If You Have These 6 Traits, Research Says You Have A High-Potential Personality

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What makes for a good leader? Is it their ability to bring people together? Problem solve? Take smart risks? Regardless of what you specifically value in a leader, research has found that the best leaders have one very important thing in common: they are high-potential personalities.

"High-potentials have a track record of consistently and significantly outperforming their peers throughout their lives," Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist and creator of Your Happiness Hypothesis Method, tells Bustle. "They are highly sought after in companies because they're able to do this more quickly and effectively than their peers."

Because personality is something that's often stable and isn't easily changed over time, you can think of high-potential personalities as natural born leaders. They possess certain qualities that are necessary for success.

According to Rachel Ann Dine, licensed professional counselor and owner of Humanitas Counseling and Consulting, LLC, high-potential personality traits are often assessed formally using the High-Potential Traits Inventory. "There are six traits assessed that are often thought to predict positive traits of leaders," she says.

So how do you know if you're high-potential? Research says these six following traits can determine if you are a high-potential personality.



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How driven are you to succeed? According to Silva, high-potential personalities are not just results-driven, they're excellence-driven. "Excellence to the high-potential personality does not come at the expense of someone else," she says. "Excellence is considered a standard that creates higher credibility for them." If you have high conscientiousness, that means you're more likely to think strategically. You set a goal, make a plan, and are disciplined enough to see it through. Those with high conscientiousness are also motivated internally, while those with lower conscientiousness are motivated by people and circumstances.



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How competitive are you? Competitiveness can be useful if it isn't taken to any extremes. If you have "useful competitiveness," you can focus on the success of the team as a whole and make decisions that reflect that. According to Silva, high-potentials are strong collaborators who can work with people across and outside of their organizations. "They focus on involving and communicating with the right people in order to meet goals collectively rather than just going for ego-driven pats on the back," she says.


Ambiguity Acceptance

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How do you approach uncertainity and complexity? "The high potential personality thrives in conditions of uncertainty by creating control over the situation they are subjected to," Silva says. If you have high ambiguity acceptance, you have the ability to listen to different viewpoints before making a decision. You take the time to understand complex issues, and you're highly receptive to feedback. Those with low ambiguity acceptance tend to be toxic leaders who prefer clear-cut answers and often times, temporary solutions.


Risk Approach

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How willing are you to confront and solve difficult problems? A high-potential personality will have a higher risk approach to solving issues. That means, they're more proactive than reactive. "They are willing to take risks, be accountable for their decisions, and excel," Silva says. "Some even love chaos because they are able to distinguish themselves quickly."



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How curious are you to learn and understand people and your organization? High-potential personalities are highly curious. They know that good strategy comes from truly understanding the ins and outs of people and the company. "They create 'social bridges' with their networks and have genuine interest in getting to know people personally," Silva says. When they have all the information they need, they can make the right decisions that will benefit everyone moving forward.



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How do you react to stress? High-potential personalities have the ability to cope with high levels of stress. They're resilient, know how to adjust, and they have the ability to put their personal feelings aside to think of the greater good. According to Silva, "They leverage mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities and apply those lessons to the future rather than ruminating about how it could have been different."

So these are the six traits that are often used to predict a good leader. But as with anything else, balance is key. "If a person has too much or too little of these high-potential traits, it can be detrimental," Dine says. For instance, being too competitive is never the best thing.

Overall, Dine says that taking a personality inventory test can be a fun way to learn more about yourself. Who knows? Maybe you have a high-potential personality without you realizing it.