Research shows that employees dislike their jobs, don’t trust their leaders, and aren’t engaged. If you’re a leader — or aspiring to be one — you should be frightened. Are organizations in the modern world built for leaders to fail? Or can you overcome these leadership challenges, and if so, how? How can you become a better leader, if not a great one, in this environment?
For decades, the answer to those questions has been “competencies,” a psychometric-based method of assessing and developing leader behavior. Organizations figure out the competencies that leaders need to be successful, help them develop those competencies, and then measure those competencies in the organization. Competencies represent a multibillion-dollar industry, where armies of management consultants enter with their competency libraries to help define the “right” collection of behaviors and attributes required for leaders to be successful.
The problem is that this logic is inconsistent with how work actually gets done. Leadership does not happen in a vacuum; leaders are always acting within a larger organizational and social context. A leader who possesses the “right” competencies has no assurance of success;
Via David Hain