Leadership Traits - Impact of Personality

Businesses tend to use StrengthsFinder®, Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, DiSC, Birkman and others. Each instrument has positive application as well as potential downsides.

Novak and Associates has chosen to bring StrengthsFinder® to clients for the significant positives it brings to organizations.

  • Solid foundation in positive psychology
  • Over 12 million people globally completed the assessment
  • Assessment validated in multiple languages
  • Language, that is the names of strengths and their descriptions, is memorable
  • Strengths are actionable
  • Less prone to stereotyping by self and others

 Leadership Traits

Academic researchers assessing leadership traits tend to use the five factor model. This gap between academics research and business use of assessment is unfortunate and partly due to economics and copyright.  

There is a good deal of useful research in leadership done by the academic world. In the case of business schools, resultant articles are accessible to the business world as in the case of Harvard Business Review. Other academic studies and their results never make it to the business world because they remain in academic journals.

Popularized articles that find their wait into social media often misinterpret the results for stretch them beyond the real area of application. The best use of academic articles is to learn to understand enough of the scientific model and statistics to understand the results and the applicability of the results.

The five factor leadership traits model commonly used in academic research is:

1. Conscientiousness

  • Dependability, responsibility, perseverance, achievement, prudence, task focus

The more conscientious a leader the more effective the leadership, with a few exceptions.

2. Emotional Instability or sometimes Neuroticism

  • Both unfortunate label choices as it forces speaking in the negative, such as “Neuroticism is negatively correlated with leadership effectiveness.”

Research confirms the obvious; the most successful leaders are emotionally stable.

3. Agreeableness

  • Personal warmth, a preference for cooperation over competition, trust, acceptance of others

This trait also correlated with leadership effectiveness however may be less useful in situations requiring assertiveness.

4. Extraversion

  • Sociability, gregariousness and talkativeness
  • Assertiveness and dominance

Extraversion is positively correlated with leadership effectiveness. Extraverts develop a greater quantity of relationships which can be drawn on as leadership resources. The area of assertiveness and dominance is a balance to be achieved as perceived by the people with whom one works.

5. Openness

  • Open to new experiences, value intellectual matters, interested in unusual thought processes, seen as thoughtful and creative.

Leaders exhibiting openness have more sources of input, more information and tend to make better decisions because of the increased input.

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