Personality and Leadership Mark Porter 6 December 2023

Personality and Leadership

What is your opinion regarding the significance of personality on leadership emergence? On leadership effectiveness?

Does your organization consider personality when identifying/assessing potential leadership candidates?

Personality: combination of inherited traits and distinct life experiences establishing embedded behaviors that makes each person unique.

The Five Factor Model (FFM) is the most widely used personality assessment tool implemented in psychology and research applications. It has been proven to be a valid and reliable trait assessment instrument for predicting leadership effectiveness.

The FFM assesses the following 5 personality categories:


(traditionally strongest correlation to effective leadership)

  • persistent, dependable, structured planners, goal oriented, dutiful, moral
  • self-regulating behavior as well as clearly establish roles and expectations of subordinates

(traditionally strongest correlation to leadership emergence)

  • assertive, social, status seeking, ambitious, self-confident, domineering, talkative, energetic
    • effective for instilling change: communicative/social interaction
    • correlates with leadership emergence/not guaranteed leadership effectiveness
    • not inclined to charismatic/transformational leadership

(as domineering trait, can negatively correlate to leadership effectiveness)

  • caring, empathetic, trusting, modest, compliant
  • emotional intelligence
  • adapt to the needs and personalities of subordinates
Openness to experience:

(My doctoral research in 2015: strongest correlation to leadership effectiveness)

  • insightful, imaginative, adaptability, curiosity, eagerness to learn, intellectualism
  • change-oriented behaviorism
  • emotional intelligence

(negative correlation to effective leadership)

  • anxiety, recurring anger, negative self-image, moodiness, poor emotional adjustment
  • oversensitivity to criticism
  • chaotic behaviors exhibited
    • egocentric (narcissistic)
    • alienate followers
    • lack integrity/ethics
  • natural enemy to instilling/maintaining norms
  • Self-awareness of personality traits allows conscientious alteration of leadership style
  • Adaptability/self awareness of traits requires leaders to undergo extensive education/professional development via coaching, mentoring, and consultation
  • Recognizing/understanding traits allows organizations to place people in a scenario conducive to individual/corporate success

Defining the leadership traits necessary for effective leadership and identifying those traits in candidates should be of the greatest importance in filling leadership positions!!!

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