Speaker’s Corner – January
“Comparing Personality and Leadership in Elite Performers”
Peter Saville discussed his research on the world’s elite performers. He differentiated between leaders and managers through the following quote by Field Marshall Slim (1957):
“...There is a difference between leaders and management. Leaders represent one of the oldest, most natural and most effective of all human relationships. Managers are a later product, with neither so romantic nor so inspiring a history. Leadership is of the spirit, compounded of personality and vision; its practice is an art. Management is of the mind, more a matter of accurate calculation of statistics, methods, timetables and routine; its practice is a science. Managers are necessary; leaders are essential. Leaders express the vision, whereas a manager’s role is to be a coordinator.”
Personality & Leadership – What is the leader’s behavioral posture?
Saville says you can often tell a leader by their walk. Certain characteristics are intrinsic in natural leaders. The Big 5 play a role. Digman (1997) identified Alpha (Agreeableness, Conscientiousness & Emotional Stability) and Beta (Extraversion & Openness to Experience) higher-order factors of the Big Five.
Saville Consulting Wave – studying personalities of the elite
Saville Consulting Wave is a suite of Styles, self-report questionnaires and matching Job Profiler & Performance 360 tools which integrate Big 5 Personality factors & Great Eight/Twelve competencies. The hierarchical structure includes 4 clusters that fall along either a People (Adaptability & Influence) or Task dimension (Thought & Delivery).
Leadership styles vary depending on where you fall on the grids. For example, “Transformer-Transacters are people who thrive on change and challenging roles. They enjoy using power and influence, and combine a focus on achieving goals with thoughtful analysis and judgment.”
This method offers a Talent-Motive Spread, allowing for separate measurements for motives and talents. You can be talented at something but have low motivation to do it, which would greatly affect your potential as a leader. The measure also taps into culture/environment fit. He explains that talent does not always lead to productivity as most highly intelligent scientists do not thrive in commercial environments.
“Strong leaders” seek excitement more than “average” or “weaker” leaders, have a big impact, and seek authority. “Strong leaders” relentlessly pursue their goals, help people develop, know how to have fun, want to make people laugh, are willing to defy consensus. Strong leaders” also show less sympathy.
Reported by: Ashley Busing