The tendency to be sociable and assertive, to have positive energy.
The tendency to be thorough, organized, controlled, dependable, and decisive.
Openness (to Experience)
The tendency to be informed, creative, insightful, and curious.
Emotional Stability (Neuroticism)
The tendency to be depressed, anxious, insecure, vulnerable, and hostile (low Emotional Stability).
The tendency to be accepting, conforming, trusting, and nurturing.
Big 5 Relationship with Work-Related Behavior (and Performance)
Conscientious, High Agreeableness, High Emotional Stability (Low Neuroticism), Low Openness to Experience, Extroversion.
Set higher performance expectations and personal goals for themselves, are generally more motivated, and absent less.
High Agreeableness Employees
Associated with better customer relations and conflict resolution.
High Emotional Stability Employees
People tend to work better in high-stress situations.
Low Openness to Experience Employees
Associated with change resistance and these individuals may struggle in dynamic, fast change occupations.
Related to success in certain occupations requiring high social interaction (e.g. sales). Introverts are less likely to be absent from work, but extroversion is the trait most strongly associated with leadership.
Trait Approach Strengths
- Intuitive appeal - Over a century of research support - Provides a deep understanding of the leader - Provides information about what people are looking for in leaders (self-awareness and developmental possibilities)
Trait Approach Criticisms
- Failure to provide a definitive list of traits - Failure to take situations into account - Highly subjective determination/interpretation of most important traits - Failure to look at relationships between traits and outcomes
Everyone has talents in which they excel or thrive and leaders are able to recognize and capitalize on not only their own strengths but those of their followers as well.
Individuals are distinguished less by their impressive raw power than by their ability to identify their strengths and then exploit them.
How is the Trait Approach different from other approaches?
It focuses exclusively on the leader, not on the followers or the situation. It argues that people with certain traits will just be better leaders.