The attempt to link effective leadership to specific traits is not new, with aspects of the ‘big five’ personal characteristics of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism seen as markers for strong leaders who are able to influence others. Article by Paul Russell, director, Luxury Academy London Ever wondered if your star sign has anything to do with how you lead?
Similarly, astrological theory suggests that there is a link between a person’s date of birth and their personality, ascribing key characteristics to each of the twelve astrological signs. Our personality traits can determine who we are in the workplace; they influence how we think, how we behave, how we perceive situations and react to them, even our strategic and tactical choices, so is there a link between our star sign and our likelihood to exhibit the desirable aspects of the big five traits?
Some of the five traits are linked to our interpersonal skills, such as extraversion and agreeableness, whilst the others are related to performance namely conscientiousness, openness and neuroticism. First off, extraversion which is characterised by a gregarious, warm and positive manner; it is posited that some star signs are more extrovert than others, namely Aries, Gemini, Libra, Leo, Sagittarius and Aquarius. Leos are said to work well in a group, encouraging and motivating others, similarly Arians are posited to be naturally confident and enthusiastic whilst Geminis are considered natural communicators.
The conscientiousness trait has been found to be particularly important for leaders, impacting significantly upon both individual and organisational success. And it is not hard to appreciate why; the conscientious leader is self-motivated, self-disciplined and focused. Which star sign best fits the bill here? The earth signs are all said to be hard-working, Capricorns ambitious, Taureans tenacious, Virgoans diligent; fire sign Scorpios are also said to be extremely determined. Openness as a trait is characterised by a person who is creative and open minded, leaders who are open are more likely to be able to adapt to new situations, altering their strategy and tactics as required. Aquarians are said to be keen to try different approaches rather than following a well-worn path, likewise Pisceans are said to be creative.
Leaders who are low in neuroticism, they are calm, composed and self-assured, are said to be better performers as insecurity, anxiety or emotionality does not affect them as much. Sagittarians are posited to be good in a crises situation, whilst Librans are supposed to be diplomatic and good at seeing different viewpoints. Agreeableness, or the characteristic of being straightforward, compliant and sympathetic is certainly a big five leadership trait, yet there is debate as to how significantly it contributes to leader effectiveness. Geminis, through their communicational abilities could be considered to be agreeable, other star signs that could fall into the agreeable bracket include intuitive Cancerians and sympathetic Pisceans.
How can we utilise this information to make us better leaders? Its main usefulness is in forcing us to look at our personal characteristics and exhibited traits in a professional setting, and assessing how they equate to our desired performance. Any discrepancy is an opportunity for development. Perhaps you’re not in our category of natural extroverts and this is something that you yourself would acknowledge, and would like to change. You may feel that greater confidence would assist you when you deliver presentations, communicate with others, engage with customers, then use this as your catalyst for change. Your inbuilt allotment of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism, whether related to your date of birth or not, are not immovable barriers but fluid and eminently flexible markers controlled by you. It is not your star sign that determines who you are as a leader, but you.