Take Me to Your Leader

Who's in charge? The ABCs of alpha behavior.

By Catherine New, published on March 1, 2007 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016

Hesitate Your Way Up

In organizations that value cooperation, people prefer leaders who speak with some hesitation. Language marked with doubt and qualification appears to indicate respect for the group.

Do You See What I See?

When asked to draw an "E" on their foreheads, those who feel most powerful are more likely to draw it backwards for an observer—a symptom of ignoring others' perspectives.

Who's in Charge?

In a situation where group consensus is important (like prioritizing desert survival gear), parties with randomly chosen leaders make better decisions—systematic selection can undermine group solidarity.

Head Trips

There are 35 self-declared leaders of "micronations" documented in The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations. The vanity territories range from a bedroom principality in Milwaukee to a backcountry precinct in Australia.

Presidential Personalities

Performance ratings for U.S. presidents are more closely tied to the head honcho's openness to new experiences than to his perceived extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, or emotional stability.

Temper Twist

When men in charge express anger, their perceived effectiveness increases. But female leaders need to watch it—when they lose their lids they lose credibility.

Catch the Charm

Big smiles and sustained eye contact are contagious. Folks who watch leaders express charismatic behavior also become outgoing.