From the time kids are straining their arms to volunteer to be at the front of the line in preschool, it seems like certain personalities naturally take charge. “Your personality helps to create habits that you will carry through your work life,” says YouBeauty Psychology Advisor Art Markman, Ph.D.
But that doesn’t mean that the 4-year-old line leaders will all end up as top management—leadership habits are sometimes innate, but they can also be cultivated. “Once you understand the influence of your habits on your behavior, you can work to create new habits that accentuate your strengths and overcome your weaknesses,” says Markman.
His new e-book, "Habits of Leadership: Discover and Use the Remarkable Connection Between Personality and Habits to Become an Outstanding Manager," helps readers identify different personality types and recognize the characteristics of good leaders and innovators. It also provides suggestions for developing the habits of leadership, those traits that can be nurtured within all types of personalities.
“Your personality is a set of characteristics and goals that influence how you act in different situations,” explains Markman. “The reactions you have can clearly help make you a stronger leader or can get in your way.” Or both! For example, if you are highly conscientious, as a leader you’re more likely to get things done yourself and to make sure people on your team get things done. But you may not be a visionary leader because you may tend to stick to the rules of your industry rather than trying something radically new.
Another example is the characteristic of agreeableness. Agreeable people want to be liked by the people around them. “That can be good in some cases, because it makes people want to side with you,” says Markman. “However, highly agreeable people will avoid giving criticism or delivering bad news directly, because they are concerned about offending others. A strong leader needs to be able to instill loyalty in the people who work with her, but she also needs to be direct when delivering criticism.”
So how do you identify your strengths and weaknesses in the area of leadership? The Ten Item Personality Inventory is a good starting point. “Once you know your basic personality characteristics, you can use that knowledge to understand your behavior in leadership situations,” says Markman. His book also includes Personality Profiler Tests to help you identify your own tendencies. Knowing about these can help you identify where you might need to cultivate better leadership habits.
“Perhaps the most important thing that a leader does is to influence the goals and motivations of the people around him or her,” says Markman. In order to influence others, you must gain their respect and loyalty by demonstrating leadership skills, the kinds Markman’s book explores. “Unless you are recognized as a leader by everyone else, the group will not pull toward a common goal,” he says. “That is why it is crucial that someone aiming to take a leadership role be recognized as a leader.”
The benefit of becoming a good leader is more than a simple monetary bonus or an ego boost. “The groups that have really changed the world have all had leaders who were willing to invest time, energy and wisdom to create a sense of common purpose within that organization,” says Markman.
Ready to get ahead in your career? Buy Dr. Markman's e-book here!
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