“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.”
A leader embodies a lot of positive qualities and traits, however-the best definition of leadership is the act of motivating other people toward a common goal. People that have leadership skills showcase a strong personality and interpersonal skills to lead others in their direction.
Many researchers have studied and proved how Goldberg’s Big Five Personality Traits play an important role in an individual’s conquest towards achieving leadership. These qualities are inherent and work on the nature/nurture phenomenon. Some leaders are naturally gifted and some determined people nurture these qualities through years of hard work.
I am sure you want to know which of these personality traits you harbour.
Lets start by understanding The Big Five Personalities.
A meta-analysis of decades of leadership literature points to a model known as the “Big Five,” which maps personalities across the following traits: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Now lets see how each trait contributes in developing a leadership quality in you.
“The best leaders are the hungriest learners.”
Openness to Experience :
Openness to experience is important with team leading as the situation is constantly evolving. Creative thinking and trying new methods can get any team out of a pinch, with the most minuscule of problems. This flexibility helps to diffuse frustration and shows how a leader must be creative, curious, and resourceful when the unexpected happens.
“I find that when you open the door toward openness and transparency, a lot of people will follow you through.”
Conscientiousness, or self-discipline, is one of a leader’s most significant factors, especially in stressful situations where accountability and reliability are relevant. With a conscientious leader, individual tasks are delegated and completed, the consequences of decisions are directed towards one entity, and a directed solution option is given to social problems in the group.
“I feel strongly about showing up and being prepared and not taking the opportunity for granted and being conscientious about my fellow co-workers.”
Extraversion is deemed to be the most integral personality trait a team leader needs to have. More specifically, it is the self-confidence, decisiveness, and driven nature of the individual that greatly influences each group member. “Confidence is contagious,” as many have said. So is self-doubt. The group will also doubt themselves and the team if a leader does not have a strong belief in themselves. Decision-making paired with integrity creates many solutions and provides direction for members of the group with lower self-confidence that they are working in the right direction.
“As motivated employees are happier and more satisfied, they tend to work harder and as a result, are perceived to be a better leader. The positive demeanour of Extroverts also helps to buffer them from stress or able to work around adverse experiences.”
These three personality traits work positively towards building your leadership skills.
Now let’s shine a light on what the last two traits do.
Agreeableness translates generally into likeability. People probably work harder for someone they like, in general. Liked leaders often draw helping behaviours from employees that can increase productivity.
However when you score high on agreeableness, some issues might show up. Agreeable leaders tend to avoid unpleasant things, such as remedial feedback. Agreeable leaders are more likely to tolerate bad behaviour than necessary. When this happens, employees begin to lose respect for the leader, as they are most likely significantly impacted by bad behaviour. Teamwork erodes when employees begin to see the agreeable leader as a “doormat.”
“Use agreeableness and extraversion as a leader to build strong teams and strong relationships. In difficult times, when it is necessary to be directive to get the job done, personal loyalty already exists.”
-Douglas R. Satterfield
Persons who score low on neuroticism are usually self-confident, calm, even tempered, and relaxed. Individuals with high levels of neuroticism usually experience heightened negative affect, anxiety, and self-consciousness; they may not be able to adjust their thoughts effectively and, as a result, may dwell on them and become emotionally self-absorbed.
“Persons with a high level of neuroticism do not usually become authentic leaders because of their inability to adjust their emotions. These individuals are usually classified as passive leaders. Passive leaders do not model, reinforce, or actively monitor their subordinates’ performance in realizing expectations, risk taking, and challenging the status quo.”
When you venture into your journey towards leadership, it is important to have a sense of self-awareness, your strengths and weaknesses. This helps you in setting appropriate goals for improvement.
Now the next question that pops in your head is,
Where can I efficiently and professionally check my behaviour patterns?
Neuroscience is changing the game of leadership. There is no longer a single behaviour or style that is good enough to optimise business results. Multiple styles, adapted to the situation, are needed to make full use of the real power of the human resource. This very diverse high potential, vital asset is often already in place – PRISM can help you identify and develop it.
The PRISM PROFESSIONAL INVENTORY report enables you to gain an insight into your behavioural preferences from several points of view. In addition to the normal PRISM reports, you can receive outputs on emotional intelligence and on ‘The Big Five’ – one the most widely accepted and used models of personality.
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