Assessing Effective Leadership

Wednesday, 8. February 2017


By Alec Serlie, GITP, Rotterdam

The influence of managers and their leadership style is of great importance to the prosperity of organizations. Competent leaders have a positive influence on business outcomes such as income and sales growth, return on investment, and return on assets [1]. Furthermore, the literature on employee satisfaction shows that satisfaction means, in essence, satisfaction with supervisors. Overall satisfaction is primary determined by how employees view their supervisors [2]. On the other hand, incompetent managers, not only fail businesswise, but cause great misery for their subordinates, leading to stress and even health problems [3].

Based on these findings we can safely say that finding or developing the right managers is imperative for both business success and employee well-being. How does one go about such a quest? Literature shows us that the key lies in a combination of intelligence, personality and the right competencies. As for personality extraversion, but also humbleness are strong assets, whereas too high scores on ‘dark-side’ traits, such as boldness diminish the chances of success [3]. The ‘right competencies’ are manifold, but generally speaking behaviour relating to clusters of intrapersonal, interpersonal and decision making competencies are seen to be essential [4]. Within these clusters, Communication, Collaboration, Integrity, Critical thinking and Problem solving are not only powerful ingredients for successful managers, but are also seen as relevant and essential 21st Century skills [5].

One of the objectives of the DEVELOP project is to assess the present and potential level of transversal competencies. A transversal competence is defined as the extent to which it can be transferred from one job to another [5]. Leadership is one of these transversal competencies. Within DEVELOP we will be assessing the present and potential level of leadership, with the aid of the generally accepted methods such as personality measurement and peer review. Additionally, we will also be using state-of-the-art methods such as Social Network Analysis and Serious Gaming.


 " "

The concept of a serious game is to capture behavioural elements of leadership in a gamified setting, in such a way that it is sufficiently related to actual behaviour, but digitally measured in an entertaining and cost-effective manner. Such a method has proven to be valid, especially when the more traditional methods suffer from social desirability and faking [6].

A sneak preview of the leadership game the DEVELOP consortium is developing is below.



[1] Peterson, R. S., Smith, D. B., Martorana, P. V., & Owens, P. D. (2003). The impact of chief executive officer personality on top management team dynamics: one mechanism by which leadership affects organizational performance. Journal of applied Psychology88 (5), 795.

[2] Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: a meta-analysis.

[3] Hogan, R., & Kaiser, R. B. (2005). What we know about leadership. Review of general psychology9 (2), 169.

[4] Bartram, D. (2005). The Great Eight Competencies: A Criterion-Centric Approach to Validation. Journal of Applied Psychology,  Vol 90 (6), 1185-1203. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.90.6.1185.

[5] Voogt, J., & Roblin, N. P. (2012). A comparative analysis of international frameworks for 21st century competences: Implications for national curriculum policies. Journal of Curriculum Studies44 (3), 299-321.

[6] Dubbelt, L; Oostrom, J. K.; Hiemstra, A.M.F. & Modderman, J. P. (2015). Validation of a Digital Work Simulation to Assess Machiavellianism and Compliant Behavior. Journal of Business Ethics 130 (3), 619-637.