Leadership and Performance


Jun 02, 2020


Author: Peter Berry, Managing Director, PBC


Dr Robert Hogan’s “Managerial Competencies and Organisational Levels” is another lively blog from the world’s greatest business psychologist. Dr Hogan says, “I have always thought that leadership is the same at any level, but many people believe that the roles of managers, and the competencies needed to perform in those roles, change as they advance in organisations”. He then continues by drawing on literature written by Robert Kaiser, an expert in the field of leadership.

This is an interesting topic to analyse, and further to Dr Hogan’s insights, I would like to add the following. 

Our most recent Hogan 360 technical manual supplement contains information on 17,000+ managers. It provides key insights into the different strengths and opportunities. I have analysed where the most successful CEOs are different from the rest of the management cohort, supporting what Dr Hogan was looking into with different leadership levels requiring different management competencies.

Great CEOs have superior strengths around competencies associated with leadership, strategy and engagement. This fits very nicely with our model of leadership driving engagement and engagement driving performance. The points under these three meta competencies are the standout 360 strengths of the best, senior leaders.


  • Is competitive and determined
  • Is assertive and energetic
  • Has strong leadership skills
  • Sets high performance expectations
  • Sets clear goals and drives results
  • Has strong influencing and negotiation skills


  • Thinks about new long term opportunities
  • Is visionary and strategic
  • Communicates a long term vision
  • Sets long term stretch goals
  • Often suggests new and original ideas


  • Has the passion to make a difference
  • Motivates and inspires others
  • Works hard to improve morale
  • Brings a positive attitude to work
  • Is customer focused

On the other hand, middle managers are competent, hardworking and action oriented. I call this working ‘in’ the business with a focus on service and operational excellence. The great CEOs are working more ‘on’ the business, being strategic, not operational.

The great news is that leadership can be learned. It takes motivation, focus and lots of deliberate practice. The goal for any manager is to build a high performing team, relative to other teams. The outcomes should be employee engagement and business results. 

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