Although capability and expertise are undisputed characteristics of successful leaders, there are some traits that truly differentiate a good leader from a great one. According to Loran Nordgren, an associate professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School: “a leader’s overall effectiveness is predicted more by warmth than competence” (Nordgren, 2017). To quantify this predictive characteristic, a leader with a “low-warmth” classification only has “a 1-in-2000 chance to make the top quartile of effectiveness as a leader” (Nordgren, 2017).
Why Do We Value Warmth?
Warmth is a characteristic that humans inherently assess in initial introductions. In a study conducted by social psychologists, it was found that first impressions hinge on two contributing factors of interpersonal warmth: trustworthiness and likeability (Nordgren, 2017). This poses the question: why do we value warmth? In a previous blog, we discovered this digital age spurred a widespread sense of loneliness, thus by integrating genuine warmth into your leadership style, you can create more meaningful and lasting relationships with your co-workers. For example, leading your team through troubling situations or taking risks to help teammates who need support are ways you can convey your warmth (Nordgren, 2017).
Warmth and Engagement
Leaders with genuine warmth won’t convey it on occasion: this will be something that is ingrained into their character. As a result, warmth has the power to shape and mould a team’s culture, and fuel engagement. According to the Conference Board of Canada’s Employee Engagement Model, an employee’s confidence in senior leadership and relationship with their manager are the two most influential factors of workplace engagement (Cooper & Jackson, 2017). By conveying your trustworthiness and likeability, your resulting warmth will motivate and impact your workforce while simultaneously combatting the global loneliness epidemic.
The Engagement Index
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Cooper, J., & Jackson, S. (2017, February 1). Talent Management Benchmarking.