People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 39

In our view, typical perceptions of leadership potential
are often biased in favor of loud and charismatic personalities, but such people are often unable to inspire individuals to work as high-performing teams. Leaders with such
personalities often excel at politicking and self-promotion,
which explains why they are often nominated as HiPos despite their limited potential for leadership. This article outlines a framework for helping organizations improve their
HiPo interventions and increase the future representation
of talented leaders in their workforce. Our starting point is
to define leadership adequately.

What is Leadership?

Most of the great human achievements in history have
been the result of large-scale cooperation: e.g., digging
the Panama Canal, constructing the Egyptian pyramids,
establishing the United Nations in 1945 to prevent world
wars, and building the international space station. These
accomplishments would have been impossible without
effective leadership, the process that persuades people to

Good leaders can turn a group of
B players into an A team;
bad leaders turn a group of
A players into a B team.
set aside their selfish agendas and work as members of a
coordinated group to achieve something beyond the capacity of single individuals (Hogan & Kaiser, 2005; Van Vugt,
2006). Good leaders can turn a group of B players into an A
team; bad leaders turn a group of A players into a B team.
Good leaders encourage employees to identify with group
goals while simultaneously pushing them to new heights of
performance, including superior financial results (Kaplan,
Klebanov, Sorensen, 2012; O'Reilly, Caldwell, Chatman, &
Doerr, 2014). Conversely, bad leaders negatively impact employees and organizations and create poor financial performance even while often profiting personally (Kaiser, Hogan,
& Craig, 2008).
Western notions of leadership tend to glorify individual
outcomes (e.g., the leader's career success), while ignoring
the effects that bad leaders have on their teams and organizations (Hogan & Kaiser, 2005). We think that definitions
of leadership effectiveness - and how organizations think
about leadership potential - should focus on the performance of the group rather than the career trajectories of individual executives. Similarly, HiPo identification programs
should focus on candidates' ability to enhance the performance of their teams, mostly by encouraging cooperation
among the members. As Charles Darwin (1871) observed, "a
tribe including many members who were always ready to aid
one another, and to sacrifice themselves for the common
good, would be victorious over most other tribes, and this

would be natural selection" (p. 132). Consequently, it is not
enough for HiPos to emerge and be noticed, they should
also have the talent needed to create a high-performing
teams and units (R. Hogan, Curphy, & J. Hogan, 1994).

How charismatic HiPos hurt organizations

People who call attention to themselves are most likely to get
noticed. As a result, when HiPo nominations are primarily
based on intuitive personal judgments, HiPo talent pools will
be tilted toward charismatic hard chargers. However, charisma
is often correlated with narcissism and psychopathy (O'Boyle,
et al., 2012). Although there are many uncharismatic narcissists (Woody Allen), as well as people who are both charismatic and humble (the Dalai Lama, Pope Francis), narcissism and
charisma often go together (e.g., Donald Trump, Steve Jobs,
Silvio Berlusconi). And the scientific research is quite clear-
narcissistic CEOs ruin companies (O'Reilly, Doerr, Caldwell, &
Chatman, 2014). They create volatility in their firms' financial
performance until exhaustion sets in. The first well known
publication to make this case was Jim Collins' legitimately
famous book, Good to Great. The high performing CEOs in
Collins' study were notably modest and reluctant to call attention to themselves - they were humble, but effective leaders.
In reading Collins' study, one wonders how his humble CEOs
ever got their jobs in the first place.
Organizations compound the problem by evaluating
leadership using supervisors' ratings and track records for
rapid promotions (Church, Rotolo, Ginther, & Levine, 2015).
Industrial psychologists have studied supervisors' ratings for
years, hoping to find some rationality and objectivity, but
supervisors' ratings are stubbornly subjective, biased, and contaminated by politics. Managers usually know who they like,
but they often don't know who is doing a good job. Although
they confuse being a high-performer and being rewarding
to deal with, many high-performers who get stuff done are
cranky and hard to live with, and therefore they receive low
performance ratings.
Consequently, judgments of potential are inevitably tinged
with judgments of how much the person is liked by peers and
supervisors (Marinova, Moon, & Kamdar, 2013). Our point
is that persons designated as HiPos may or may not have
leadership potential, but they almost always have effective
impression management skills, which results in high ratings
from their bosses, and in turn, promotions. However, the
skills needed to get positive performance ratings from one's
line manager are quite different from those required to build
high-performing teams. In other words, there is a clear difference between impression management skills and leadership
talent, except when it comes to HiPo nominations, which
confound both.
In contrast with charisma, there is a link between humility
and leadership. Recalling Collins' high performing CEOs
were humble; many highly effective leaders were/are also
notably humble. We are thinking of such military legends as
Horatio Nelson or Ulysses S. Grant, politicians such as Angela
Merkel or Michelle Bachelet, business legends such as Warren
Buffett or Zara founder Amancio Ortega, and legendary
sports coaches such as Greg Popovich and Bill Belichick.
VOLUME 41 | ISSUE 1 | WINTER 2018

39



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1

From The Executive Editor
From The Guest Editors
Perspectives
So You Want to Be a High-Potential?
How to Identify and Grow High Potentials: A CEO’s Perspective with Proven Results
Getting the Right People in the Hi-Po Pool
Wherefore Art Thou All Our Women High-Potentials?
Are Your HiPos Overrated?
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover1
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover2
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 1
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 2
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 3
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - From The Executive Editor
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - From The Guest Editors
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 6
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 7
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 9
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 10
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 11
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 12
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 13
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 14
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 15
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 16
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - So You Want to Be a High-Potential?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 18
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 19
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 20
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 21
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - How to Identify and Grow High Potentials: A CEO’s Perspective with Proven Results
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 23
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 24
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 25
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 26
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 27
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Getting the Right People in the Hi-Po Pool
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 29
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 30
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 31
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Wherefore Art Thou All Our Women High-Potentials?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 33
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 34
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 35
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 36
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 37
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Are Your HiPos Overrated?
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 39
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 40
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 41
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 43
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 44
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 45
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 46
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 47
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - In First Person
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 49
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 51
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 52
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 53
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 55
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 57
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - 58
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover3
People & Strategy Winter 2018 Vol. 41 No. 1 - Cover4
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