Can you spot an engaging leader in the crowd?

New research from Aon Hewitt suggests that personality has a big say in whether an individual is able to engage a team in their work

Can you spot an engaging leader in the crowd?
HR professionals are likely to already be using both some form of employee engagement assessment, and some form of personality profiling assessment. But do the two ever meet?

Predictive assessments have been a staple of recruitment for some time, but this has rarely – if ever – been applied to much beyond the recruitment space.

However, according to research from Aon Hewitt, it’s now possible to apply similar concepts to leadership development.

“Models of engagement where you’re just measuring engagement but are not connecting it to measures of performance either at individual, team or locational level create a barrier to the acceptance of engagement as a measure of people productivity and broad employee motivation,” said James Rutherford, principal within Aon Hewitt’s performance, reward and talent division.

Aon Hewitt’s research combined two of its areas of expertise: research on engagement, and employee assessment.

“What if we could look at a large number of leaders who create high engagement and understand more about them, in terms of personality, how their teams perceive them, and so on?” said Rutherford.

Three foundational pieces of information emerged from the study, which form the ‘intrinsic side’ of the model:
  • These leaders were able to identify a series of critical experiences – work history, particular periods in their lives or careers – that have shaped them and had a considerable impact on them as leaders.
  • They had a high degree of self-awareness and a clear sense of responsibility
  • These leaders also have an astute understanding of the importance of relationships
What was consistent was how these leaders brought their experiences and beliefs to bear in order to engage. They would:
  1. Step up and take the lead
  2. Energise
  3. Connect and stabilise
  4. Serve and grow
  5. Stay grounded
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