Girl raising hand for project success

This is a question we get at Emergenetics International all the time…What is the best personality for a leader? How can I find the ideal leader for my organization? Are all leaders visionaries? Should they be?

We’re here to tell you that, of course, there are no easy answers…leadership is a unique idea because it encompasses so many elements of personality, skills, experience, drive, motivation and overall outlook. That’s not to say that there aren’t experts who try to come up with a leadership profile or pinpoint the right personality for leaders…

Take a look at this article in the Harvard Business Review from Brad Power. He contends that leadership at a CEO level is often concentrated with people who “love to operate in a world of ideas” and have “no end of theories, analysis, possible futures and ‘What If’ scenarios”. What he says is lacking are the personality traits that build on processes and implementation—those focused and skilled at “process improvement”.

Hmm, sounds pretty similar to equating an Abstract Emergenetics Thinker with preferences in Analytical and Conceptual to the common CEO or leader and viewing a dearth in leadership from the Structural (Green) Preference…

Actually, Power goes on to reference a consultant who uses extremely similar measures to Emergenetics in the way to characterize personality (this expert, Susaan Strauss defines it as Analytical, Conceptual, People and Process). And HBR isn’t the only resource looking at this – there are countless articles trying to pinpoint personality with leadership. So what is the best personality for leaders?

Well, in our research and work, it isn’t about a Profile, preference or personality, but has to do more with inherent qualities that are uniquely bolstered by each individual’s approach. These qualities are:

  1. Successful leaders have an energy for learning. This energy extends beyond an understanding about their business and in to other areas of their life. In short, they are intellectually curious.
  2. Successful leaders have generally faced adversity and often failed at some point in their careers. They perserved through this difficult experience, and learned important lessons that ultimately made them successful.
  3. Successful leaders all employ a diverse repetoire of behaviors that allowed them to communicate with employees and associates from all backgrounds, even though it wasn’t necessarily their initial preference.

Emergenetics Profiles do not indicate whether a person will be a leader. What they do indicate though, is the best way to maximize an individual’s strengths and preferences to cultivate his/her natural leadership skills.

So back to the Harvard article (you can read my comments at the end), because a leader may exhibit a right-brained (big-picture, people-oriented) management style, doesn’t mean that they cannot look to the process (Structural) or the logic (Analytical), but rather that they need to do those things through their strengths or surround themselves with the right people who love to do that work and can do it exceptionally.

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