Our brains are hardwired to choose instinctively with scant information. Here are five traits to watch out for.

Once upon a time, picking the right leaders was easy. Most notably, our hunter-gatherer ancestors lived in small groups where everybody knew each other really well, and most of the critical leadership skills were easily observable: physical strength, dexterity, courage, and speed.

It was also rather costly to pick the wrong leader. You would probably end up beaten, killed, or eaten, as opposed to just changing jobs or moving to a different country.

Fast-forward 200,000 years, and things are a great deal more complex. For starters, the critical leadership qualities that enable some individuals to effectively coordinate collective activity, turning a group of people into a high performing team, are rather abstract and hard to observe with the naked eye: strategic thinking, curiosity, humility, integrity, and technical expertise. You can typically gauge the last in others only when you possess it in similar amounts to them.

Add to this the fact that we are typically asked to detect whether strangers, and people who we rarely meet or interact with, actually have these traits. So, for example, modern voters must decide after a televised presidential debate how to vote, and employers often decide whom to promote or appoint into leadership roles based on an interview.

Read more at Fast Company.

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