Common Mistakes Employers Make When Considering Candidates for Leadership Roles

A very common belief is that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. But all that past performance shows is that the person was able to do what was demanded in the past; it says nothing about what the person could do with new challenges.

Another is hiring someone who looks like me. People like people they can communicate easily with, and feel that a common background reduces uncertainty about who this other person is – which is not an effective way to choose leaders.

A third example is not defining well enough what a company is looking for. You need to know the challenges that the person is going to have to deal with. For example, many investors do not have experience leading the sort of company they have invested in, and so they lack a feel for the challenges of dealing with the rest of the management team, customers, and even the other investors.

Advertisements

Seven Traits and Skills Related to Active Coping

Looks Good on Paper pic

Looks Good on Paper
Image: amazon.com

Dr. Leslie S. Pratch holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. With more than 20 years of experience evaluating executive candidates, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch is the author of the book LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Using In-Depth Personality Assessment to Predict Leadership Performance (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2014).

In LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Dr. Leslie Pratch describes a concept called “active coping,” which is often predictive of effective leadership:

“Active coping is an attribute of a healthy personality structure. That means that the ‘activity’ is not always overt and observable; sometimes it takes place internally, in decisions made, visions developed, conflicting drives resolved. An active coping stance, however, often gives rise to certain observable traits and skills. These include:

Awareness. Active copers are able to see reality, including their own needs, capabilities, and limitations.

Courage. Active copers are brave. They seek out new experiences; they are not intimidated by challenges.

Resiliency, toughness, and the ability to learn from experience. Active copers, like all humans, make mistakes. Life is too complicated to anticipate every possible contingency. After a setback, active copers regroup and recover.

Energy, fortitude, and the willingness to persevere. Active copers summon their energy and continue to move forward even under the most trying circumstances.

Resourcefulness. Active copers invent solutions to problems by creatively pulling together the resources they have at hand.

Decisiveness. Active coping gives a person the fortitude to handle conflicts among competing goals. Making a choice means giving up an alternative. Active copers face that loss and move on.

Executing a Plan. Active coping involves planning. Active copers anticipate, strategize, and weigh the risks of potential actions. Then they act. Active coping combines introspection and action.”

Four Personality Assumptions Used in Assessing Coping Stance

 

Looks Good on Paper pic

Looks Good on Paper
Image: amazon.com

A licensed clinical psychologist, Leslie S. Pratch leads Pratch & Company, a consulting firm that assesses the personality and overall functioning of business executives to predict their future performance as business leaders using its Active Coping Assessment system. In her book, LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER? Using In-Depth Personality Assessment to Predict Leadership Performance (Columbia University Press, 2014), Leslie S. Pratch examines the four assumptions her coping assessments make regarding personality.

1. Personality is a theoretical constructs, not a concrete object. Even so, the complexity of a personality can still be assessed scientifically.

2. Using the correct methodology and training, it is possible to predict the effects that personality has on decision-making.

3. Though some aspects of a personality can be changed with concerted effort, the degree to which such changes are possible is limited. Personalities act as a function of a person’s individual history, with childhood playing a particularly foundational role. This restricts the extent to which a personality can be reshaped.

4. A personality operates on the unconscious, semi-conscious, and conscious levels, each of which affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts.

Leslie S Pratch pic

Pratch and Company – Coaching and Mentoring

 

Leslie S Pratch pic

Leslie S Pratch
Image: pratchco.com

As the president and CEO of Pratch & Company, Leslie S. Pratch oversees the day-to-day operations of this professional service firm, serving as a psychological advisor to private equity businesses. With nearly 20 years of experience in clinical psychology, Leslie S. Pratch directs Pratch & Company in providing programs such as coaching and mentoring for professional firms.

The coaching and mentoring program of Pratch & Company assists executives who are coming up through the company ranks in improving their performance levels, and teaches the skills that are needed for advancement within companies. Coaching and mentoring is provided by a network of experienced CEOs who desire to help create new talent in various industries.

