Cold Leaders Have a 1-in-2000 Chance to Make it to the Top 25%
I’m still grappling with the realization that kindness/warmth is inconvenient. I’d be kind if I had the time.
Thankfully, when I work with people or organizations, they are my agenda. But what if you’re not on my agenda?
Warm and competent:
Change your thinking if you believe gunslinger-leaders get to the top.
“If you’re seen as low-warmth, you have something like a 1-in-2000 chance to make the top quartile of effectiveness as a leader.” (1) Zenger & Folkman
Don’t sacrifice warmth on the altar of competence.
The first thing teams need to know is, are you friend or foe. Do you intend harm or help?
The second thing teams need to know is, are you competent?
Leaders worry too much about competence and not enough about warmth.
Two questions that determine warmth:
- What is your intent?
- Are you able to act on your intentions?
Trustworthy leaders are warm and competent.
If you must choose between warmth and competence to build trust, choose warmth. That’s not to say that incompetent leaders are trustworthy. It is to say that we are quicker to trust warm leaders.
Adam Waytz, “Warmth really predominates judgments of trustworthiness.” (2)
The seven practices of warmth:
- Help others reach their goals. This assumes you know the goals of others.
- Display optimism, but don’t minimize challenges.
- Follow through. Leaders who don’t follow through are seen as uncaring.
- Maximize the strengths of others through coaching and mentoring.
- Challenge people to reach high and support them on the way. Low standards aren’t warm or inspirational.
- Explain an intention, seek feedback, and change. “I’m working to display optimism. What am I doing that displays optimism? How might I improve?”
- Maintain a forward-facing posture. Don’t ignore the past. Just focus on the future.
What concerns you about displaying warmth?
How might leaders display warmth?
- I’m the Boss! Why Should I Care if you Like Me?
- Measuring Trust Through Competence or Warmth
- Susan Fiske – Youtube video (not quoted.)
- The Effects of Status on Perceived Warmth and Competence (Not used in this post.)
Yes warmth and empathy is a key ingredient in becoming effective as a leader. Recruiters often place more emphasis on qualifications, technical ability and experience as opposed to the ability to lead and inspire. Exceptional leaders do build trust and confidence early which in turn leads to superior performance in their team. Thanks Dan for this reminder.
Good Day, Carolyn. Our focus on competence, at least in some cases, makes us cold. It doesn’t mean we should ignore qualifications, technical ability, or experience. It means there’s much more to the story.
WHO we are is more important than WHAT we do.
Thanks, Dan! This is great! Might I add accessibility to the list of warmth factors? Mean to include in the an accessible demeanor, with all that implies.
Brilliant Randy. One way to do that is to schedule open door/closed door times. I’m not for a universal open door policy. Everyone needs protected time to get work done. However, an hour or two of open door time is one way to be accessible.
The other idea that comes to mind is to schedule walk around time. Even if it’s 10-15 minutes in the morning and 10-15 minutes in the afternoon.
Competence alone is best displayed on a battlefield. Warmth is best displayed with friendships and comradery, the latter of the two is best displayed with competence in the office. Untealistic expections will distory a friendship. Comradery side of warmth, we are in this thing together, let’s get it done to best of our combined competence. Team work at its best. Friendship, I’ll see at nine for coffee… Balance is the key!!!
Thanks for the insightful article, Dan. Nuggets of gold which I will follow to rebuild my school’s engagement and morale after “sacrificing warmth on the altar of competence”.