5 Traits that Predict Leadership

Leadership is regarded as somewhat of a mystery.

Nonetheless, for some organisations, the mystery is worth solving.

While many companies still look backwards with employee analytics, progressive organisations are using predictive techniques to appraise their most important investment—their leaders. But how do organisations predict who will be their next batch of leaders? One approach they apply is personality evaluation. Knowing and understanding what personality traits can predict a leader, is key to determining which employees to groom for leadership.

1. Extroversion

While this trait is the greatest predictor of an emerging leader, it does not necessarily predict effectiveness. Furthermore, extroversion can be divided into two distinctive parts, dominance and sociability. These parts themselves are better predictors of leadership rather than extroversion in of itself.

2. Conscientiousness

An individual’s propensity to be organised and hard-working is the second strongest predictor of leadership. Once again though, this trait is correlated more with leader emergence rather than effectiveness. This is most likely because their ability to organise and work hard means they are better able to stay on their career path to leadership.

3.  Openness to experience

The tides turn now as we come to a trait that is a significant predictor of effective leadership. If a leader is not open to the experience of their team members, they shut down potential opportunities. Not only opportunities for the employees and team, but also for the organisation.

4. Level headedness

Leaders that are level headed are better able to deal with the demands of leadership. Leaders must be able to withstand the frustration and stress of leadership. They must also be well-adjusted, with the psychological maturity to handle anything leadership throws at them.

5. Agreeableness

Because agreeable people tend to be passive and compliant, they are the least likely to emerge as leaders. Nonetheless, once they become leaders, they are more likely to succeed than those showing the other personality traits. This is because their agreeableness will contribute to an inclusive workplace culture and team harmony.


Looking back at a current or future employees history is still a great way to assess employee effectiveness. However, predictive methods are valuable tools as well. Moreover, the organisations that utilise predictive analytics to assess the link between personality traits and leadership, are finding the effort is worth the reward.


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