ILA Podcast

The Importance of Studying Leadership Scientifically

Innovating Leadership with ILA Fellow Maureen Metcalf

with Dr. John Antonkais


Power does tend to corrupt. Especially the more testosterone is added to the mix.

That’s just one finding that the scientific study of leadership has revealed. Yet, despite the legions of leadership consultants plying their theories, very little research in the field has been conducted with scientific rigor. Even science basics, such as control groups and identifying variables, are missing. That punches big holes in many leading leadership philosophies and best-selling books; they look at what top-performing companies have in common…but don’t check to see if the worst performing companies have those same things in common, too!

Enter John Antonakis. A professor of organizational behavior, author of The Nature of Leadership, and the editor-in-chief of The Leadership Quarterly, John applies the scientific model to studies of leadership qualities, with a particular interest in charisma. He’ll talk about power, hormones, and his AI charismometer in this episode.

Here’s what John and Maureen cover:

  • Why the lack of truly scientific studies of leadership makes it difficult to tease out what really forges a good (even great) leader;
  • How testosterone in a leader increases their likelihood of corruption; and
  • That most traits of truly great leaders can be learned – you don’t have to be born with them!


“As the corona fog clears, I trust too that scientists will see why they need to study leadership with the same urgency and energy they study molecules, vaccines, and interventions; simply put, leadership is an effective weapon that must be added to our arsenal to fight viral pandemics.”

About Dr. John Antonkais

John Antonakis is Professor of Organizational Behavior, author of The Nature of Leadership, and editor in chief of The Leadership Quarterly, a very high-impact journal in management and applied psychology. John’s research focuses on estimating the causal effect of leadership on outcomes. He is a highly-cited scientist and has published groundbreaking research in journals such as Science. His work has been covered by very prestigious media outlets like New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Guardian, NEWSWEEK, Daily Mail, BBC News, Forbes, The New Yorker, Business Insider, Fast Company and many hundreds of other news sources, including TV and Radio.

Host Maureen Metcalf

Maureen Metcalf

Maureen Metcalf, Founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends to transform organizations. She has captured 30 years of experience in an award-winning series of books used by public, private, and academic organizations to align company-wide strategy, systems, and culture using Innovative Leadership techniques. 

Maureen shares her hard-won insights through public speaking, industry publications, interviews, and video presentations. She is a regular contributor to, host of the top international radio show, Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, and author of the award-winning Innovative Leadership book series. The series includes: Innovative Leadership FieldbookInnovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations; Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders; and Innovative Leadership for Health Care, among others.

She is a Fellow of the International Leadership Association.

About Innovating Leadership: Co-Creating Our Future

The pace of change in the world is increasing exponentially. Leadership must evolve. And that gets to the heart of our mission: To bring you the latest thoughts on leadership so you can innovate, learn, and evolve…growing your team, your business, and yourself! This series features a new interview every week. Host Maureen Metcalf interviews world leaders, global business and NPO executives, thought leaders, and researchers in a wide range of industries. It’s a breadth of perspectives unavailable anywhere else. Become an innovative leader in your own right! 

Innovating Leadership is proud to partner with the International Leadership Association on a yearly series of episodes on global leadership with special ILA speakers, members, and guests. 

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