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Zenger Folkman Finds Three Traits That Reveal if You Are a Bold Leader Counterfeit

Using data on tens of thousands of leaders from around the world, Zenger Folkman has identified three characteristics commonly found among bold leader counterfeits.

Orem, UT, July 24, 2017 --( There are leaders that on the surface appear to be very bold. They take control of strategies and processes; they act decisively and generate results. However, a bold leader counterfeit stirs up dissatisfaction and frustration with employees and can become toxic to an organization’s culture.

Using data on tens of thousands of leaders from around the world, Zenger Folkman has identified three characteristics commonly found among bold leader counterfeits:

1. Aggressive. Aggressive leaders are hyper focused on their own needs and successes. They take extraordinary steps to make themselves look good, often at the expense of others. They will look for ways to blame others and are unwilling to accept responsibility for errors.

2. Autocratic. Autocratic leaders rarely ask for input or advice from others, desiring to make all the decisions alone. They prioritize maintaining control over providing opportunities for others to grow. They expect orders to be followed and no one is allowed to question the decision or solution.

3. Arrogant. Arrogant leaders are always “right.” They are not teachable and believe that others’ decisions and solutions are inferior to their own. Because they resist feedback from others, they become defensive when challenged. Their business decisions are often centered in ego and personal agenda.

Utilizing the counterfeit bold behaviors of aggression, an autocratic style, or arrogance, can generate results in the short term. However, employees end up being motivated out of fear, rather than respect or inspiration, and will abandon ship as soon as possible. Joe Folkman, President of Zenger Folkman, stated, “What we have found in our research is that it is possible for leaders to develop a genuinely bold style, but only if they avoid these three destructive leadership behaviors.”

Genuine bold leaders have an incredibly positive impact on their organizations. Leaders in the top 10% in terms of their boldness are persuasive rather than demanding; they inspire and energize employees to accomplish difficult tasks instead of simply expecting blind compliance. Perhaps most importantly, genuine bold leaders find ways to encourage new ideas over forcing their ideas on others.

“If you want more commitment from direct reports or an atmosphere of innovation, be a genuinely bold leader,” said Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger Folkman, “Genuine bold leaders generate long term value, are well liked, and engage talent across the organization.”

To learn more ways to become a genuine bold leader attend a webinar by Joe Folkman and Joyce Palevitz, Bold Leadership – A New Competency for the Future, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Register at For more information on these findings, and how to incorporate them into a leadership development plan, visit

Zenger Folkman is the authority in strengths-based leadership development. Their award-winning programs employ research-based methods that improve organizations and turn good managers into extraordinary leaders.
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Zenger Folkman
BreAnne Okoren

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