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The following post is part 1 of 2 blog posts outlining my article on essential leadership traits.  This post covers the Leadership Potential Equation while the next post will focus on motivation and personality traits.

 

In recent years, one of the most important contributions psychology has made to the field of business has been in determining the key traits of acknowledged leaders. Psychological assessments have been used to determine what characteristics are most commonly noted among successful leaders. This list of characteristics can be used for developmental purposes to help managers gain insight and develop their leadership skills, and for selection purposes.

 

The increasing rate of change in the business environment is a major factor in this new emphasis on leadership. Whereas in the past, managers were expected to maintain the status quo in order to move ahead, new forces in the marketplace have made it necessary to expand this narrow focus. The new leaders of the future are visionary. They are both learners and teachers. Not only do they foresee paradigm changes in society, but they also have a strong sense of ethics and morality, but also work hard to build integrity in their organizations.

 

Raymond Cattell, a pioneer in the field of personality assessment, developed the Leadership Potential Equation (LPE) back in 1954. This equation, which was based on a study of top military leaders, is still used today to determine the essential traits which characterize an effective leader. Per the LPE these are the essential traits of an effective leader:

•           Emotional stability. Good leaders must be able to tolerate frustration and stress. Overall, they must be well-adjusted and have the psychological maturity to deal with anything they are required to face.

•           Dominance. Leaders are often times competitive and decisive and usually enjoy overcoming obstacles. Overall, they are assertive in their thinking style as well as their attitude in dealing with others.

•           Enthusiasm. Leaders are usually seen as active, expressive, and energetic. They are often very optimistic and open to change. Overall, they are generally quick and alert and tend to be uninhibited.

•           Conscientiousness. Leaders are often dominated by a sense of duty and tend to be very exacting in character. They usually have a very high standard of excellence and an inward desire to do one's best. They also have a need for order and tend to be very self-disciplined.

•           Social boldness. Leaders tend to be spontaneous risk-takers. They are usually socially aggressive and generally thick-skinned. Overall, they are responsive to others and tend to be high in emotional stamina.

•           Tough-mindedness. Good leaders are practical, logical, and to-the-point. They tend to be low in sentimental attachments and comfortable with criticism. They are usually insensitive to hardship and overall, are very poised.

•           Self-assurance. Self-confidence and resiliency are common traits among leaders. They tend to be free of guilt and have little or no need for approval. They are generally secure and free from guilt and are usually unaffected by prior mistakes or failures.

•           Compulsiveness. Leaders were found to be controlled and very precise in their social interactions. Overall, they were very protective of their integrity and reputation and consequently tended to be socially aware and careful, abundant in foresight, and very careful when making decisions or determining specific actions.

 

Stay tuned for the follow-up post coming soon. 

 

Ropella is a Leadership Transformation, Executive Search, and Consulting firm. We partner with the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security and the University of West Florida to train first responders in cutting-edge leadership methods developed by military and security leaders. First Responder Training courses train first responders in any rank to become the leaders their departments need and their communities rely upon.

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