Yahoo’s stock rose 17% today, after CEO and co-founder Jerry Yang announced his decision to step down from the top post., according to Bloomberg.
Yang was a leader who co-founded Yahoo, which in its’ hayday was one of the premier new economy internet companies. But in the last decade, Yahoo has not maintained it’s innovative streak, and lost search engine share to Google and Microsoft. Yang’s brief 17-month tenure was marked by failed mergers and partnerships that caused the stock price to plunge, reports CNN. The New York Times reports that one of his highest profile failures was rejecting a $44B acquisition offer from Microsoft last spring. Could leadership science have predicted this with Yang at the lead?
Perhaps. The “Full Range” leadership model by Bass & Avolio is supported by 20+ years of research showing that charismatic, transformational leaders outperform their counterparts. Their work strongly shows that followers walk over hot coals for leaders who connect with their people as individuals, provide intellectual stimulation and walk their talk. According to CNET, Yang’s early November performance at a Web 2.0 summit was described as a “train wreck”, “self-delusional” and “making a mockery of the vaunted company he helped create”. They argue that Yang can’t sell his vision inside or outside the company, that
“He lacks the out-sized personality and charisma that is needed to inspire confidence in battles for the soul of a company. He has to convince employees, shareholders, customers, and partners
that no matter how difficult the situation, he can lead Yahoo to the
promised land. Think reality-distortion field Steve Jobs, no-software
Marc Benioff, dancing bear Steve Ballmer, the disarming Howard
Stringer, the professorial Eric Schmidt, or the preacher John Chambers.
Bill Gates doesn’t have the most charismatic or endearing personality,
but he manages to control interviews, delivering the messages he wants.“
Because there is substantial evidence that the sorts of charismatic leadership factors predict leadership performance, or in Yahoo’s case, non-performance, The Scientific Leader’s computer-adaptive assessments of leadership are based on Bass & Avolio’s work. I invite you to make your own judgment of Mr. Yang by reviewing this link of one of his last interviews before stepping down. Is this interview a trainwreck? Is he charismatic to you?
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