People talk about charismatic leaders having “big” personalities. Powerful leaders are often known as “Type A” personalities. We know about introverts and extroverts.
But how does personality really impact your effectiveness as a manager or owner of a business?
If we take away celebrity status from high paid CEOs and public figures, what else does personality have to do with how you run a business?
For starters, I will argue LOTS!
Anyone choosing to start a business or get promoted into management must face the challenge of influencing the people around them. Before you open your mouth the first time, your personality projects who and what you are.
Shy or timid personalities come into the room meek and mild. More bold personalities make an entrance. Either can be effective, depending on the circumstance.
I’ve worked with engineers who are famous for, let’s say, ‘not great personalities’. Yet very seniors leaders in the organization can be incredibly personable and engaging.
Then I’ve also known ‘creative’ types, arts and theater, who can be witty, bright and engaging, but very weak leaders.
In my humble opinion, your personality is simply one more tool in your leadership toolbox that can be used wisely or create disastrous results.
Here’s one way to think about it.
Your personality is a work in progress. Formed at an early age (some even believe you are born with it), your personality begins to define your look at the world.
While it is absolutely true that the way you engage with others is driven by your personality, the bigger question is perception.
How is your personality perceived by others?
This is the reason I love using the Hogan Assessment tools to help the leaders I coach. In Bob Hogan’s work, he discovered early on (like 1974) that understanding personality can be informative to one’s own leadership development.
But understanding the perception of your personality by others is an even greater force for shaping the change you may want as a leader.
Here’s the difference. If I test and study my own personality, I can learn that I demonstrate certain traits. Scales like Myers-Briggs MBTI, Berkman, or Karl Jung tag me for certain key elements in the makeup of my personality. They become broad generalizations that help explain why I look at and feel different ways about different situations.
Hogan takes it a step further. His assessment tools do the stratification of certain personality makeup, but he attaches the perception piece to it. In Hogan, you get a read-out of how others will perceive/react to your specific personality markers.
As a leader, learning about this aspect of personality can be very valuable. If you have engaged a coach to get you to a new level of effectiveness, learning about these perceptors will get you much further along in your development.
I won’t go into all the details of the mechanics of Hogan’s methodology (it is well documented) but the basis is centered on decades of actual testing, screening and analysis to correlate the personality markers with perception values; what others perceive.
In other words, your inward values will drive outward perceptions. To become a more effective leader, you must understand not just what makes up your personality, but how that makeup impacts those around you.
Hogan adds one more detail to a study. Based on your personality, you can also learn about potential “derailers” that might exist. In some cases these are things like ‘a strength used in excess can become a weakness.
Knowing and studying the derailers can help you become a far better leader at work, at home, and in the community. Once equipped with this knowledge, you can self-adjust more easily to the situations arising.
If you’re looking for a fun and FREE personality test, jump over to my friends at 16Personalities.com Their results will amaze you!