Electing leaders

Uncategorized Nov 08, 2016

With more than 200 nations across the world there will regularly be election days. Who better to assess for leadership effectiveness than candidates for presidency, prime ministers or other heads of states. We would want the best!

It would be quite interesting to have a look at all these candidates based on a proven universal model for leadership. Let's have a try with a price winning 360 deep leadership assessment tool.

The Leadership Circle Profile


The Leadership Circle Profile (TLC)  is based on such a model, which itself is founded on more than 30 years of research and best practice derived from a database of more than 50 thousand leaders across the world. It measures a person's creative capabilities versus reactive tendencies, which again give a scientifically tested indication of that person's leadership effectiveness and leadership potential utilisation. 

The best leaders

The best leaders are the ones who obtain the best results through outstanding performance. They are also the ones who obtain a high score in the TLC-Profile, which will typically look like a MUSHROOM (upper convex) showing high levels of creativity and low reactivity. The least effective leaders will obtain a BOAT-profile (lower concave or dished) representing high reactivity/low creativity.   In between these you will find a variety of profiles showing strengths and weaknesses at a glance.

The best leaders score higher than 66 on Leadership Effectiveness and higher than 66 on Leadership Potential Utilisation. They will also attain high scores on Relationship-Task Balance and on the Reactive-Creative Scale. 

Some details of the TLC graphical results

The profile can be visualised with all its aspects on one single page. This means the leader's actual and potential performance according to him/herself,  evaluators and the best practice database is visible at a quick glance.  As I just mentioned, we want to find the good 'mushrooms' and the 'boats' with most development potential. 


Creative capabilities

The upper level creative capabilities are all about:

  • Relating:  caring, connecting, fostering team play, collaborating, mentoring, interpersonal intelligence

  • Self-awareness:  selfless, balanced, composed, life-long learner
  • Authenticity: integrity and courageous authenticity
  • Systems awareness:  community concern, sustainable productivity, systems thinker
  • Achieving: strategic focus, purposeful visionary, decisive and achieving results

Reactive tendencies

The lower level reactive tendencies are grouped into:

  • Complying: conservative, pleasing, belonging, passive
  • Protecting: distant, critical, arrogant
  • Controlling: autocratic, ambitious, driven, perfectionist

 To avoid any bias for this specific category of leaders I strongly advice You keep any judgment of political goals or visions aside from your assessment. We only want to benchmark the head of state candidate for his or her leadership effectiveness!  Will he/she be a good leader for his/her nation, given a predefined vision and purpose ?

The best head of state

The best head of state would be the person who:

  •  Has an highly adequate interpersonal intelligence level, connects with all citizens and cares for them.  
  • Has a will to collaborate with the opposition, with leaders of other nations as well as with the other power institutions, assuming the country has adopted the principle of separation of powers 
  • Stands out with a selfless, balanced, composed persona
  • Demonstrates curiosity and desire for learning
  • Holds him/herself courageously to consistent moral and ethical standards
  • Is aware of systems complexity, aims for sustainable nation productivity while considering the related global effects 
  • Has a strategic focus for the nation as a whole, shows decisiveness and has a proven record of achievements

No need for a superhero

We shouldn't expect any leader to be a superhero, being human is all we can demand from anyone. Adults all come with some personal level of reactive defense and coping mechanisms. An effective leader needs to be conscious of these and ensure his reactiveness doesn't interfere excessively with his creative abilities.


The  voters should consider or reconsider their voting, and the candidates consider mitigation initiatives or  reconsider their candidacy if the following prevails:

  • The candidate decisiveness and overall community concern seems obstructed by his/her passivity or eagerness to please in order to retain his/her belonging to some group
  • The candidate keeps too much of a distance from stakeholders   
  • The candidate is overly critical in too many situations
  • The candidate displays signs of proud contempt of others, or puts forth exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power
  • The candidate insistently tends to impose his/her will on others
  • The candidate sets unattainable or excessively high performance standards
  • The candidate is boundlessly overdriven

 Healthy vs unhealthy defense mechanisms

The reactive tendencies are for a great part unconscious. Personal learning and self-development will however contribute to higher self-awareness, including improved consciousness of excessive reactions. Those defense mechanisms come with varying levels, from the low pathological and immature ones up to high level mature defences.

This may be a more unknown topic for some of you, but of great importance. I am convinced that level of defence is correlated to level of self-awareness while opposite correlated to level of reactivity.  I would strongly suggest that a candidate showing signs of higher level defence mechanisms should be prefered over one with lower ones.  In practical llife this means I would reject a candidate who  is in denial, acting out on impulses, passive aggressive, fantasising or projecting own negative characteristics on others, e.g.  a candidate who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.

Ideally, the candidates for such important positions  should be subjected to a thorough 360 leader assessment, with the results published or candidacy approved to ensure suitability. In the real world we can only hope for enlightened voters. As for you, you now have the possibility on the next upcoming elections to weigh the candidates based on the above mentioned criteria.

Most important: don't forget to use your right and privilege.




Friendly yours,

Lise Strand Bjarkli

Strategic Leadership Consultant, Managing Director, Certified Leadership Circle Profile Practitioner 


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