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Using the Hogan Assessment Suite to Develop Leaders

Session presented at the APA Division 13 (Society of Consulting Psychology) midwinter conference, San Diego, CA, February 2015.

This session includes four presentations that collectively demonstrate how Robert Hogan’s Socioanalytic theory of personality can inform the development of managers into better leaders. It features an overview of the theory, empirical research support, and application models for helping managers cultivate strategic self-awareness.

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Follow Through, The Key to ROI in Executive Coaching

Symposium presented at the 26th Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Chicago, IL, April 2011.

Many wonder about the value of coaching. The skepticism is partly due to the emphasis placed on insight. Although psychologists focus on feedback and self-awareness, the impact of coaching hinges on following through by translating insight into action. This session features four seasoned coaches who share their tips and tricks for beefing up the backend of coaching by maximizing transfer of learning, engaging coworkers and organizational systems, and using technology-enabled tools for keeping leaders focused on executing development plans.

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Filling Your Leadership Pipeline, One Manager at a Time

Invited webinar delivered for Human Resource Executive magazine, May 2011.

This webinar summarizes recent research that shows too many executives lead more like middle managers—which disengages their people, compromises their teams and lowers company performance. The presenters, Robert Kaiser and Darren Overfield review what’s required to lead effectively at both the manager and executive level—and why it’s so difficult for managers to reinvent their leadership to suit higher-level job demands. Also presented is a scalable methodology for helping managers make a successful upward transition.

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The Leadership Pipeline: Fad, Fashion, or Empirical Fact?

Session presented at the APA Division 13 (Society of Consulting Psychology) midwinter conference, Las Vegas, NV, February 2011.

Perhaps the single biggest idea to affect leadership development and talent management over the last decade has been “the leadership pipeline” concept. This model assumes that what it takes for managers to succeed is different for jobs at the bottom, middle, and top. Thanks to books like The Leadership Pipeline and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, the idea has become wildly popular in practice. It is the conceptual basis that many admired organizations use to implement selection-and-development systems, and that many consulting psychologists use to frame the developmental challenge for newly promoted executives.

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Assessing and Developing Adaptable Leaders for an Age of Uncertainty

Session presented at the APA Division 13 (Society of Consulting Psychology) midwinter conference, Scottsdale, AZ, February 2010.

Today’s hyper-competitive, fast-paced, and rapidly changing global economy puts a premium on adaptable organizations and flexible leaders. Even advertising campaigns celebrate the “agile enterprise” and channel the spirit of “constant self-reinvention.” But how can consulting psychologists help managers become more nimble, fleet-footed, and flexible leaders? This session features three distinct, but related, perspectives that explore the role of dealing with ambiguity, the mastery of opposing but complementary leadership approaches, and learning agility.

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Peer-Reviewed Papers

Framework for Developing Leadership Teams

Overfield, D. V. (2016). A comprehensive and integrated framework for developing leadership teams. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 68, 1 – 20.

This article presents a practical and research-based framework that consultants can use to promote systematic action in response to the complex challenges of developing leadership teams. The leadership-team development framework (LTDF) has 3 parts (a qualifying phase to determine whether a team-development intervention is necessary; an intervention phase comprised of the activities of establishing structures and processes, improving team dynamics, and coaching in real time; and an evaluation phase to see whether the intervention was successful in improving team effectiveness); it is carried out with a 5-step implementation process. Describing each of these aspects and illustrating them with examples drawn from the research literature on teams and from the author’s extensive experience in consulting with teams, this article demonstrates that the LTDF is distinct from other team frameworks by being comprehensive, drawing on a variety of approaches and perspectives, and integrative, connecting outcomes to methods. A concluding section discusses the potential of the framework to help consultants who are working with leadership teams.

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The How and the What of Leadership

Kaiser, R. B., McGinnis, J. L., & Overfield, D. V. (2012). The how and the what of leadership. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 64, 119-135.

