run our companies, organizations, and governments. We bemoan their incompetence, their detachment, their lack of urgency. Inevitably we get rid of these leaders and move on to the next ones, usually with a bit of hope and excitement. Unfortunately the pattern repeats, and we find ourselves right back where we started, shaking our heads. Why does this happen? Why don’t we do a better job of picking effective leaders? For starters, the reason can be broken down into two areas: the “what” and the “how.” The “what” aspect refers to the particular qualities to seek in a potential leader. Should the person be empathic, smart, forward thinking, creative? Which attributes are most important? Once this question has been settled, the next hurdle is determining whether a candidate possesses the requisite traits. This is “the how.” Is the quality hidden? Is it measurable? Is the candidate bluffing? How can you fairly and accurately compare two or more candidates? 

Book Reviews

"From their work in succession planning and executive assessments, they have isolated seven leadership attributes that come up again and again, that provide the key to leadership success."Leadership Now

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Wisdom to Share

Charisma is a rather superficial quality; it doesn’t necessarily reflect what a person holds inside.

Good judgment essentially means good decision making.

Vision gives followers an overall purpose-a mission; it inspires them with a compelling image of the future.

Leaders need to understand their blind spots and weaknesses as much as their strengths.

History is full of men who might have conquered the world if only they could have conquered themselves.

Integrity is the fundamental attribute that keeps everything else secure.

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. IF you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.