Success and Personality?

“But, what about personality?” Emily asked. “Doesn’t personality have something to do with success?”

“What personality does it take to be an effective manager?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t know. There are personality profiles, assessments we can take, that can tell us things about ourselves.”

“So, what is the profile of an effective manager?” I asked again. “I have seen hundreds of profiles of managers, different scales of dominance, influence, steadiness, compliance, introverted, extroverted, sensing, intuitive, perceiving, judging. I find little consistent pattern of what it takes to be an effective manager. In fact, I have seen unlikely combinations that yield high levels of effectiveness. I personally have submitted to those assessments, over time, decades, and while the output is always consistent (statistically repeatable), I would question there is a best profile to be an effective manager.

“The profile may indicate your tendencies in one direction or another, and that if you adapt away from your tendencies, you may place stress in your life. But who is to say, that one tendency is more effective than another. I am a visual person, quick to take in data, persuasive in moving people to my way of thinking. My brother is more kinesthetic, he has to feel something to understand, he listens patiently, subtle in his ability to gain willing cooperation and support. Dramatically different profiles, but it’s a thumb wrestle to determine who might be a more effective manager.”

2 thoughts on “Success and Personality?

  1. Becky Halvorsen

    Thank you for this post. This is why I have problems with any company using “personality indicators” as part of the hiring process. Those indicators just explain your natural tendencies, we can learn other behaviors that make us effective in any role. Hiring should always be about identifying what behaviors are needed for a position, and then asking candidates for examples of those behaviors.

  2. Justine

    Such an enlightening article to see. It is important to understand that no matter the personality there are always ways to bring those strength into a leadership or management position. It comes from the ability to care for those around you on your team and help develop them. As someone who is currently studying Leadership as a Masters Degree, this is a great article to read! Much of the research based on who can be a great leader is based on the capability they have to be self aware.


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