➢ The Power of Personal Warmth

personalwarmth

Executive Soft Skills

Here is a deceivingly simple concept to keep in mind when hiring executives. It’s one I have never seen discussed elsewhere, but “personal warmth” is a critical leadership skill, one of the most powerful, and it has been on our scorecards for 20 years.

Here is a deceivingly simple concept to keep in mind when hiring executives. It’s one I have never seen discussed elsewhere, but “personal warmth” is a critical leadership skill, one of the most powerful, and it has been on our scorecards for 20 years.

I maintain that personal warmth has determined the outcome of most of our presidential elections. Let’s face it, nobody likes a stiff, and this is true of acquaintances, presidents and of course, business leaders. There will be a few that people want to work for, do things for, succeed for, and others that are distant, aloof, rigid, cool and largely disliked. Most fall somewhere in the middle.

Personal warmth is a soft skill, and soft skills are what leadership is all about. Industry isn’t good at measuring soft skills, because they aren’t quantifiable, though the tools for doing so are certainly available (drop me an email or call if you would like more on this). Needed soft skills should be included in written job descriptions and interviewing outlines, but seldom are, and it requires intent and ingenuity to assess them in interviews. So most companies don’t try, yet given the alliance and relationship building required in the early weeks of a newly-hired executive’s tenure, and the need to overcome potential resistance from within the organization, this particular skill is critical.

If you ever meet a master of personal warmth, and there are precious few, you will know it immediately. He/she will focus his/her undivided attention on you exclusively and you will feel like the most important person on earth, at least during those few moments. And you will pay attention, because in this country at least, we just don’t encounter that level of caring from complete strangers. It is impressive and it’s powerful.

I am not talking about charm or charisma here. Both of those can be contrived and very often are, and they lack the genuineness that is characteristic of this trait. The questions you want to ask yourself after speaking with a candidate are:

Does he/she seem genuine?

Do you believe him?

Do you know who he is, what he stands for and cares about?

Do you relate to him?

Do you like him?

By the way, you may know people you personally don’t care for, but who you find effective. And people can compensate for shortcomings, but the problem is, if you don’t like him then neither do others, so his personal effectiveness is severely compromised.