There has been extensive research that has identified the characteristics of effective leaders. This type of research usually falls within several different domains of study. One of the more common domains of study is the examination of effective leadership and personality for which I will report on some research here. And I might add that I have validated these findings many times over in the leadership assessments that I have done over the past 30 years.
The Institute for Personality and Abilities Testing (IPAT) that was founded by noted psychologist Raymond Cattell developed a personality test during WWII. Cattel was asked if he could identify a reliable means through which pilots could be identified early on in their training or selection process for their ability to handle high levels of stress in combat. At that time the Army Air Corps found that they were spending a lot of time and effort to train pilots only to find out that they were unable to manage the stress of combat missions. So, Cattell went about developing a reliable and valid measure that could help the Army. And he was very successful.
The “test” or questionnaire that became known as the 16pf (2013) that measures 16 personality factors or dimensions and one measure of intelligence ability. Through the application of this test on populations of employees across the globe, that includes groups of successful leaders, they have been able to identify the characteristics that predict effective leaders. These characteristics in order of importance are:
Problem Solving – Effective leaders think more abstractly as opposed to concretely which provides them opportunities to solve problems that are diverse quickly.
Influence – Effective leaders have a high need to influence and persuade groups and individuals.
Emotional Resilience – Effective leaders are very emotionally resilient and can bounce back quickly from disappointments but they also understand how stress impacts employees around them and are sensitive to it.
Extraversion – Effective leaders are a bit more extroverted and would rather spend time with groups of others as opposed to spending time alone all day.
Practicality – Effective leaders understand the need for solutions to be based on practical evidence but also understand that individuals may be emotionally tied to certain things.
Self Control – Effective leaders understand the need for self-control but also understand that some decisions need to be made more spontaneously.
The first characteristic (problem solving) measures intelligence ability. All of the remaining characteristics are personality attributes. www.ipat.com/about/16pf (2013)
Class – Think of two leaders that you know or have had a fair amount of experience with; one that you feel was an excellent leader and one that feel was a poor leader. Now rate each on the characteristics above. How do they compare? Which of these attributes of effective leaders are especially important as an organization is changing?
Attached is a sample 16pf Leadership Report. Peruse through the text and data on pages 8 – 31 of the second report in this file labeled “LEADERSHIP COACHING REPORT” not the “Leadership Coaching Report Coaches Summary. This report will provide you more detail in the leadership characteristics associated with effective leaders. You do not have to read this entire report – just read sparingly to familiarize your self with leadership as it related to organizational change. As a corporate communications expert you will want to understand how these attributes contribute to effective change efforts.
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