Presidential Leadership Competencies – Whether Political or Corporate
I realize we Americans are in what feels like one of the most politically polarized times of our 240-plus year democracy. And so it is risky to write a blog regarding presidential leadership competencies, but I assure you I will not go off onto any party-line biases. Instead, I’d like to consider the comparison of America’s presidential competencies to those of a C-suite executive at any corporation.
As an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist you are highly developed in the areas of psychological assessments that measure a variety of competencies necessary to successfully perform a job. With this education, an I/O Psychologist either designs or acquires assessments for testing applicants and incumbents against the competencies that are required for the position that they desire to fill. By receiving assessment results in addition to the interview and resume, the hiring manager has additional scientifically validated information to make a more predictive-of-success job fit decision.
And since being the President of the United States is a job, I have always advocated that a presidential candidate should also be tested against the competencies that are necessary to successfully fulfill the position of United States President. We test military, police officers, and many other candidates for positions, so why wouldn’t we do the same for political candidates? We want to select the candidate that best fits the job, right? Then the voter can make a more informed decision, just like the hiring manager is able to do.
So what are the required competencies of a President you might ask? Fred Greenstein, author of The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to Barack Obama, 2009 and Professor of Politics at Princeton University and Director of Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School program in leadership studies has identified six (6) qualities that relate to presidential job performance.
- Public Communicator – relates the outer face of leadership
- Organizational Capacity – relates to the inner workings of the president – his ability to rally his colleagues and structure their activities effectively
- Political Skill – relates to being a political operator – collaborating and influencing others
- Vision – the extent to which political skill is harnessed to a vision of public policy
- Cognitive Style – relates to the ability to process the Niagara of advice and information that comes President’s way
- Emotional Intelligence – the ability to manage emotions and turn them to constructive purposes, rather than being dominated by emotions and allowing them to diminish the President’s leadership
After setting up the argument for these six presidential competencies, the book reviews each of the Presidents since FDR to Barack Obama (edition four to include President Trump has not been published, yet).
But I’d like to take these very six competencies to ask ourselves, would these six at minimum be among possible other leadership competencies that are required for a CEO. And the answer is yes. Whether you look at the 15 competencies of a leader found in our Checkpoint 360 Leadership Feedback tool, or the Executive profile found in our premiere PXTS applicant assessment, or the fifteen dimensions found in our Leadership EQi assessment, we are able to assess for these six leadership competencies (plus many more). We provide these assessment reports to hiring managers every day to help them either hire or promote the best candidate into the C-Suite position.