In today’s employee-centered workplace culture, business leaders must carefully monitor their behavior and take time to reflect on the non-business variables that affect their management style, including personality. Everyone, no matter their temperament, has the potential to rise through the ranks and assume leadership roles. However, some possess traits that make them more effective in such positions while others must overcome personal quirks to succeed.
Personality Traits of Effective Leaders
Last year, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey to identify the personality traits that make good leaders. More than 80 percent of respondents put honesty at the top of the list. For anyone familiar with common leadership tropes, this probably comes as no surprise. Effective leaders tell it like it is and operate with an open-door policy, the Harvard Business Review reported. This managerial approach not only facilitates workplace engagement but also encourages creativity, as employees feel they have a stake in organizational success and will be more willing to step up and address company-wide problems.
Respondents also placed a high premium on intelligence. This makes sense considering recent business trends. Disruptive enterprises are displacing traditional commercial models and their defenders. Plus, with the rise of business analytics and enterprise technology, most roles, even high-level leadership positions, require technical skills or a general understanding of industry-standard solutions. As a result, modern leaders must have the ability to think through complex ideas, find innovative ways to embrace ambiguity and weather mercurial market trends.
Decisiveness cracked the top three in the Pew survey, with approximately 80 percent of respondents citing it as a key personality trait for leaders. Indeed, most successful executives can sort through disparate information and confidently make key business decisions – even questionable ones, Business Insider reported.
“Business is a contact sport, and you can’t be afraid to make a mistake,” John Whittaker, marketing director of information management solutions at Dell, told the publication. “You can always course-correct if you need to, but you can’t make up for failing to take action when action was needed. Making the wrong decision and course-correcting is better than missing your window to take action altogether.”
Personality Traits of Ineffective Leaders
Of course, most business leaders aren’t designed in a lab for maximum impact. Some must overcome serious personality-based impediments to make things work. While there are numerous traits that inhibit effective high-level decision-making, most experts recognize a few common troublesome quirks, Fast Company reported.
Type-A leaders sometimes try to drive employee engagement by expressing enthusiasm. In some situations, this approach can garner positive results. However, overly excitable leaders tend to wear on staff and adversely affect team output. Conversely, leisurely executives can reduce stress and facilitate team wide focus. On the other hand, excessively laid-back leaders sometimes foster passive-aggressive workplace cultures with ineffective performance feedback structures.
“Excessively laid-back leaders sometimes foster passive-aggressive workplace cultures.”
Business leaders must possess a certain amount of self-confidence – after all, their day-to-day decisions can make or break entire organizations. But individuals with too much of the stuff – commonly referred to as narcissists – can inflict major harm, the Harvard Business Review reported. Often, these leaders risk the fates of others on grand, sometimes delusional ideas that never pan out. And when colleagues offer constructive feedback on such decisions, narcissistic leaders burrow deeper into their fantasy worlds and shun those they consider doubters.
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