In the dozens of assessments available, not a one shows a quadrant labeled “natural born”. It’s not a personality, but rather a persistent belief that to lead, one must arrive with certain traits at birth? I’ve asked the question “What does it take to be a leader” in classes and webinars worldwide and the list of answers always comes back the same. Which of the following skills and traits do you possess that others have said are needed to lead? And do you think they can only be performed by one personality type?
Ability to ask for help
Ability to listen
Ability to delegate
Ability to manage multiple projects
Able to inspire
Willing to forgive
Big picture thinker
Okay with not getting credit
Traits and behaviors are often easier for one personality or another. That part is true. It is a matter of what is most natural for you and while one personality may be able to get things done without thinking and the same initiative or urgency takes effort for another, that does NOT mean that only the “get it done” personality is fit to lead. It takes desire, skills, and practice to lead well. None of those three things say anything about personality. Sure there are personality assessments that help you determine how MUCH practice one might need or WHICH skills they need to develop, but much as we tell clients you cannot fail your personality and thus an assessment is not a test, you also cannot fail to lead …IF you have the desire, the appropriate skills, and devote practice to those areas that are not strengths.
Usually the challenge is not the personality of the leader, but the expectations of the organization about WHICH personality “acts like the type of leader we need?”
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.