How can it be that high performing and low performing leaders have the similar personality traits and I see the similarities yet their subordinates see them differently?

It comes back to;

CP + V + K&S + Wi + (-T) = CAC (Elliot Jaques formula for Role Competence)

  • Cognitive Power + Values + Knowledge & Skills + Wisdom + (-T) the absence of serious personality (temperament) defects = Current Actual Capability.
 The Absence of Serious Personality Defects

A focus solely upon traits is misguided and can lead to placing people in roles that they are not able to fill. The main point is that particular traits have little effect upon a person’s in-role leadership work, UNLESS the traits are so far extreme or unacceptable that the person lacks control to keep from disturbing their working relationship with others. The most important characteristic or the traits that go into what is called personality make-up (or emotional make-up) is that they do have limits or extremes, beyond which their expression becomes unacceptable.

For example in a recent post by Bret Simmons  he spoke about Consciousness being an trait of successful leaders, then he went on to say how Extreme Consciousness can be deleterious to a leaders ability. This is similar to the 1000’s of other traits that we ascribe to leaders in their roles. The same applies to Optimism, many people look for Optimistic leaders yet when that optimism falls into extreme Pollyannaism the trait becomes deleterious to effective in-role leadership.

My argument is that personality traits figure into managerial leadership in a negative rather than a positive way. A person’s emotional make-up must not contain elements that are so abnormal and so out of control as to damage their effectiveness in role and in working relationships with others to an unacceptable degree.

Think about it…of the great managers and the horrible managers you have known did personality traits matter as much as the ability to keep those traits within a controllable range?