The Seven Judgements All Leaders Face
You may not like it, but you’re being judged all the time.
Get used to it.
Understand how people judge you, if you expect to succeed.
7 judgments all leaders face:
- Do you care about me? (Kindness)
- Do you seek the best interest of others and our organization? (Servanthood)
- Can I trust you? (Character/Honesty)
- Do you connect? (Friendliness)
- Can you deliver what you promise? (Power)
- Can you lead? (Skillfulness)
- Do you comprehend challenges and opportunities. (Intelligence)
The seven judgements distill into two essential qualities, warmth and competence.
Choose to be liked.
Warmth comes before competence when being judged as a leader. Don’t rely on competence as your exclusive leadership calling card. Soft qualities come before tough.
Work first to connect then demonstrate competence.
Competent, but cold leaders, invite pity; warm without competence, ambivalence.*
Warmth and nonverbals:
- Smile. Polite smiles aren’t enough. Warm smiles create wrinkles around your eyes, crow’s feet. The sad truth is, the higher you go in an organization, the less you smile. Don’t be too important to smile.
- Lean in.
- Raise your eyebrows.
- Turn toward people but don’t move into their space.
- Mirror. When people smile at you, smile back, for example.
Competence and nonverbals:
- Shake hands firmly and establish eye contact.
- Don’t touch yourself or wring your hands.
- Walk with purpose.
- Stand still.
- Stand with your feet apart.
- Take up space.
Why nonverbals matter:
People make decisions about your inner-being by watching your outer. It may seem shallow, but it’s still true. Be sure your external self reflects your internal, if you don’t like being misjudged.
I’m not suggestion you pretend you care when you don’t. I’m saying, if you care, tell your face.
How might leaders demonstrate warmth?
How might the soft and hard aspects of leadership be brought together?
*This post is based on, “The Dynamics of Warmth and Competence Judgments, and their Outcomes in Organizations,” by Amy J. C. Cuddy, Peter Glick, and Anna Beninger.
Leaders demonstrate warmth by asking the right types of questions, by using people’s names, and by using proper manners in both online and in-person communications.
Thanks Carmen. Great add!
A very important topic – thanks as always for expanding my considerations. As I read this post, the boss in the movie, “Christmas Vacation” came to mind. I realize it’s a movie and a comedy also – the characters are exaggerated. The boss certainly had no warmth – until the happy ending (of course). In fact, the brother with little in the way of competence had a lot more warmth!!!
Thanks John. What challenges me today is the over-use of competence and the under-use of warmth. Maybe because warmth seems weak and competence seems strong. It’s unfortunate that we sacrifice the one for the other.
Very interest & useful post.
I endorse your views on paying a better attention to some of the soft skills while at work to maintain long-term relationship with respect while remaining competent as a leader. This is the best way to build a good organization climate & culture. I may add that this is what employees look for to remain more satisfied and productive. The leader has to demonstrate such things to win the confidence of fellow colleagues and subordinate staff while building a good winning team with repute and competitiveness.
A good leader with humility is like a winning horse for the long-term run. The corporate world is tough and full of challenges for any leader to succeed. In such a situation, the soft skills will take an upper hand assuming that all other ingredients are perfectly matched to taste the continuous success.
Thanks Dr. Asher. You introduce “long-term” into this discussion. It’s a light bulb in my head. Of course! We can get by on competence or warmth in the short-term. But, the long term view suggests the deeper value of enduring relationships couple with competence.
An interesting and thought provoking post as always. I’m not sure about “Competent, but cold leaders, invite pity.” It sounds like you are referring to competence as a leader which begs the question can leaders who are cold be competent leaders? My instinct is “No” if you are talking about technical competence, I specialise in working with technical experts to become outstanding leaders by developing their emotional intelligence. Of all the emotions they invite I wouldn’t have pity as top of the list. Would love to hear more of your thinking behind this.
Thanks Julie, I see where you are coming from. For this post, competence might be equated with being skillful at analyzing data. But, taken from your point of view, it’s hard to think of a competent leader who is also cold.
These are excellent examples that relationships matter in leadership. Since most of these require face-to-face encounters, how do you see these qualities lived out for tele-workers that communicate mostly by email and phone calls? Love your blog and twitter about it weekly.
A good extension to the basic thoughts of winning the heart of people with right good soft skills demonstration. A leader in IT & Technology field and other industries where face-to-face interactions are limited needs to connect with own co-workers using telecommunication and internet medium. The basic art of showing the intimacy and concern for people can come through a crisp polite communication every time with the strong message of achieving results . It is more of building the confidence of people by conveying the trust and caring aspect to build a climate of success.
I agree. How do you teach people those soft skills (at a distance) for those who seem to lack them?
Effective written & verbal communication can take the role of influencing the employee staff to rejuvenate their efforts in the right direction. Sharing of small video clips on essential skills demonstration, providing useful books & materials and learning from the success stories & interviews with own managerial staff can boost the morale and help imbibing new skills.
Thanks Daryl. The issue of tele-workers is important when it comes to warmth. There is no substitute for face-to-face. Having said that, I like using traditional social media channels to deepen connections.
What suggestions do you have?
I liked the 7 judgements list. Cystal clear and to the point and can easily relate.
Thank you! I have followed your blog only a short time and admire how you distill important themes so effectively. This one reminds me of physicians a lot. We need to demonstrate both competence and compassion in order to heal, which is leading, in a sense. It also applies to teachers, which physicians are, also. Looking forward to learning more from you!
Thanks Dr. Cheng. You expand this topic. Your language “competence and compassion” is a great way to think about leadership. I’m looking forward to learning from you.
A basic good approach of focusing more on soft skills is applicable in all fields where people are guided by competent leaders/experts. It’s more true in business where the top management is responsible and accountable for the organization growth in a competitive environment. They as leaders carry a bigger task of taking the entire employee staff together for fulfillment of the organization goals.
The competence and capabilities checks are done at the time of hiring people but their development comes with necessary exposure and experience. The touch of good soft skills can bring in the qualitative aspects of performance. Leaders set the example and push HR to create a good organization climate where people enjoy their work, keep the internal & external customers satisfied with value based service support and add to the integrity of employee staff for the long-term period.
If you care, tell your face – love that Dan, it’s so wise!
I love this-and can only add that true courtesy, whether in person or in verbal communication, can go a long way to bringing the warmth. To use an old-fashioned term, “good manners”, i.e. being able to put people at ease, while treating everyone with dignity and respect, matter.
Very nice post!
Warmth (consideration) and competence (initiating structure) are the basics of effective supervision. One cannot thrive without the other. Leaders provides consideration and managers supply the competence; of course, we have to be both leaders and managers.
This also reminds me of referent power (connection) and expert power (competence).
Richard Rodriguez, PhD