Over the last several decades there has been a huge amount of research into the personality profiles of a great leader. For any business to be successful it requires strong leadership – FACT. The question then is: “Is there any particular combination of personality traits that produces great leaders?”.
Five factor model
Since 1936, the main personality trait theory is the Five Factor Model. This model, identifies 5 traits which build our personality; Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. This theory proposes that all individuals will have some level of these traits within their personality, but the level will vary from person to person. Each of these traits can be broken into different categories; positive, neutral or negative. Below is a breakdown of the characteristics of each of these traits.
So: “Is there any particular combination of personality traits that produces great leaders?”.
A range of research has been carried out to investigate this and the above highlighted traits are those are thought to produce the best leaders. As it is not possible to have some traits simultaneously this often results in a trade-off between desirable traits. For example, if we look at agreeableness, it is not possible to have positive and negative agreeableness, so if you want a strong leader, chances are you may have to sacrifice some interpersonal sensitivity for drive and determination. (Interestingly there is a high correlation between the personality traits of great leaders and those of psychopaths. Within CEO’s there is a 4% incidence of psychopathy, approximately 4 times higher than in any other profession.)
This doesn’t mean however, that people with these traits will become a CEO (or for that matter a psychopath) it simple demonstrates a statistical correlation between the two. At the end of the day this all comes down to Potential and more importantly how we tap into our potential. Every single one of us has the potential to do great things, but not everyone of us has the drive and determination to actually do it. For instance you always hear people saying, “oh when I win the lottery I’ll…” however how many of them actually play the lottery? There is a massive difference between saying we will do something and actually doing it. This comes down to the way we motivate ourselves and the mindset with which we approach the challenges ahead.
As a company, Tree of Knowledge truly believes that successful leadership is not simply a personality contest. It comes down to how the leader motivates their team. A leader who chooses to approach the challenges they face on a daily basis with a growth mindset, a mindset in which they embrace the new opportunities and experiences available, persist when the going gets tough and acknowledges peoples success, is likely to be far more successful than someone who approaches things with a fixed mindset.