Big Five Model of Leadership Traits

Cite this article as:"Big Five Model of Leadership Traits," in The Business Professor, updated April 9, 2020, last accessed October 25, 2020,


What is the Big Five Model for Characterizing Leadership Traits?

The Big Five Model is a psychological model that seeks to categorize the characteristics of a person’s personality. It has been applied to understanding leadership emergence of perception and effectiveness. The elements are as follows:

  • Extraversion – Individuals who are social, assertive, and energetic tend to have a greater ability to influence others. Also, these individuals are found to have a higher degree of confidence. Having both social and dominant tendencies allows them to stand out in various scenarios. Extraversion has the greatest relevance to the perception of leadership and effectiveness.
  • Openness to Experience – Openness to New Experience is a characteristic of generally mindful and creative individuals. The effect is a sense of originality and creativity in their actions.
  • Conscientiousness – Conscientiousness means mental awareness. It generally means taking and an organized and structured approach to situations. These individuals also tend to be proactive and take initiative. They tend to be persistent in pursuit of their objectives.
  • Agreeableness – Agreeableness concerns the extent to which an individual is friendly and compassionate versus their competitiveness and detachment. Those who emerge as leaders tend to be more friendly and compassionate.
  • Neuroticism – This concerns the extent to which an individual is confident and secure in themselves versus feeling highly sensitive and nervous. As expected, leaders tend to demonstrate higher levels of confidence and personal security.

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