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Personality Big 5 Connections and Centered Leadership

Are you still discovering who you are?

Do you have any big theories or processes that you are still working out?

One of my big unifying theory-processes-notions centers around what I call centered leadership. It's different than the centered leadership identified in a recent book by the same title (I've read that book and it is filled with great insights and I don't disagree with any of it -- it's just that it was develop outside of what I have been thinking of as centered leadership. I did try to adapt away from my thinking but it's no use, I'm heavily intellectually invested in this now so I parallel my way thru any diversions).

The purpose of this blog entry is just to capture another related notion with some connectedness. It's the psychological idea often referred to as the "Big 5". Good heavens, I have another notion I've been calling the Big 5 that has NOTHING to do with any of this but I won't let that deter me (my Big 5 is a way of measuring impact based on customer satisfaction, team member satisfaction, compliance, revenue, and expenses)M

The idea of a psychological big five is nicely summarized here:

http://psychology.about.com/od/personalitydevelopment/a/bigfive.htm


In my own curious way I've connected the dots a bit and compared the big 5 with what I think of as the 5 core leadership strengths. Except in the big 5 is a trait not at all a strength -- neuroticism. That doesn't fit into my little charting system at all. Here is the overlay that fits:

Centered Leadership Strength / Big 5

Courage / Openness
Creativity / Extraversion
Clarity / Conscientiousness
Compassion / Agreeableness

MY fifth is Centering, and that is charted as a circle in the middle of the four quadrants -- representing balance and flexibility in utilizing each and every key leadership strength skillfully and as needed. It can also be thought of as mindfulness in action.

The fifth Big 5, neuroticism, does not fit into my little chart but I would draw it as a triangle that has fallen off the chart. It's a bit like the opposite of centering: it is the absence of balance and flexibility. It is any one of the other traits taken to extreme or starved of its need.

This is just a quick thought on a deep idea -- my musings at 2 am...and I welcome any thoughts. There are enough tangents here for a book and maybe that's on its way. Who knows?

Don't you enjoy unexpected connections?

-- Doug Smith


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