Debate Scorecard for Hiring the President: How to Evaluate
Leadership competencies to evaluate the presidential candidates.
Posted Oct 21, 2016
Now that debates are over, how will you decide on whom to vote for in this important election? This is our hiring assessment for the top job in the country.
As we move past the presidential debates and get more inundated with commercials, what and who are you to believe or trust? As a psychologist, leadership consultant and master executive coach, every four years I get discouraged and disgusted with our leadership role models intent on negative campaigns, acting like adolescents and instilling basic fear about the opposing candidates.
Here I want to give you the second scorecard to help you be more objective about your decisions using some of the Emotional Intelligence leadership competencies and identified derailers. This is the second of a two part blog. In the first one, I addressed the trust issues with a scorecard and then in this blog have added other leadership competencies to a larger scorecard where you can rate the candidates.
The first three competencies have been identified by David Gergen, author of Eyewitness to Power and advisor to Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and a political analyst today. They are Character, Ambition and Judgement. The others competencies are from my experience working with emotional intelligence and leadership; Trust, Likeability, Inspirational Leadership and limiting key Derailers. Each of these competencies influences the others, they all overlap.
We Don’t Like to think, at least Not Much or Deeply
Epictetus the Greek philosopher (55-135 A.D) said, “The conviction of our ignorance and gullibility ought to be the first subject of our study.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) said, "Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
As we said in the first blog we are great at thinking fast, we don’t like to think slowly because we are cognitively lazy. For this election and after viewing these debates we do want to evaluate the candidates slowly, reasonably and objectively. The Debate Scorecard helps you slow down versus being on autopilot or only listening to the pundits versus listening to yourself.
What you focus on is critical. Robert Cialdini in his new book, Pre-Suasion, writes, “…whatever we can do to focus people on something –an idea, a person, an object-makes that thing more important to them than before.” Here we want you focus on key attributes that you can make your decisions around.
Dan Ariely, in Predictably Irrational, discusses how we make decision errors. This is a good check list to see which of these are most common for you. Circle the ones you use the most in your decision making.
- Thinking too positive: Minimize negatives, confirmation bias, wishful thinking, optimism bias and errors in attribution.
- Thinking too negative: Magnification of negatives, minimizing positives, filtering, control fallacies, illusion of control, and underestimating uncertainty.
- Thinking too little or Not thinking at all: Jumping to conclusions, taking shortcuts, my thoughts are facts, selective abstraction, overgeneralization, labeling, and mislabeling.
- Relying too much on emotions or emotional flooding
So here are the five leadership characteristics and two major derailers to rate the candidates on. You can also use this to rate other candidates or your direct reports in your organizations.
Character. Webster 's defines as “The way someone thinks, feels, and behaves: someone's personality." One way to think of it, I have heard do they do the right thing when no one is watching? In speaking about character, Gergen didn’t comment on Clinton’s impeachment, but did note that “what he lacked so often was a true north. He lacked a moral compass.” Clinton explanation in his book about Monica Lewinsky incident was, “I did it because I could.” Impulse control is a major derailer we will cover below.
My company’s name is True North Leadership and we took that from some of the early work of Stephen Covey. Your “True North” really is your values that are unchanging, like the compass where the red needle always points to north. It is dependable. When lost or confused you take your compass out to reorient yourself. Your values do the same thing to orient you how you make your best decisions in line with what is most important to you?
As you think of the candidates do their values who and what they represent align with yours.
How would you rate each candidate’s character, from 1- 10, where 10 is high?
Ambition. Webster's defines as a particular goal or aim: something that a person hopes to do or achieve. Obviously to want to be president takes an extremely ambitious person. Do you feel that you are included in their ambitous goals? Are you a passenger on their bus to the desired destination?
Gergen states, "Ambition can be an overused strength especially if the people and empathy take a background to one’s ambition." We see this every day in organizations.
How would you rate each candidate’s ambition?
Judgment. A big topic in the debates. Webster's defines it as “an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought, the ability to make good decisions about what should be done.”
Think of this one as an equation as you think of rating the candidates. Both have very public records and we all make mistakes, what percent of their decisions have been good? In the debates they have attacked each other’s judgments on decisions going back 40 years or so. Definitely past the expiration date but will be used as data on each other’s judgment.
Gergen uses Nixon as an example of bad judgment. “If that were all there was to Nixon (His trip to China), he would have been a great president, but there were demons within him he could not control,” Gergen said, citing Nixon’s “very, very dark side.” The man was genuinely “paranoid.”
How would you rate each candidate’s judgment?
Inspirational Leadership-.How are they able to inspire hope and excitement for their message. Do they move you emotionally? People are motivated more by their heart then the head. This is a pull versus a push.
Zenger and Folkman in their book The Inspiring Leader looked at 100,000 assessments of 8,000 leaders found that: “Inspiring and Motivating others to High Performance is the leadership behavior most differentiating high and low performers.” Their model has 16 competencies and this one is very similar to the EI model of Inspirational Leadership. Certainly our new President needs to inspire and motivate us first to vote for them and next to get behind their agenda for the country once elected.
So what does it take to be “Inspiring & Motivating?”
