Flavors of the Month - Des Moines Leadership & HR Management

February 17, 2020by Damian Lonsdale

Flavors of the Month: Tasty Treats, But Bad for Leadership
 
Have you heard?  The Shamrock Shake is back for a limited time at your local McDonalds.  Count me among the many who welcome this return with fond memories of the creamy, minty goodness that always used to arrive in early spring.  It holds a special place in my heart just like all the pumpkin-spiced treats that pop up every fall.
 
However, as much as we may enjoy favors of the month when it comes to food, we should beware of the same thing when it comes to leadership.  There is no shortage of leadership programs or methods that might sound appealing to the average businessperson, but have collapsed under the scrutiny of empirical research.  Take, for example, the Situational Leadership II model that prescribes an evolving pattern of directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating.  The central tenet is based on the very real notion that leaders must assess situations and adapt to their subordinates.  Overall the model is easy to describe and it has intuitive value, which is why it has enjoyed a great deal of popularity.
 
Sounds good, right?  Sure, except that replication studies have consistently failed to support the basic prescriptions of the Situational Leadership II model.  Researchers across the U.S. have tried and come up empty-handed.  In other words, what the model tells you to do simply doesn’t work with real employees.  Really, about the only thing that has ever come out of Situational Leadership II research is that women tend to appreciate supportive leadership and men tend to want more directive leadership.
 
This dearth of supportive research is a major problem, and a huge waste of time and money that plenty of organizations have fallen for.  (Just because a lot of companies have paid for a program does not necessarily make it a good one!)  And what about the popular Myers-Briggs Type measure of personality?  This also falls apart under scientific scrutiny and pales in comparison to what personality psychologists have long known to be the gold standard in the field, the Big Five Personality model.  The Myers-Briggs test might tell you “something” about an individual, but heed this warning: you do NOT want to be in a courtroom trying to argue the validity of the Myers-Briggs in selecting employees.
 
So watch out for fads and “flavors of the month” when it comes to management consulting.  Ask tough questions and don’t be fooled by something that lacks solid scientific standing.  The Shamrock Shake, on the other hand?  That’s an easy recommendation.

Damian Lonsdale

GET IN TOUCHDes Moines Leadership &
HR Management Consulting
FULL-SERVICE CONSULTING FIRMWest Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines Leadership is your locally owned, full-service consulting firm providing affordable leadership development training and human resource management solutions. I have over two decades of experience helping professionals from all fields and together we can boost employee engagement, motivation, retention, communication, teamwork, creative problem solving, and innovation. We will also create a stronger, more positive culture that is rooted in great relationships and creates better “bench-strength” when it comes to succession planning.
GET IN TOUCHDes Moines Leadership &
HR Management Consulting
FULL-SERVICE CONSULTING FIRMWest Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines Leadership is your locally owned, full-service consulting firm providing affordable leadership development training and human resource management solutions. I have over two decades of experience helping professionals from all fields and together we can boost employee engagement, motivation, retention, communication, teamwork, creative problem solving, and innovation. We will also create a stronger, more positive culture that is rooted in great relationships and creates better “bench-strength” when it comes to succession planning.