We can infer managers’ potential from the profile of the mental ability and Big Five personality factor scores as follows:

Above average general mental ability and as high as possible; particularly for roles that require a high level of competence in the intellectual cluster, e.g. finance directors.

At least low average extraversion scores and as high as possible; particularly in roles where calculated risk-taking is required, e.g. sales/marketing directors.

Average emotional stability scores and as high as possible; particularly in roles requiring a high level of interpersonal competence, e.g. sales/marketing directors.

Between low average and high average conscientiousness scores. Be wary of extremes.

Above average independence (i.e. below average agreeableness) scores and as much independence as possible. This is key indicator of potential in the all-important results orientation competency cluster. However, we need to be cautious of those who combine low agreeableness with low stability and/or low conscientiousness.

Around average scores for openness. Lower scores may be acceptable in roles with established routines, e.g. operational management.

These guidelines are particularly useful in situations where candidates do not have proven competence, e.g. new graduate recruits. They might also indicate temperamental suitability of experienced managers and give warning of potential career derailers.