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The Ultimate Leaders: PsychTests Releases Study on Leadership Qualities That Differentiate the Best from the Rest

Leadership Tips reveals the skills and personality characteristics that make or break leaders.

Montreal, Canada - March 18, 2011 -, one of the web's foremost source of personality, career, and IQ assessments has gone on a search for greatness. Their study on leadership potential reveals key traits that turn a special few into pack leaders.

In July 1974, TIME Magazine asked a group of businessmen, historians, military men and writers one question: Who were history's great leaders? Among the elite listed were emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Buddha, and Gandhi. What made these men great leaders, according to those asked, were qualities like moral character, imagination, foresight, zeal, and fearlessness. They made an impact. They were confident leaders who brought out the same sense of self-assurance in others, often by actions, but sometimes with their words alone. Even the more notorious leaders in history had the amazing ability to convince masses of people to follow them, albeit to great calamity.

After comparing people rated as excellent leaders to those who were considered "poor" leaders using their Leadership Skills Test, Psychtests discovered that there were some very distinct lines in the sand. Excellent leaders outscored their less successful peers in leadership positions on every factor assessed on the test. The biggest differences (of 10 points or more) were found for traits/skills like Goal Setting (score of 85 for excellent leaders, 68 for poor leaders, on a scale from 0 to 100), Motivating others (score of 87 for excellent leaders, 76 for poor leaders), Coaching (score of 83 for excellent leaders, 73 for poor leaders), Problem Solving (score of 72 for excellent leaders, 62 for poor leaders), Vision (score of 79 for excellent leaders, 61 for poor leaders), Setting an Example (score of 83 for excellent leaders, 71 for poor leaders), Agreeableness (score of 70 for excellent leaders, 53 for poor leaders), Conscientiousness (score of 89 for excellent leaders, 74 for poor leaders), Open-mindedness (score of 85 for excellent leaders, 73 for poor leaders), Extroversion (score of 75 for excellent leaders, 58 for poor leaders), and Emotional Stability (score of 74 for excellent leaders, 52 for poor leaders). In terms of leadership style, excellent leaders were more likely to adopt a "Transformational" approach, in which the goal is to empower employees to help them reach their full potential.

Good leaders are in a class of their own with a very distinct personality profile.

"The importance of demeanor, in terms of extroversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability was interesting to see," points out Dr. Jerabek, president of the company. "This isn't to say that the "strong silent" types cannot be effective as leaders. But those who can embolden with their words and who are charismatic can appeal to the masses more and draw people in. This is what made leaders like JFK and Martin Luther King so endearing to those who followed them - and what also tends to differentiate great managers and CEOs from the rest.

Although there wasn't a great deal of difference in Psychtests' statistics between excellent male and female leaders, women were shown to be slightly more likely to value giving feedback to subordinates, while men were slightly more open-minded and emotionally steady.

Other interesting tidbits from Psychtests' study

Those rated as excellent leaders tended to strongly believe that...

  • Leaders must behave in a trustworthy manner in order to set a good example for those they lead.
  • A leader's performance is improved by asking subordinates for their opinions and ideas on projects.
  • Part of being a good leader is the ability to harness the strengths of employees to do the best possible job.
  • It's better to do the right thing (i.e. follow legal/ethical standards) than what is most profitable.
  • It's important to clearly state the goals that employees should be working towards.
  • Employees should be praised after a job well done.
  • Leaders should constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve their own performance.
  • Delegation is necessary in order for a leader to perform well.
  • Money is not the best way to motivate people.
  • Maximum efficiency is achieved when a leader helps people to motivate themselves.

" It's important for companies to recognize that management and leadership are distinct, and that in order to bring out the best in employees, a person must have the business know-how of a manager but the finesse of a leader," emphasizes Dr. Jerabek. "Good leaders are in a class of their own with a very distinct personality profile, and the strong differences we've seen in our study really bring that point home."

Those who wish to use the Leadership Skills Test for HR purposes can go to

Those who wish to take a concise version of the assessment can go to

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