I have a little confession…I’m a huge personality typing junkie, but before you write me off as a hardcore nerd, hear me out. There is so much to be learned about ourselves and others from understanding the nuances of our personality types and traits. There are plenty of different measures of personality out there; the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Tue Colors personality test, and the granddaddy of them all, the Big Five.
You’ve probably heard of the Big Five before, but just in case you haven’t, you should know that this personality measure is comprised of five different facets of personality: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. The extent to which you associate with each facet makes up your personality. Intrigued by the question of whether certain personality traits can help us be perceived as leaders, I set out on an investigation, and what I found is that there are two Big Five personality traits that are extremely likely to make people see us as leaders.
Extraversion can be defined as the tendency to be sociable, assertive, active, and to experience positive affects, such as energy and zeal. Uuummmm English please? Extraversion basically refers to how social you are! Do you feel energized by being around a lot of people? Do you find it exciting to meet new people and build a large network of friends? Do you love talking with people? Mhm, well then you may very well be an extravert!
Research has found that the more extraverted a person is, the more likely he or she is to be considered a leader. Now, this is not to say that introverts aren’t leaders, or aren’t just as valuable. It simply means that it may take more time for introverted leaders to be recognized as leaders. To add to my disclaimer (so all of my introverted friends don’t hate me), even if you’re introverted, you can be just as social as an extravert. It may not come as naturally, but it’s there if you chose to express! We all have the ability to be personable and outspoken, even if some of us like our alone time more than others.
You know those people who just seem to have it together at all times? They’re ones who walk into the office exactly five minutes early every day, with their coffee ready to go, and their cubicle looking more organized than an IKEA display room. Not only are these the people who make me feel like my life is in shambles (nervous laughter), but these are the people who show high levels of conscientiousness.
Conscientiousness reflects how dependable, dutiful, and achievement oriented a person is, and is usually associated with deliberate planning and structure…aka – no hot mess here. It’s been proven that out of the Big Five personality traits, Conscientiousness (along with Extraversion) was the most likely to cause people to be deemed as leaders. So even if you’re feeling all over the place, be sure to at least pretend that you’ve got it all together!
The next time you need to flex your leadership muscle, keep these two traits in mind and you’ll be able to have a more positive influence on how people perceive you. Now get out there and lead the way, boss!