Doing the Leadership Tango by Irv Rubin at Government Executive on 21 January 2014.

This article presents the survey findings from the author’s leadership course.  Students were asked to rate, in order of preference, eight sets of behaviours that they found desirable in a boss.  From most to least desired, they are:

  • Prescribe
  • Ask
  • Inspire
  • Appreciate
  • Describe
  • Attend
  • Understand
  • Empathize

Based on the survey, it seems that what people want most is for the leader to be perfectly clear in providing directions and stating the desired outcome (25%).  I personally would have placed inspire before ask, but they are both at 18% so it’s a moot point.  Empathy is rated last at 0.6%, but that still means that for six people out of a thousand, this is the MOST important factor, so you can’t ignore it.

From a survey perspective, however, there is a potential for bias.  The respondents have come from a leadership course called “The ABCs of Effective Relationships”, and as such may be more heavily biased from a “leader” pool.  Would the answer be the same if the respondents came from a “follower” pool?

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