Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders? A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential
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More About This Title Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders? A Better Way to Evaluate Leadership Potential


Silver Medal Winner, Business and Leadership, 2012 Nautilus Book Awards

Almost 70% of Americans believe that we are suffering from a crisis of leadership, but rather than asking, why are leaders failing, we need to ask, "Why aren't we choosing better leaders?"

Ever wonder what goes on behind closed board room doors when organizations pick their top leaders? It can be a contentious, secretive, even brutal process. Most of our leaders look good on paper—they have charisma, credentials, and confidence—yet they lack the real qualities that are necessary to succeed. In Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders?, Cohn and Moran share the same insights and ideas they use to help organizations make better choices. Revealing seven essential attributes of all great leaders, they offer a fresh and powerful evaluation technique anyone can use to assess leader potential.

Through dynamic, first-hand accounts from the business world, entertainment, sports, politics, education, and philanthropy, the authors offer the ultimate insider access and reveal how top organizations find and choose the best talent.

  • Offers multiple ways to evaluate leaders, and how these 7 leadership attributes combine to create the best (and worst) in leaders
  • Features interviews with with Mike Krzyzewski, Coach, 2008 US Men's Olympic Basketball team, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon; George Steinbrenner, Scott Davis, CEO of UPS; Peter Loscher, CEO of Siemens; Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic; Hollywood movie directors, and many others
  • Includes academic study and field training at institutions such as Harvard, Yale, INSEAD, and IMD for developing future leaders.

Fresh and compelling, Why Are We Bad at Picking Good Leaders? shows how great leaders can be spotted and why they succeed – and is soon to the definitive resource guide for about choosing better leaders.


Jeffrey Cohn is a succession planning and executive assessment expert. Previously, Cohn was with Spencer Stuart, a top executive recruiting firm; a research fellow at the Harvard Business School; and at the Chief Executive Leadership Institute (Yale). Cohn has published widely, including multiple articles for the Harvard Business Review. He lives in New York City.

Jay Moran is a succession planning expert, executive coach, and professor of leadership. Moran was formerly at the CEO Leadership Institute at Yale and practiced corporate law with King & Spalding. Moran has a JD/MBA from Emory University and MPA from Harvard University. He lives in Barcelona.

For more information, please visit www.liag-advisors.com


Introduction 1

1 Integrity 15

2 Empathy 41

3 Emotional Intelligence 65

4 Vision 93

5 Judgment 117

6 Courage 147

7 Passion 173

8 A Better Way to Choose Leaders 199

Appendix A: Commonly Used (and Misused) Leadership Terms 225

Appendix B: The DNA of Leadership Competencies 239

Notes 243

Acknowledgments 261

About the Authors 267

Index 269