Cognitive Factors and Leadership

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A frequent theme when discussing leadership theories, is that intelligence and experience play a critical role in determining a successful leader. The Dubrin text indentifies six common cognitive factors and links them closely with intelligent leadership. The desired outcome of this exercise is an in-depth assessment of each of the factors and their role in Margo’s own cognitive development.

The first attribute relates to an individual’s mental capability. As defined in the book, cognitive intelligence is the “general mental ability”of a person. This differs from emotional intelligence in that it focuses on the ability to make logical and reasonable decisions through the use of problem solving and analyzing. When thinking about this factor in relation to her own abilities, Margo feels that this is an area in which she does extremely well. She considers herself a fairly intelligent person, who when presented with a new assignment or idea, grasps the context very quickly. She excels both in practical situations and educational requirements, and feels well suited to handling most problems effectively and efficiently.

An important ability of any great leader is expertise in his or her area of practice. This can be achieved through, “studying new technological research, analyzing competitors’ products and conferring with customer and engineers.” (Dubrin, 2007) The author feels very strongly that this area is one in which she is very proficient. She prides herself on not only constantly refining her skills in accounting through continuing education and professional training, but by researching industry specific information on the company that she works for.

An example of this is when she started working for a helicopter company as an internal auditor. Never having worked in transportation before, Margo was a little unnerved by the vast differences between this industry and public accounting. Would she be able to utilize her knowledge and...
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