Talentsage, Wednesday 12 August 2020
In times of uncertainty, threat and change, people look for a strong leader to guide them through rough waters, fear and the potential scarcity of resources. David Henderson and Randall S. Peterson examine what it means to be a strong leader.
Being perceived as “strong” is critical to emerging as a leader in these situations as well as to keeping the leadership role once you have it. What does it mean, though, to be perceived as “strong”?
If you ask bosses or employees about strong leadership, they will typically talk at a high level about a leader’s character and competence. Some might even argue that they know a strong leader when they see one, but do we have the ability to train individuals to exhibit the “strength” people want to see?
The short answer is: yes, in many ways we do. The field of organizational behavior has, for decades, conducted research to determine what it means to be viewed as “strong” enough to ascend to important leadership roles, particularly in times of uncertainty and change. It is not an exact science, but it does give us some clear direction with at least four ways to think about leader strength.