Sunday, August 23, 2015

Which Personality Characteristics Better Fit for Transformational Leadership?

The high-effective and high mature leadership is based on vision, learning agility, and change capability, not just personality only.

There are many ways to be an effective leader. It all starts with ourselves and who we are. Leadership is about the future (vision & direction), leadership is about change (progress and advancement), leadership is about minding the gap and harnessing innovation, and leadership is about growing more leaders, not just producing followers. But more specifically, what are the qualities of great leadership? Introvert or extrovert, who has a better chance to become a transformational leader? Character, personality, skills or capability, what’re the best combinations to make a great leader?   

Many introverted characteristics are good traits for transformational leadership: The fact is that people tend to assume that strong leaders are ones that are extroverted and able to "work" the crowd, only extroverted characteristics seemed to make a person more like a leader traditionally; while now transformational leadership is employing many introverted characteristics to improve leadership. That is if an introvert is defined as someone who replenishes alone vs. an extrovert as someone who replenishes with people. More leaders are introverts than extroverts. Because an introverted leader can spend more time on contemplation and observation carefully, to see around the corner and dig beyond the obvious, to think profoundly and independently, and to gain empathy and empower those around them. Transformational leaders have an ability to help the organization develop a vision of what it can be, to mobilize the organization to accept and work toward achieving the new vision, and to institutionalize the changes that must last over time.

To strike the right balance, an ambivert makes a better leader: While introverts and extroverts were often viewed in terms of two extreme opposites, the truth is that most of us lie somewhere in the middle of the extroverted-introverted spectrum. Extroverts and introverts are the two extremes, hence its very difficult for them to compromise with lots of things. One can be an extrovert, or more correctly, display extrovert behavior in certain situations while being introvert in other ones. All decent measures of personality traits are not black and white but allow for varying levels of traits to come forward. That’s why the concept ambiverts are emerging: Ambiverts move between being social or being solitary, speaking up or listening carefully with a thoughtful mind and passionate heart, with emotions to adjust to changes accordingly.

Great leaders grow more leaders:  Leadership development is not through cookie cutting, but to discover the uniqueness for minding leadership gaps and bridging leadership difference. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights and raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard and the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. Besides, the function of leaders is to lead--set direction, foster motivation, guide the problem-solving. Leadership is not just about the title only, that all of us--to the degree we take responsibility for our own sphere of influence, no matter what formal title we might hold or not, have the opportunity to exercise leadership influence. Regardless of your personality traits, leaders should invest in individual communication within their team members, to achieve growth on a greater scale. Forward-looking groups and organizations train and raise up leaders, great leaders empower others, make room for them to grow, set a tone and environment that creates more leaders, it is about giving motivation, direction, and purpose while improving the organization. It requires that the leader develops the leadership skills to others, but also discover the uniqueness of potential leaders, and leadership is the combination of character and skills. To not produce other leaders is to not improve the organization but to make it vulnerable.

There is a regular struggle with those who would label introverts and revert to stereotype about the suitability to lead people or manage customer relationships. Anyone who was drawing a correlation about leadership based on introvert/extroversion only could have "Irrational Thought." How someone recharges themselves has nothing to do with their leadership capabilities. Perhaps it is important also to note that the first task of leadership is to clearly articulate the vision of WHERE they are leading their followers toward. You don't always have to be the most outgoing or have the strongest personality to be an awesome and effective leader. Sadly, too many "people at the top" are managing and not leading anywhere. It’s a significant hill to climb for those interested in the transformation of business and the planet. The high-effective and high mature leadership is based on vision, learning agility, and changeability, not just personality only.


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