Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The 6 + 2 Psychological Factors of a Good Leader

There are a number of closely correlating studies examining the psychological factors which contribute to a successful leader. I have just completed a short meta-analysis research review for a client. I thought I would share an outline of the findings of the factors which correlate across most of the studies with a couple of trends in more recent studies.

The 6 Psychological Factors of a Good Leader:


  1. Decisiveness. The ability to make frequent and consistant decisions. This includes the sub-factors of taking responsibility for their decisions, knowing and sticking to the principles and ethics driving their  decision making. Decisiveness is often seen as providing clarity in uncertain situations.
  2. Overall competence. Good leaders are all seen as competent, not just as leaders but also within the realm they making decisions in. They are not just managing any situation but have competence in dealing with such situations and are perceived as having that level of competence. 
  3. Integrity or honest intent. People follow and trust leaders who they believe have the best intent or purpose. Integrity and others trust are usually seen by people as part of the same factor. 
  4. Vision. Often trotted out as a core leadership activity, vision in this case is the ability of the leader to project / articulate a clear, coherent and comprehensible path towards a meaningful goal.
  5. Persistance. Not only are good leaders clear about their goals they keep going and don't give up. This does not mean that they keep on regardless and there is a sub-factor of adaptability especially if a better way is found or the context/situation changes.
  6. Modesty. This is an interesting and surprising factor. Leaders who blow their own trumpet / feel the need to tell others how good they are are frequently associated with being a bad leader. Good leaders are seen as those who praise the right people and give credit to the team rather than themselves.
Current emerging trends

Two additional emerging psychological factors which are cropping up more frequently in recent research are:

  1. Adaptability / agility. This is the ability to deal flexibly with rapidly changing situations and has the sub-factors of the ability to see change as it happens, the ability to hold competing perspectives and deal with ambiguity and rapid change.
  2. Autonomy. This is the ability to stand alone when needed and make their own mind up as opposed to following trends without critical appraisal. 

1 comment:

Diana Guess said...
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