The Consultant's Desk

The Consultant's Desk
Poring over the details on your behalf

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More About Women Leaders

Women and the Leadership Q (2001)
Shoya Zichy
ISBN 0071352163 - Hardcopy

Having read another book on women business leaders, it was a little disappointing to find The Leadership Q did nothing innovative in profiling and discussing the 38 women in this book.

What is good is that author Shoya Zichy was able to get interviews of 38 women leaders compared with the five who were profiled in the other book I read. Another thing that is good about it is that the women who are presented are about as diverse as you could imagine in terms of background, ethnicity, focuses and professions. Another commendable part of the book is the leadership test presented at the beginning of the book. Since the copy I used was from the library, I didn't dare take the test by marking the book. There was a thought about copying the pages in order to have my own, personal inventory. Maybe I'll do that another day.

The resources appendix is exquisite. I'd love to keep those pages as well and then develop some program to update the information.

But as I leafed through the profiles of each of the women, what I found was a flattering look at her individual style and a bit of her history. There was no unifying study of which personalities were very similar or alike, which demonstrate this type of trait described in the personality test compared with another, which style predominates among the 38 women studied.

Perhaps that was because the author realized that each personality is unique and cannot be easily compared with any other. Women leaders cannot be catalogued and categorized, just as men leaders cannot. Each has their own style and that style adapts with the audience and setting and circumstances that are present at any moment in time in addition to the action that demands to be taken (or withheld) in that instance. It just depends on what's going on at the moment that you encounter the person.

While this would have been a wonderful resource for my article about finding women management and executive candidates, it didn't supply the meat needed. While I wanted it to be useful for my webinar on finding women board members and senior management candidates, it proved to not be so. Why? Because there simply is nothing in it that tells you what to expect of a woman leader. Why? Because that depends on what the woman brings to the table in terms of past development and experience as well as the dominant parts of her personality.

So when you're looking for the model woman leader, first ask yourself what you need. Then start looking for candidates who display those attributes. You'll have developed a slate of winners.

Would I put this book on my bookshelf? No. But, as I said earlier, there are two sections I'd definitely like to have in PDF form for quick and easy reference.

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Books on Career and Executive Recruiting Advice

How to Ace a Personality Test

Ace the Corporate Personality Test (2001)
by Edward Hoffman, Ph.D.
ISBN 0071359125 - Hardcopy

While the premise of the book's title sounds too good to be true, this book is more for the business side of the hiring desk instead of the applicant/candidate side. What is useful to both is the history and science of assessment tests, the philosophies of psychological experts through the ages, and the analysis of these things. After that, you may as well close the book and say you learned some things that were useful.

It's well written and engaging. But the passage on page 10 (of a 95-page book) was the one that stopped me in my tracks and stopped any further reading of the book. The passage says, "In short, psychologists strongly agree that our personality remains stable throughout life and resists major change." In other words, there is nothing we can do to change our personality.

We can consciously decide to work at being a better, more attentive, higher evolved individual. But our personality is the product of many internal and external impacts from the womb to the present. While we may be able to create the most desirable person ever on paper, as day-to-day interactions evolve, the true person will be revealed.

The natural propensity to lie, steal, cheat, subvert, feel inadequate will always be there, no matter how many personality tests say we are otherwise. Conversely, the propensity to seek harmony, more meaningful answers, a more complete fulfillment of a project will push forth through a determination to be hard-nosed. If these are part of the natural personality, they will always be there.

Dr. Hoffman goes through the remainder of his book by showing us various aspects of the personality test in order to explain what some answers indicate and why. Here, his presentation is most beneficial to hiring managers and interviewers because he talks about, for example, conscientiousness and integrity and what aspects of answers to certain strategically phrased questions will reveal those traits.

The end of the book provides a sample personality test. If you're into taking tests in order to know what to expect, then this section is for you.

Would I put this book on my bookshelf? If there were some way that the first 20 to 25 pages could be condensed and put into nugget form, I'd do it in order to have the explanations available at my finger tips. It's very useful. Otherwise, I'll let someone else try to ace the personality test that presents the false image.

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Books on Career and Executive Recruiting Advice