The Psychology of Leadership
Strategy vs Culture
If an organization has a well-defined strategy that includes a detailed vision, mission, values, self-assessment (SWOT), and a well-structured list of objectives, the Leader's personality is likely to have a less impactful presence. In most cases, it is possible to teach a quiet person to act outgoing. Behavioral research concluded that it is often problematic to teach an egomaniacal narcissist to consider others.
In all the discussions about group structure and group dynamics, it is crucial not to be fooled by sales speak and hyperbole. Don't drink the Kool-Aid without validating the truth or be fooled by a false premise through faulty inductive reasoning. (See decision making) Always focus on setting a path that is rooted in fact and reason. Every business must create value while delivering a product or service to a customer. The leader-manager must honestly validate their firm's value proposition.
Authors Note about Successful Teams
It is interesting to observe the importance of communication and interpersonal dynamics when examining successful teams. Far too often, activities fail because of poor communication and a weak understanding of behavioral and organizational dynamics. Communication is more than posting a sales goal. A leader with a dynamic personality may be adept at one-way communication but not possess the ability to listen. Communication requires authentic interaction among managers and employees to develop a shared alignment, trust, and a unified commitment to accomplish the goal.
Strategy, Leadership, and Hiring the Right People
People are essential to implementing a well-designed strategy. The strategic objectives must be understood and applied by the employees responsible for completing the task under the supervision of leadership. Both leadership and the employee must be able to understand the complexity of completing the tasks and be able to actually implement the task.
The essence of internal assessment is to identify the knowledge skills and ability present within the firm to accomplish the objectives. If the existing staff does not have the capability to achieve the goals, then the leadership must identify the right person's composition to enable the firm to complete the task.
The right person is typically considered based on a functional skill-set. Yet researchers have concluded that finding the right person is best addressed by identifying new employees who innately embrace a philosophical alignment where the prospective employee shares the firm's value statement. To achieve long-term profitability, the capability of the staff to accomplish the task's requirement is a broader assessment than simply an exact skill-set alignment. Hiring the wrong person that is good at the job but misaligned with the firm’s values and culture is likely to create a cancerous result.
The components of the right person include aptitude, attitude, and ability. Aptitude is generally a reflection of intelligence such that a person with a strong aptitude is likely to learn any skill. Attitude is considered a function of the person’s worldview. A firm's values statement represents its worldview. The extent to which a person intrinsically embraces the firm's values statement, the higher the degree of attitude alignment. A person with an attitude aligned with the firm's value statement is likely to fit philosophically within the firm. Ability is the knowledge and skill to complete a task without additional instruction. A person with an aligned attitude and a strong aptitude is likely to learn any skill required to complete the job.
It is generally best to hire the right people (Attitude, Aptitude, Abilities) then put them in the best position, provided leadership is able to provide instruction as needed. It is this priority of hiring the right person that has helped to make Southwest Airlines a national success.
It is ideal to assess the personality type of current and prospective employees. A Big 5 personality test is easy to access over the internet. The dynamics of the Big 5 personality content and cross-over is a topic for another article.
Side note - Workforce dynamics, personality alignment, and the psychology of leadership are some of my favorite topics to discuss. Feel free to email me and we'll find a time to talk about psychology.
Dr. Schell and the MBS Financial Services team helps firms implement an authentic leadership style.
MBS Financial Services supports the following areas:
Growth Strategy – We can help you plan and execute a growth strategy.
Hedging & Pipeline Risk Management - Dr. Schell can help explain how hedging functions, the benefits of hedging, and the risks associated with the activity. See blog posts.
Technology must align with a firm's strategic objective. Every mortgage lender's technology infrastructure significantly impacts its customer experience and employee workflow. MBS will help select, configure and deploy the best technology solution.
Executive Development - Leadership is a learned skill. Dr. Schell can teach you to be an amazing leader, an effective manager, and an inspiring coach that can foster a vibrant culture.
Accounting Services – Dr. Schell, CPA, leads the accounting services team to become your outsourced accounting department. This alternative makes more and more sense for companies wishing to focus on their core business and also want trustworthy accounting and financial reporting support.
About Dr. Schell:
Dr. Andy Schell, DBA (Ph.D.), MSML, MBA, CPA/CFF, CMB
Dr. Schell is CEO, Managing Partner, and Co-Founder of Mortgage Banking Solutions and the Founder of MBS Financial Services ("MBS"), based in Austin, Texas. Dr. Schell is known for his ability to turn "vision into reality" and "chaos into order" as he finds creative solutions to the challenges his clients face addressing Revenue Stability, Technology Enhancement, Financial Management, and Workflow Efficiency.
He has 4 decades of experience as a strategist where he has directed the activity of both small and large groups of employees including mortgage lending activity at Bank of America. His leadership knowledge extends from his hands-on experience and his professional designations as a CPA and a CMB, and from his doctoral examination of employee dynamics given leader stimulus and strategic communication.
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Doctor Schell the Profit Doctor