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Personality, life experience and leadership capability

Olya Khaleelee (Partner, Pintab Associates; Programme Adviser, The Tavistock Institute; Chairwoman, The London Centre for Psychotherapy, London, UK)
Ralph Woolf (Partner, Pintab Associates; Associate Member, The London Centre for Psychotherapy, London, UK)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 November 1996



A critical element of leadership is the capacity to tolerate uncertainty, both one’s own and that of followers. The larger and more complex the enterprise and the more responsible the position in it, the greater the time‐span of uncertainty and hence the greater the requisite capacity of the leader to live and work with it. This capacity is a function of the individual’s emotional development and emergent pattern of defences. The Defence Mechanism Test is a powerful tool in identifying the nature and strength of the individual’s defences. These can be matched to the critical events in the person’s life that mobilized them. Gives case examples to show that use of those data in assessment of people for leadership positions makes it possible to estimate the individual’s time‐span and to predict his/her effectiveness in the context of a specific leadership position.



Khaleelee, O. and Woolf, R. (1996), "Personality, life experience and leadership capability", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 5-11.




Copyright © 1996, MCB UP Limited