This is Leadership: Leader Personality


……. leaders are not qualitatively different from their followers

A leader must have a defined personality (Manktelow et al, 2016). This should be noted. Leaders are distributed disproportionately across the established universally accepted personality types (the OCEAN Model of Personality). The model (Hughes et al, 2015) groups personality types into five major, though, broad categories.

As a matter of fact, every leader has a profile and the profile defines a leader’s portrait. You can exhibit dominance of one or two of the personality types and or even three or all of the personality types.

As different as we may be, there is strength and uniqueness in each personality type. And as unique as we may be, there is also a weakness and inimitability in any personality type one may have. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator –MBTI- simplifies a much complex leadership personality discussion among leadership authorities and students.

Interestingly, the Great Man Theory seeks to corroborate that leaders and followers are essentially dissimilar. More importantly, the theory suggests that Great leaders are exceptional men and women who accomplish great deeds irrespective of the challenges they face. The great man theory is a 19th century concept that hints that the outcomes in history largely define the quality of great men and women and also their impact on generations.

To relate better, it is not hasty and judgmental to say that great leaders impact teams and thus their legacies live on. Research works looked at whether personal leadership values and certain personality traits really differentiated leaders from followers. Hughes et al (2015) arrived at two beautiful conclusions.

First, leaders are not qualitatively different from their followers. Second, initiatives, intelligence, responsibility, people to people or human to human skills, friendliness, stress tolerance, big picture thinking, dominance and determination are abstemiously related to leadership success and great leadership results. In a leadership class I was asked. So what is Personality? I could only give two meanings. The first is straightforward and so true: the imprint a person makes on others.

Secondly, personality can be referred to as the underlying, unnoticed structures and processes within a person that seek to explain an individual’s unique behavior.  As already hinted, the basis and the arguments advanced for the relationship between leadership and personality are hinged on trait approach. To the point, traits are repetitive predictabilities or tendencies in a person’s behavior.

In simple terms, Trait approach theory puts the argument forward that human beings behave the way they do because of the strengths of the traits they possess. A leader must have a personality. Personality traits explain why people act justifiably unfailingly in unalike situations. A leader’s behavior reflects a collaboration between his or her personality traits and the many situational dynamics.

Often times, leaders learn to manage situations they live in to subsequently better their space. Due to the fact that behavioral expressions of personality traits are most often than not displayed involuntarily, leaders build internal blocks of skills (I undeniably call them skill layers) to manage emotions and recurring tendencies. It is one of the many reasons why some leaders become unpredictable and sometimes inconsistent in their behaviors over time.

This is Leadership!

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