The importance of personality in leadership

As you maximise your ability to communicate with your team members, it’s important to understand not just your strengths and what you bring to the role which are important, but also who you are as a person. How do you tend to communicate? What impact might that have on others? Where and how do you like to operate?

The Greek philosopher, Hippocrates (460-370 BC), was the first person to record the different personality styles which he observed in the world around him. He gave them different names in those days (it was over 2,000 years ago – fashions change) but his observations were startlingly correct, and are still used today in many personality assessments. Hippocrates called the four types:

·         Choleric
·         Sanguine
·         Phlegmatic
·         Melancholic

His work was re-visited by more modern philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Carl Jung and Elias Porter, who, along with others, built on Hippocrates’ work. These experts then decided that most people are a blend of these 4 styles, but that many have a dominant style. Whether you have an equal mix or a dominant style, knowing the theory helps you understand yourself, others, and your relationships with them. It also helps you to understand your motivators, strengths, and weaknesses, so that you can become more balanced in your life.

The Navanter Personality Style Instrument, or NPSI™, is a tool to help you understand more about who you are, in line with Hippocrates’ research, and adapted for the modern business world. We use more modern terminology as in the diagram.

Identifying dominant styles

As we look at yourself and others, there are certain clues you can look for to suggest someone’s dominant style. These clues are in:

·         Motivators
·         Communication style
·         Preferred environment


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