What Kind of Boss are You?16 October 2022 / By Megan Malone Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on October 15, 2022
This new quiz uncovers your leadership personality type.
When you think of a leader, a certain type of person may come to mind. But in reality, leaders come in many different flavors. Some bosses are direct and assertive, focusing on accomplishing goals and achieving big results. Others are emotional intelligence gurus, making sure everyone on the team feels heard and supported.
A person’s leadership style is largely influenced by her personality. To celebrate how different personalities show up as leaders, Truity and Girlboss partnered to create the ‘What Type of Boss Are You?’ quiz.
Based on the Big 5 Personality model and leadership research, the free quiz identifies eight different leadership personality types: The Influencer, the Visionary, the Innovator, the Muse, the Cheerleader, the Action Hero, the Giver and the Pillar of Strength.
So, what is your leadership personality type? Keep reading for a sneak peek at each personality type, or take the free quiz to get your results.
The science of leadership: what makes a good leader?
We have long theorized about what it means to be an effective leader. Leadership theories date back to ancient China and Greece. Chinese philosopher Confucious believed that leaders must be firm and direct, and followers should obey their leader’s demands. Plato touted that leaders should consider the needs of their followers and prioritize lawful obedience and justice over strict conformity.
Since ancient times, we’ve come far in our understanding of leadership. Modern research has discovered that certain Big Five personality traits positively correlate with whether or not a person will become a leader. This research suggests that individuals most likely to become a leader will score high in the traits of Openness and Conscientiousness and low in Neuroticism. However, just because someone is more likely to become a leader doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a good leader.
So, what is it that makes someone a good leader? Our current understanding of leadership suggests that it’s not a person’s innate personality traits — but their willingness to grow and develop skills and competencies over time.
An essential trait in effective leaders is a growth mindset. Developed by Carol Dweck, a growth mindset is a desire to embrace challenges, accept feedback, persist in the face of setbacks, and commit to lifelong learning and development. In leadership, this means:
- Understanding and appreciating the value of all employees
- Understanding employees’ struggles and challenges
- Learning from failure and mistakes
- Encouraging learning and growth among team members
- Being open and sharing important information
- Accepting feedback focused on learning and growth
Just as a growth mindset can be developed, great leaders can be developed. Many tools and resources for leadership development are proven to be highly effective, including leadership training and coaching. Studies show that coaching interventions can improve leadership performance by 20-30%.
Eight leadership personality types
Developing a growth mindset and leadership potential starts with self-awareness. Each of the leadership personality types is based on how a person scores in three of the Big Five personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness and Agreeableness. When we start by understanding who we already are, we can then work toward growing into who we want to be.
Empathetic and supportive, the Influencer always sees the good in others. She’s a superstar at coaching, developing, and identifying the potential in her team members. That said, she may struggle with making tough decisions and may sometimes fail to think through resource and logistical constraints.
- Big Five profile: High Openness, High Agreeableness, High Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Empathetic, supportive, motivational, organized
- Quote to lead by: “I am happiest when I feel that people are getting something [from me], learning something, enhancing themselves in a way that they never thought of before." — Oprah Winfrey
This leader is organized and decisive with an independent and hands-off management style. She’s at her best when she’s focusing on the long game, challenging the status quo and making tough decisions. Because of her take-charge nature, she might appear cold and distant, making it difficult to bond with others.
- Big Five profile: High Openness, Low Agreeableness, High Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Analytical, strategic, organized, decisive
- Quote to lead by: “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” — Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Adaptable and strategic, the Innovator is an analytical thinker and graceful problem-solver who’s always willing to consider new ideas and approaches. On the flip side, she could be better at networking, relationship-building and considering the practical side of things.
- Big Five profile: High Openness, Low Agreeableness, Low Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Flexible, innovative, strategic, analytical
- Quote to lead by: "Being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way." — Tina Fey
With her creativity and positive attitude, this leader loves nothing more than brainstorming for the next great out-of-the-box idea. She’s a champion for change and an empathetic, flexible leader, but she may overlook the practical side of things, struggle with deadlines and not be as performance-oriented as others.
- Big Five profile: High Openness, High Agreeableness, Low Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Flexible, creative, motivational, empathetic
- Quote to lead by: "I'm passionate. I find if I really believe something, I want to put my entire being behind it." — Arianna Huffington
The Cheerleader’s superpower is her positive attitude. Observant and excellent at reading body language, her number one priority is to make sure everyone is heard and supported. But she may struggle to meet deadlines and isn’t always focused on future results.
- Big Five profile: Low Openness, High Agreeableness, Low Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Adaptable, thoughtful, optimistic, observant
- Quote to lead by: "If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader." — Dolly Parton
The Action Hero
This leader is more interested in throwing someone in the deep end than gently guiding them. She’s resourceful, realistic, and doesn’t scare easily, thanks to her depth of knowledge and quick improvisation skills. She may struggle with relationship building or focusing too much on the present at the expense of future goals.
- Big Five profile: Low Openness, Low Agreeableness, Low Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Responsive, resourceful, realistic, decisive
- Quote to lead by: "People respond well to those that are sure of what they want. What people hate most is indecision. Even if I'm completely unsure, I'll pretend I know exactly what I'm talking about and make a decision." — Anna Wintour
With her empathetic and supportive nature, the Giver encourages her team members to collaborate and achieve common goals. She’s honest and reliable, while also being practical and organized. That said, she may allow relational issues at work to get in the way of long-term planning and tough decision-making.
- Big Five profile: Low Openness, High Agreeableness, High Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Empathetic, reliable, supportive, organized
- Quote to lead by: "None of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful." – Mother Teresa
The Pillar of Strength
This type of leader has her feet planted firmly on the ground. She’s practical, organized, analytical, and never afraid to tell it like it is. However, she may struggle with building close relationships, delegating, or getting too caught in the weeds.
- Big Five profile: Low Openness, Low Agreeableness, High Conscientiousness
- Leadership traits: Honest, practical, organized, decisive
Quote to lead by: “What we need right now [is] leadership; we need people with judgment; we need decent people, people with common sense, people with strong family values." — Michelle Obama