Monday, August 18, 2014

The Psychology of Skillful Business Leaders

Guest blog writer, Paulette Janus, one of the featured speakers at our upcoming breakfast workshop, Soft Skill Development for the Women Business Leader to be held on August 27th


Business and Psychology…two words that often are not linked together. Yet, recognizing, and maximizing on, the interplay of psychology and business, can help you and your team in terms of increased motivation, morale, goal-driven behaviors, and customer acquisition and retention. In psychology, five dimensions are used to describe the core human personality make-up. This is referred to as the Five Factor Model (FFM) and can be remembered with the mnemonic OCEAN. Skillful leaders have been shown to be high in Openness, Conscientiousness, and Extraversion, and low in Agreeableness and Neuroticism, although flexibility is also important as different situations and scenarios often require different skills. Typically personality traits are thought of as unchangeable yet personalities are not static. Here are the five dimensions and ways to build (first three) and minimize (last two) these skills.

1.      Openness: This refers to a person’s openness to new ideas, experiences, and activities. A person high in O tends to be curious, imaginative, and independent. A person low in O tends to be practical, conservative, and prefers repetition.
-        Try something new.
-        Do not be ruled by fear.

2.      Conscientiousness: This refers to a person’s approach to their work, life, and relationships. A person high in C tends to be organized, dependable, self-disciplined, and goal-directed. A person low in C tends to be a procrastinator, lack focus, and be casual about responsibilities.
-        Do what you say you are going to do.
-        View your behaviors through the lens of the other person.

3.      Extraversion: This refers to a person’s comfort level with external stimuli. A person high in E tends to be energetic, social, talkative, and assertive. A person low in E tends to be introverted and quiet with a preference for working alone.
-        Find a group where you feel you fit.
-        Focus on what you can give, not what you can get.

4.      Agreeableness: This refers to a person’s tendency to be cooperative, agreeable, and helpful. A person high in A tends to focus on getting along and is willing to compromise for social harmony. A person low in A tends to be skeptical and competitive, focusing on their self-interest.
-        Quit apologizing.
-        Stop making statements that sound like questions.

5.      Neuroticism: This refers to a person’s emotional stability and impulse control. A person high in N tends to experience negative emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, and frustration. A person low in N tends to be able to remain calm in aversive situations and have a high tolerance for stress.
-        Have a good self-care routine.
-        Work towards positive reframing.

Want more information? Attend the KOS breakfast workshop, Soft Skill Development For The Woman Business Leader, on Wednesday August 27th.

For more information regarding the FFM click here.

For a brief, free on-line test to measure your FFM click here.

Paulette Janus, LCSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and founder of Janus Behavioral Health Services with offices in Lincoln Park and Wilmette. Paulette has over 15 years experience providing individual, couples and family psychotherapy, specializing in children, teens and families. She is also trained in and provides alternative dispute resolution interventions including family/divorce mediation, collaborative divorce coaching and child specialist services, and co-parent coaching. Her website is

Follow Paulette’s blog Happy Healthy People where starting in September she will write a weekly five-part series exploring each of the FFM in detail.

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