Coaching and mentoring starts by using Pratch & Company’s Active Coping Assessment program to evaluate an executive’s ability to adapt his or her personality to the requirements of the position desired. The coaching and mentoring program helps potential executives create a plan to prepare for an executive position.

Looks Good on Paper pic

Four Domains to Assess in a Potential Portfolio Company Manager

Looks Good on Paper pic

Looks Good on Paper
Image: amazon.com

A graduate of Northwestern University with a PhD in clinical psychology, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch is the founder and CEO of Pratch & Company. Over the course of her career, she has assessed candidates for top leadership positions and has written extensively on the qualities that make executives successful. In May of 2015, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch published an article on this subject titled What Do You Look for in a Senior Executive?

In the article, Dr. Leslie Pratch outlines four domains to assess when considering a potential portfolio company manager: judgment, influence, management, and personality. The article defines the judgment domain as follows: “Judgment includes all of the technical, professional/intellectual and creative capabilities that let people make sense of the world around them — to see the forest for the trees; analyze complex data; break problems down into their component parts; reach logical conclusions; and generate alternative and new solutions so that they can understand, assess, and determine what needs to be done.”

The article describes the influence domain in the following way: “Influence includes the communications, interpersonal, persuasion, and political competencies that allow someone to work effectively with clients and colleagues: to explain, persuade, sell, cajole, network, negotiate, and lobby so that they can successfully influence others and gain their support to get things done. Influence involves gaining support while lacking formal authority.”

Dr. Pratch goes on to describe what to look for in the management domain: “Management covers project and people management — planning, organizing, scheduling, monitoring, and controlling work; developing, counseling, and directing people; building teams and resolving conflicts so as to ensure services are delivered, results are produced, and projects are completed on time.”

Lastly, the article discusses the personality domain as follows: “Personality includes personal traits and tendencies such as drive, self-confidence, decisiveness, tenacity, flexibility, and resilience. All of these enable individuals to meet and overcome the stresses, challenges, conflicts, and obstacles that may affect performance in the other three domains.”

By evaluating potential leaders for the competencies within these domains, portfolio companies have a better chance of putting the right leaders in place.

Leslie S Pratch pic

Effective Human Capital Management Yields Results

Leslie S Pratch pic

Leslie S Pratch
Image: pratchco.com

Author and businesswoman Leslie Pratch has dedicated her career to understanding and assessing leadership qualities in executives. In an article for the European Financial Review entitled “Serious Human Capital Management for Seriously Good Performance,” Leslie Pratch discusses the necessity for private equity firms to monitor their leadership teams as closely and carefully as they do other aspects of their companies. Knowing the CEO and all the people who report to him or her can help avert disasters down the line and also can positively impact returns.

For some firms, the article recommends hiring a part-time human capital advisor. The person in this position “gets to know the managers, and with them, conducts a structured analysis of their jobs. With the manager, the advisor identifies key targets and metrics and documents the relationships that will be crucial for the manager’s success.” With the help of data from psychological assessments, the advisor focuses on building relationships, developing managers, and helping the investors achieve their goals.

Leslie S Pratch pic

How Experience May Not Tell the Whole Story of a Job Applicant

Leslie S Pratch pic

Leslie S Pratch
Image: pratchco.com

As founder and CEO of Pratch & Company, Leslie Pratch helps investors, management committees, and company boards assess potential candidates based on psychological resources and personality strengths. In a recent article for The European Financial Review, Leslie Pratch explained how assessments can detect personality traits that impact leadership abilities that may not be evident by looking at a resume.

The article demonstrates the value of assessments by sharing the example of a CEO named Jack, a successful corporate attorney who was heading a start-up in a fragmented distribution industry. While Jack had experience, assessments found that he had a reactive and avoidant coping style that was likely to undermine his effectiveness as a leader. Pratch explains: “This passive coping compromises the quality of his judgment to the point that would put the venture at risk. Unfortunately, the issues most likely to make his business successful … are precisely the issues likely to bring out his passive coping.”