Presidential Leadership: Performance Criteria and Their Predictors

Dean Keith Simonton

in The Oxford Handbook of Leadership

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398793
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Presidential Leadership: Performance Criteria and Their Predictors


This chapter evaluates the very special case of presidential leadership—specifically, the president of the United States—and tries to determine the predictors of presidential leadership as explored by both subjective expert evaluations of presidential performance and objective researcher measurements of specific leader behaviors. Truly great presidents might even be willing to compromise their momentary popularity ratings to achieve significant long-term objectives. Years in office can serve as an objective leadership criterion and as a potential predictor of subjectively evaluated leadership. For better or worse, an ex-president has little personal ability to revise his reputation after he leaves office. Both subjective and objective criteria can be successfully predicted, even though the prediction of the former has proven far easier than the prediction of the latter.

Keywords: presidential leadership; president; United States; predictors; subjective expert evaluations; objective researcher measurements; presidential performance; leader behaviors

Article.  12188 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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