Zenger and Folkman came up with 3 attributes that you can think how the candidates fare on these.
Be a Role Model
To do this they need to Lead through example i.e. “do anything you see me doing.”
They need to selectively model behaviors that need to be emphasized in the country.
Be a Change Champion
“It is the ability to persuade and to relate to others; to understand their fears and doubts; to convince people of the need to change.” Both candidates are trying to convince us of their view of the world and how to make it better.
Outcome orientation: It’s the results of change that matter. Can they bring home the results they speak about? Change champions recognize those who make it happen— and they will do it again
Be an Initiator
“Get the ball rolling—get in front and make things happen (bottom 10% of leaders don’t do this). This takes more energy to get something moving than it does to keep it moving.”
Delays, cancellations, needless gridlock and bureaucracy make any work environment un-motivating—the one leadership skill that can be the key to solving these kinds of organizational problems is taking the initiative.
How would you rate the candidates on Inspirational Leadership?
Likeability. This characteristic has always played a part we want our leaders to be likeable. Both candidates have been low on this trait.
Kenneth Walsh of US News states that…” presidents play such a big part in our lives, and Americans are so enamored of positive personalities in public figures that being likable has become an indispensable quality for a candidate to have. Ever since I started covering national presidential campaigns for U.S. News in 1988, the more likable candidate has won.
In The Washington Post, Dana Milbank notes there’s a subtle difference between how a female is perceived when she demonstrates command versus how a male is perceived when he displays authority. “There’s a trade-off for Hillary Clinton in terms of showing warmth and showing strength....The tougher she presents herself as a leader the less likeable she becomes,” wrote Milbank. “People often don’t think about it. It’s not conscious. .
How would you rate the candidates on Likeability?
Impulse Control: Where did your IQ points go?
Think of the recent decision making of Ryan Lochte, and Major General David Haight and General David Petraeus in sex scandals. In my book Leading with Emotional Intelligence there is a chapter called "Self Control or Impulse Control.
Below is an excerpt.
One reason why Emotional Self-Control is so critical to focus on is that it is fragile and thus can be lost in a second with devastating effects.
Emotional Self-Control is demonstrated by a leader being able to manage impulsive and/or distressing feelings. Leaders who are competent in Emotional Self-Control are able to stay composed, calm, and unflappable in stressful situations, regardless of the environment. They have control of their emotions versus their emotions controlling them. Leaders with Emotional Self-Control think clearly while under pressure. Their IQ and executive functioning stay intact.
Henry Thompson states, "Stress may reduce the leader's access to his or her full EI ability." Thompson had similar findings when using an emotional intelligence assessment: the "stressed-out" mindset had an average total score again almost one standard deviation (13 points) below the normal group. Not only is leader dealing with EQ points they are temporarily dumber, operating with less IQ points
When stress is high, as it is in most organizations, it is critical that the leader be able to manage his or her stress as well as the teams. Leaders who are unable to manage their stress fall into the EQ, IQ Brain Drain Loop. When their EQ goes down it affects their IQ and their cognitive decision-making abilities. Thompson has stated that a "high stress environment would be expected to restrict leaders' access to their full EQ and IQ potential."
How would you rate the candidates on Impulse Control, where 10 is high?
Smartest Person in the Room Syndrome. Have to be right all the time, married to your own ideas and are not open or distrusts new ideas. When a person has this they don’t listen to others and are pushing their ideas on others. They are basically very irritating to communicate with as it is their way or the high way.
So in scoring this to fit in our scorecard, the opposite of the Smartest Person in the Room syndrome would be a high score in Humility. If you feel they are exhibiting the derailer “smartest person in the room syndrome” then they would have a lower score on humility.
Debate Scorecard for the Presidency: Leadership
Rate each candidate on 1-10, where 10 is high using your best judgment.
Trust HC DT
· Publicly admit mistakes
Humility/Smartest Person in the Room Syndrome
Look at your scores and think slow and hard about who you are hiring for the President of the United States.
Ariely, D. (2010) Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, New York: Harper Perennial
Cialdini, R. (2016) Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade. New York: Simon and Schuster
Gergen. D. (2001) Eye Witness to Power. New York: Simon and Shuster
Heath, C. and Heath D. (2013) Decisive. New York: Crown Publishing Group
Hay Group (2001), Emotional Competency Inventory, Boston, MA.
Kahneman, D. (2011) Thinking: Fast and Slow, New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Nadler, R.S. (2011) Leading with Emotional Intelligence: Strategies to Develop Confident and Collaborative Star Performers. New York: McGraw-Hill
Thompson, H.L. (2009) “Emotional Intelligence, Stress, and Catastrophic Leadership Failure TM, in Hughes, M., Thompson, H.L., Terrell, J.B. Handbook for Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence, San Francisco: Pfeiffer,
Walsh. KT. |US News, The Likability Factor Contributor Feb. 27, 2015.
Zenger, J. and Folkman, J., (2009) The Inspiring Leader: Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing.
In Leading with Emotional Intelligence there are over 100 strategies that leaders can do to increase and sustain their performance. A few micro initiatives can have a macro impact. For free EI tools go to: www.truenorthleadership.com/ei-central