Expert Panel

Focus on these things to succeed in Senior Manager

New Attributes Which Mark a Leader




One of the most popular personality tests that have been used to assess high-potential employees has been the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.


Formulated in the early 20th Century by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, the assessment has since become an industry-wide litmus test of sorts—a way to group different people into various thinking styles. But is it still efficient? With nine out of ten companies using the Myer-Briggs test to conduct assessments of employees, some people would say ‘yes’.


But critiques of its outmoded methodology (which  borders on pseudoscience) have made way for an altogether new, improved approach to the workplace.


Psychologists Ian MacRae and Adrian Furnham of University College London have been working in this area for some time and recently wrote a book called High Potential, which explores the area.


Through their studies, they have pulled together six new traits that exemplify a new type of modern leader, one who is able to manoeuvre in a fast-paced, changing environment. So, what are they?


Let's start with conscientiousness, a type of mindful skill; people with this trait are able to take in all factors around them to make a good decision. They can work through tasks thoroughly and methodically, which is essential for strategic planning.


Adjustment is next. This is a type of adaptability that allows you to face modern pressures like a change of environment or stress factors. In good measure, this particular skill allows you to flourish under duress and benefit from great outcomes, but too little adaptability can just as easily set you back in the workplace.


Next up is ambiguity acceptance. This (more than anything) is necessary in our modern world. It’s a way for people to navigate the stresses of the modern work life. People with a high level of this skill are better able to tolerate economic and technological changes, but are primarily skilled at investing time in listening to those around them and considering their viewpoints in their decision-making.


It’s a somewhat under-appreciated skill, but people with a high level of curiosity are able to show their interest in the people around them. In ample amounts, curiosity can lead to an embrace of new ideas and ultimately lead to new procedures. In fact, new studies show that curiosity can lead to growth and confidence.


Then there is risk approach. As we all know, there are many unpleasant situations in the work environment, and part of what makes a great manager is the ability to mitigate uncertainty. A good microcosm of this is playing poker; talented players often have to deal with managing risk effectively in order to become good at what they do. They're dealing with variability, weighing up good decisions, and accepting loss at any given moment, all in the space of one hour.


Finally, there is competitiveness—without this the business place doesn’t thrive. A high dose of this trait can lead you to innovate and push others to do better. However, a low dose can lead to a fractured atmosphere in the workplace.


As simple as these six traits all sound, they are to be treated with caution, as they are based on sliding scales, and too much or too little of them can be detrimental. However, in this day and age, these traits are far more accurate than the Myer Briggs test in profiling an optimal manager, and with ever-present changes to our economies, perhaps they’re needed now more than ever.



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