Over the past years, one of the outstanding contributions of psychology to the business field has been in determining the critical traits of great leaders to uncover leadership abilities in others. Psychological tests can determine the characteristics most commonly noted among great leaders. Such a list can be used for purposes like helping managers gain insight and develop their leadership abilities.
Raymond Cattell developed an equation called the Leadership Potential equation in the year 1954. It was based on a study on military leaders and is used today to know the traits that characterise an effective leader. The leadership traits include the following:
- Emotional stability: Good leaders tolerate frustration and stress. They are well-adjusted with a maturity to deal with anything.
- Dominance: Leaders are competitive and decisive and enjoy overcoming obstacles. In general, they are assertive in their thinking and critical in dealing with others.
- Enthusiasm: Leaders are active, expressive, and energetic. They are optimistic and open to change. They are quick, alert and tend to be uninhibited.
- Conscientiousness: A sense of duty dominates leaders. They have a very high standard of excellence and a desire to do best. They do not need order and are self-disciplined.
- Social boldness: Leaders are spontaneous risk-takers. They are socially aggressive, responsive to others and high in emotional stamina.
- Tough-mindedness: Good leaders are practical and to-the-point. They are comfortable with criticism and are very poised.
- Self-assurance: Self-confidence is a common trait among leaders. They are free of guilt and unaffected by prior mistakes.
- Compulsiveness: Leaders are controlled and precise in social interactions. They are protective of their integrity and are socially aware and careful.
Apart from these basic traits, a leader of today must be able to motivate others and lead people. For this, leaders must have the following personality traits:
- High energy: Long hours of work is a prerequisite for leadership positions, especially as a company grows. Remaining alert and staying focused at all times are some qualities you have to develop as a leader.
- Intuitiveness: Rapid changes of today coupled with information overload, goes on to prove that reasoning and logic will not get one through all situations. Leaders must know how to use their intuition when making decisions.
- Maturity: A good leader puts personal power secondary to the development of employees. Maturity is one leadership ability that is accomplished by empowering others.
- Team orientation: Business leaders of today put a strong emphasis on teamwork, which is achieved by team orientation.
- Empathy: To put yourself in the other person’s shoes is a key leadership trait.
Charisma: Employees usually perceive leaders as larger than life, and that is due to the appeal of the leader.