If you Google the question, “What makes a great leader?” you will find more than 18 million search results that include the five to 20 qualities you need to be a great leader, quotes about successful leadership, research studies, infographics and more.

It is clear that employees, managers, entrepreneurs and others are interested in what makes a great leader, and it is a question that we are frequently asked by our clients and workshop participants. After Participants take their Profile and go to a Meeting of the Minds to learn about their thinking and behavioral preferences, we often are asked what Profile type lends itself to stronger leadership.

Warren Bennis once said, “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born-that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”

I would agree with this statement and share that it is also precarious to think that having a particular personality type, preference or Profile makes someone a better leader.

While many articles say successful leaders must be able to set a vision, which sounds like a Conceptual preference, or great leaders are decisive, which speaks to Flexibility and Assertiveness behaviors, the truth is that there is not one Profile type that predisposes you to leadership.

That is because Profiles are about preferences, not about ability. While someone may prefer to operate with an Analytical and Structural mindset, they can use their strengths and experiences to create a compelling vision for a company or engage with their employees in an empathetic or personal way. Similarly, the fact that your Profile does not contain a Social preference and that you are first-third Expressive does not prevent you from being an effective, personable communicator.

Leadership is not about a set of personality traits, rather it is about the actions you take that inspire others to want to follow you. We have found that great leaders share certain qualities and attitudes, not Profile preferences, which make them stand out:

1. Great leaders are constant learners. John F. Kennedy once said that leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. Great leaders believe in lifelong learning and are energized by finding out more about not only their businesses but also other areas of life. It’s this drive for constant learning that also helps promote innovation.

2. Great leaders are accountable and have often failed at some point in their careers. They have been through difficult experiences, have made mistakes and have the courage to own up to them. These failures and their accountability for their mistakes have given them important lessons that ultimately made them successful.

3. Great leaders have a positive attitude. While leaders should not be blindly positive, successful leaders tend to be those who see opportunity in spite of difficulty. They understand that their own negativity clouds not only their own judgment but also that of other employees, so they choose to adopt a positive attitude.

4. Great leaders are self-aware. Leaders who are successful understand their own strengths and challenges. They take the time to reflect on themselves and focus on self-improvement. They also recognize that they need to hire people to shore up their weaknesses and trust them to do their jobs.

5. Great leaders have the ability to approach different people differently. Rather than approach every situation from their own perspectives, great leaders communicate and work with employees and partners from all backgrounds in ways that speak to these individuals’ preferences, even if the leader typically prefers a different approach.

While there is not a particular Emergenetics Profile that will indicate your success as a leader, the Profile can help you gain self-awareness and become a leader who understands others and can communicate effectively with anyone.

If you can take a positive approach and commit to learn about yourself and others, you can be a great leader no matter what thinking or behavioral preferences you have.

To support your leadership growth, learn how you can leverage the Emergenetics Profile for your professional development and your organization.

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