The Relationship Between Leadership and Personality

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The Relationship
Between Leadership
and Personality
Andrew J. Marsiglia, PhD, CCP
People that have task-oriented personality types tend
to have considerable focus on details. They are not
comfortable initiating an action-plan until they are
satisfied they have all the necessary facts. On the
other hand, people who have relations-oriented
personality types tend to have considerable focus on
the result and are comfortable initiating an action plan when they have just the essential facts. Therefore, it is important for a leader to understand
personality and accurately adjust leadership style to
the management situation.

www.lead-inspire.com
August 2005

The Relationship between leadership and Personality
Andrew J. Marsiglia, PhD, CCP
August 2005
People who have task-oriented personality types tend to have considerable focus on details. They are not comfortable initiating an action-plan until they are satisfied they have all the necessary facts. On the other hand, people who have relations-oriented personality types tend to have considerable focus on the result and are comfortable initiating an action-plan when they have just the essential facts (Blake & Mouton, 1982). Therefore, it is important for a leader to understand personality and accurately adjust leadership style to the management situation. Bass (1990) states,

Personality theorists tended to regard leadership as a one-way effect: Leaders possess qualities that differentiate them from followers. But these theorists did not acknowledge the extent to which leaders and followers have interactive effects by determining which qualities of followers are of consequence in a situation. (p. 12) Personality predicted leadership emergence across a variety of people and settings. Lord (1986) states, “In short, personality traits are associated with leadership emergence to a higher degree and more consistently than popular literature indicates” (p. 407). In addition, Barrick and Mount (1993) have found a significant association between personality and job performance. The combination of leadership style and personality type appears to meld into a psychological combination that produces the ethos of a leader. “Leaders are not just identified by their leadership styles, but also by their personalities, their awareness of themselves and others, and their appreciation of diversity, flexibility, and paradox” (Handbury, 2001, p. 11). In addition, McGregor (1960) states, “It is quite unlikely that there is a single basic pattern of abilities and personality trait characteristics of all leaders. The personality characteristics of the leader are not unimportant, but those which are essential differ considerably depending on the circumstances” | Relationship Between Leadership and Personality

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(p. 180). Therefore, it may indeed, make a difference in ascertaining personality type in order to determine the correct job match between an employee and his or her colleagues. Historical Overview

The ancient era of leadership theory, from about 2300 B.C. to 1A.D., was characterized by the idea of leaders being great men who were sources of authority and justice. Leaders were expected to behave in a manner imagined by their society and culture as appropriate for a particular role such as a king, chief, prince, or prophet. They were considered to be heroic, inspirational and endowed with special leadership power that enabled them to capture their follower’s imagination (Bass, 1990). So powerful was this effect that when Woods (1913) examined the evolution of leadership in 14 countries over a 14-century period, he concluded that the great-man leaders made their nation and shaped it in accordance with their abilities. The classical era of leadership range from 1 A.D. to 1869 and the neoclassical era range from 1870 to 1939 encompassing a substantial portion of the industrial era. During the Industrial era, organization theories were based on social, demographic, and...
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