I recently had the opportunity to interact with a “successful” local company and they asked me to review a questionnaire that they require prospective hires to compete.
There were 8 or 10 sort of boiler plate, interview-type of questions, which were all well and good but there was a particular question which stood out to me as curious.
The question was:
Assertiveness & Dominance – The ability to express one’s ideas and opinions with conviction and authority is a key element in building the confidence of other people. How have you used these to get a group to do what you wanted?
This question quickly conjured up a couple of mental images. The first was the scene from the movie Snow Dogs where Cuba Gooding Jr. bites the ear of the lead dog to establish his dominance. The second was of a smoke-filled conference room with employees caught in an epic struggle to shout the others down in a cage match for control.
- As I pulled myself back to reality, I began to wonder have I softened over the years?
- Is it possible that assertiveness and dominance have a place in strong leadership values?
Those terms certainly seem antithetical to the concept of servant leadership.