Friday, July 18, 2014

Active Copers Make Effective Leaders

Leslie Pratch is a clinical psychologist who has evaluated many candidates for senior executive positions at large companies.  She argues that one trait distinguishes the successful candidates from others who do not fare well.   She argues that effective leaders are adept at "active coping."  What does she mean by that?   According to this article in Fortune, "By active coping, Pratch means the ability to adapt creatively and effectively to challenges and change. An active coper quickly recovers from setbacks, opens up to the people around her and is aware of her own motivations, strengths and shortcomings."    What is a sure sign that someone is not an effective active coper?   Pratch argues that we should beware of narcissists (no surprise there!).   Narcissists are not very self-aware, and therefore, they struggle to cope with ambiguity and challenges to their authority or expertise.  I think the concept sounds interesting and quite reasonable.  Having said that, I am always highly skeptical of individuals who try to boil success and failure down to one trait or one causal factor.  That's far too simplistic.  

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