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Personality at Work: The Drivers and Derailers of Leadership by Ronald Warren

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CHAPTER 3

Personality Traits and Profiles

HOW MANY PERSONALITY TRAITS EXIST?

The MIT personality traits web page lists 638 “traits.” This long list includes synonyms that describe the same traits. For example, Hostility is closely related to the meaning of traits such as Angry, Cantankerous, Argumentative, Abrasive, Vindictive, Hateful, Unctuous, Treacherous, Sadistic, Reactive, Predatory, and the list goes on and on—with another 30 words! So as you can see, there are not 638 meaningfully different personality traits.

By the 1950s, psychologists had identified and classified the personality traits we measure today. Although we use a range of labels for the key traits, psychologists agree that between 10 and 15 traits reflect the important individual ...

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