Psychological theories view leadership as a social-influence process, where leaders use interpersonal behaviors to motivate followers to contribute to group goals. On the other hand, business-oriented models emphasize the leadership of organizational functions such as strategy, structure, staffing, and work systems. In this paper, this distinction is considered as representing the interpersonal how and the organizational what, respectively, and the two perspectives are viewed as complementary ways that leaders can impact organizational performance. A study is presented to test relationships between behaviors indicative of the how and the what and measures of leadership effectiveness. Based on ratings of 421 senior managers from 4,670 superiors, peers, and subordinates, the results demonstrate the significant contributions for both the interpersonal how and the organizational what in predicting perceived leader effectiveness and the unique routes through which they affect team performance. Implications for research and practice are discussed in terms of integrative, multidisciplinary approaches to understanding and improving leadership.

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Differences in Managerial Jobs

Kaiser, R. B., Craig, S. B., Overfield, D. V., & Yarborough, P. (2011). Differences in managerial jobs at the bottom, middle, and top: A review of empirical research. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 14, 76-91.

It has become popular in the practices of leadership development and talent management to segment managers at different organizational levels in order to focus on the unique requirements thought to characterize jobs at each level. This movement has been spurred by popular books that emphasize differences in the nature of managerial work at different hierarchical levels. Seemingly independent of popular work in this area has been scientific research to describe differences in managerial jobs across organizational levels. The present article summarizes the extensive research literature on level differences in managerial jobs in terms of three broad generalizations: The number of distinct management levels, five different ways to characterize work at each level, and how radical differences in work at each level pose adaptive challenges to managers who transition into positions of greater authority and responsibility. The article closes with commentary on the current state of theory and research and offers suggestions for future research needed to guide and support practice.

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Strengths Overused

Kaiser, R. B., & Overfield, D. V. (2011). Strengths, strengths overused, and lopsided leadership. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 63, 89-109.

Riding the growth of positive psychology, strengths-based development has become a popular approach to helping managers become better leaders. This school of thought advises managers to maximize their natural talents rather than try to correct weaknesses. This article takes issue with this advice and considers how it can, ironically, lead managers to turn their strengths into weaknesses through overuse as well as cause them to neglect shortcomings that can degrade the performance of employees, teams, and organizations. Hypotheses are developed about the relationship between specific personal strengths and leadership behaviors as well as the joint tendencies to overdo behaviors related to one’s strengths while underdoing opposing but complementary behaviors. Strong support was found for the tendency of managers to do too much of the behaviors related to their strengths and more modest support was found for the tendency of managers to do too little of opposing but complementary behaviors. The implications of these findings are discussed in terms of future research needs and how to apply the strengths approach in a way that minimizes downside risk in developmental applications.

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Leadership Value Chain

Kaiser, R. B., & Overfield, D. V. (2010). The leadership value chain. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 13, 164-183.

There is little question that leadership is vital to organizational effectiveness; however, our field lacks a comprehensive model of the processes and intervening factors that explain the link between individual leaders and organizational performance. This paper concerns an evidence-based framework, the Leadership Value Chain, that traces the characteristics of individual leaders to their leadership style; leadership style to impact on team and unit processes; team and unit processes to team and unit results; and team and unit results to effectiveness across a broad range of organizational-level performance measures. The point of the Leadership Value Chain is to identify the sequence of key variables and considerations that relate individual leaders to organizational effectiveness. Of all the things we could consider, these are the things that we must consider to determine the value of leadership. Examples are used to show how this framework can provide a heuristic for thinking strategically about key leadership-investment decisions and organizational-development interventions.

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Mastery of Opposites

Kaiser, R. B., & Overfield, D. V. (2010). Assessing flexible leadership as a mastery of opposites. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62, 105-118.

Because flexible leadership is vital to organizational adaptability and performance, it is important to measure flexibility to identify leadership potential and to guide the development of managers. The most common method for measuring the flexibility of managers involves coworker ratings to survey items that ask about general tendencies for a manager to change behavior in response to changing situational conditions. Unfortunately, there are significant limitations to this approach. This article discusses an alternative method grounded in complexity theories of organizations and leader behavior. In this view, flexible leadership is conceptualized as the mastery of opposing but complementary behaviors in terms of how one leads as well as in terms of what organizational issues a leader focuses on. The mechanics of assessing this conception of flexible leadership are described in detail along with a demonstration of its ability to predict leadership effectiveness. Pros and cons associated with applying the mastery-of-opposites approach are discussed along with suggestions for how consultants and talent managers can use it.

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