What are Oprah Winfrey’s Behavioral Traits?

Are you more of an Oprah Winfrey or a Steve Jobs? Or a Thich Nhat Hanh? Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking a deep dive into the key behavioral traits of some of your favorite celebrities. Based on an analysis of their observed behaviors and motivators, we’ve created reports that highlight incredible people’s defining behavioral characteristics. Curious who you compare to? Want to adopt some of the behaviors that make incredible leaders? Let’s dive in!

Oprah’s Behavioral Line Chart

Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.

-Oprah Winfrey

There aren’t many people recognized globally by a single name, but “Oprah” definitely makes that list. Over the past several decades, she has boasted an extremely influential talk show, created her own television network and has won numerous awards for her work in media and philanthropy. Possessing a unique combination of passion, ambition, resilience and empathy, she has been ranked as one of the world’s most influential women in the world.

So what can we learn from Oprah’s leadership style? How can we adopt her behaviors to drive our teams and empower them? Let’s take a look at some of her key behavioral traits on the chart below. The red line shows Oprah’s behaviors, while the blue line shows an anonymous person’s behaviors for comparison.

Oprah’s Key Behavioral Traits

Adjectives:  Lively and social, caring, supportive, optimistic, ambitious, driven, focused, resilient, persistent, bold, strong, determined, confident, passionate, fast-paced and people-focused.

High Proactivity (Pro)

The big secret in life is there is no secret. Whatever your goal. You can get there if you’re willing to work.

-Oprah Winfrey

Self-motivated, determined and ambitious, Oprah is very focused on setting goals and working hard. She has a net worth of $2.5 billion and has been awarded many honors, including a Peabody Award, Tony Award, two Academy Award nominations, and 20 Emmy Awards.

High Dominance (Dom)

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”

-Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is strong, forthright, determined, and able to influence others. She takes charge, is determined, and headstrong, hosting a long running talk show, launching her own television network and leading several philanthropic efforts.

High Endurance (End)

Failure ultimately shapes you as a leader. Failure is the most powerful source for know-how and understanding.  It teaches you about survival, renewal and reinvention of yourself and the organization you are leading.”

-Oprah Winfrey

Throughout her career, Oprah has worked conscientiously toward her goals and has withstood significant hardships and adversity in her life. Despite her difficult childhood, she became an honor student and earned prizes in dramatic recitation and oratory and landed a job in radio while she was still in high school. She then went on to become the first female African American billionaire, because of her passion, persistence and resilience. She believes that failure is part of the process and the resilience you gain from falling down is a key component of being a successful leader.

High Support (Sup)

When you make loving others the story of your life, there’s never a final chapter, because the legacy continues. You lend your light to one person, and he or she shines it on another and another and another.And I know for sure that in the final analysis of our lives- when the to-do lists are no more, when the frenzy is finished, when our e-mail inboxes are empty- the only thing that will have any lasting value is whether we’ve loved others and whether they’ve loved us.

-Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is supportive and sensitive to the physical and emotional needs and wants of others. She is thoughtful, peace-loving and warm and people often confide in her. She is an encourager who sees the good in others and prioritizes relationships. Oprah has been known to explicitly value the happiness and well-being of others, prioritizing the development of programs and incentives that celebrate and develop her employees and audience.

High Exhibition (Exh)

Work equals fun. You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it. When you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you’re getting paid.”

-Oprah Winfrey

Oprah has the ease, charisma and confidence of a high exhibition scorer. From the start of her career, she has enjoyed and thrived in the limelight on talk radio shows and television. She enjoys the attention and affection of others and is naturally entertaining and stimulating.

High Self-Confidence (S-Cfd)

“Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others.”

-Oprah Winfrey

In her interviews and public appearances, Oprah is always poised, self- assured, and confident. She is an assertive person who believes in herself and her dreams, and as a result, others believe in her as well. She has a strong sense of her own values and acts with her purest intentions to make her vision a reality. Because of this confidence and vulnerability, she attracts people who truly believe in who she is and what she does creating a culture of loyalty and community.

High Creativity (Cre)

“I know who I am, and the thing about power for me is that it’s connected to a source that’s obviously greater than myself. Any time you can connect to the source and understand that that’s where all of your energy, your creativity, your joy and your triumph come from, I consider that to be authentic power.”

-Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is a bold, original thinker. She is adventurous, bright, and “quick on her feet.” She is an “idea person” who thinks outside of the box and enjoys fast paced, constantly changing environments in media. Variety, originality & individual effort have motivated her throughout her career.

After reading Oprah’s key behavioral traits, it’s easy to see why so many people across the globe admire her. Her leadership style balances strength, resilience and ambition with an empathetic heart that continually draws people toward her vision. Despite significant hardship in her early life, Oprah has become one of the richest and most influential women in the United States.

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