The success of organizations in different economic sectors is extensively determined by the leadership style adopted. Findings from studies conducted to determine the relationship between leadership and personality reveal that there is a strong connection between an individual’s leadership effectiveness and his or her personality (Ewen, 2003, p. 300).
Individuals’ personalities determine their behavior. An individual’s personality is a strong predictor of his or her performance across different occupational levels and jobs. Different frameworks have been developed in an effort to establish the relationship between leadership style and personality.
One of the dimensions used is the Big Five traits, which include agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, introversion-extraversion, and conscientiousness (Ewen, 2003, p.302). The agreeableness trait refers to the degree to which an individual is trusting and helpful as opposed to being uncooperative. On the other hand, neuroticism entails an individual’s emotional stability while introversion-extroversion deals with an individual’s socializing characteristics.
The openness trait refers to an individual’s ability to welcome new ideas and opinions. Finally, conscientiousness evaluates an individual’s personality based on his or her reliability and hard work (Ewen, 2003, p. 302). To understand how an individual’s personality is related to his or her leadership traits, the paper uses the observations made on a 31-year-old black female supervisor with an experience of 6 months. The paper aims at evaluating how the results of the Big Five Traits compare or contrast with the observations made.
From the observation made, the supervisor portrays a number of personality traits that have made her successful. For example, in the course of executing her duties, she illustrates a high degree of agreeableness. Agreeableness entails the degree to which an individual is helpful, cooperative, understanding, trusting, and able to relate with others effectively (Ewen, 2003, p. 302).
This has arisen from the fact that most employees have developed trust in her decision-making capability as evidenced by their agreement to her supervisory judgment. Her agreeableness has enabled her to offer help to subordinate staff. Additionally, the supervisor’s enthusiasm has enabled her to connect with the employees thus establishing an effective learning opportunity for employees (Biech, 2007, p.52).
As one of the dimensions of the Big Five traits, the conscientiousness trait asserts that a leader should be reliable and hardworking (Ewen, 2003, p. 302). Analysis of the supervisor’s personality reveals that she is very conscientious.
Considering that the supervisor works for a service company that specializes in providing care to individuals with mental challenges, the supervisor is very concerned about the effectiveness of the staff in the delivery of their services during their training.
This is evidenced by the fact that she conducts comprehensive analysis of each employee’s strengths and needs. This has significantly contributed towards ensuring effective crisis stabilization services for staff.
An understanding of the needs of employees is very important in the success of an organization (Biech, 2007, p. 53). This arises from the fact that it contributes towards the development of an environment conducive for working. One of the factors making the supervisor conscientious is that she has developed effective communication skills. By nurturing effective communication within a firm, organizational leaders are able to develop a high degree of cohesiveness (Ewen, 2003, p. 302).
As a supervisor of a service based institution, she appreciates the fact that development of an effective human capital is one of the major sources of competitive advantage for firms. Additionally, her conscientiousness has enabled her avoid possible misunderstanding that may occur in the course of executing her duties.
This has had significant effects in her decision-making with regard to the best course of action in line with findings of the analysis conducted. The resultant effect is that she has been very successful in influencing the employees positively. Additionally, her conscientiousness has also enabled her to be effective in offering directional influence to employees. Provision of directional influence to employees is very vital in firms’ effort to achieve their goals.
As a result, she has nurtured a working environment that all the employees like. The supervisor’s conscientiousness, as one of the leadership traits, is also evidenced by the fact that she is hardworking. For example, she is ready to sacrifice her time and work overtime when requested by her seniors. Therefore, it is possible for the supervisor to inspire the employees to develop such a behavior in order to be successful (Griffin, 2007, p. 217).
To be an effective leader, one should associate and socialize with others effectively. Through socialization, a leader will understand the employees and issues affecting them. Additionally, socialization contributes towards the development of a strong bond between the leader and the followers.
In executing her duty, the supervisor is very committed towards understanding the staff’s strengths and needs. This has been attained by nurturing an effective communication environment with the employees. This makes it evident that the supervisor is not an introvert but rather an extrovert.
In their operation, organizations cannot rule out the occurrence of challenges considering that they constitute different employees of different backgrounds. An example of such challenges entails the occurrence of conflicts amongst the employees. For example, conflict between employees may arise because of cultural and ideological differences.
To ensure that such employees’ conflicts do not affect the operation of the organization, it is paramount for the leadership to be effective with regard to problem solving. This means that team leaders should act as mediators to situations facing them.
One of the ways through which leaders can be effective in problem solving is by fostering an atmosphere that results to the development of openness between the management staff and their subordinates (Biech, 2007, p. 53). One of the factors that have contributed towards the supervisor’s effectiveness with regard to problem solving arises from the fact that she is a team player.
Because of her openness, the supervisor is willing to provide her staff with an opportunity to air their opinions and ideas with regard to certain issues facing them. This has played a critical role with regard to the organization being successful in attaining the established goals. In line with this, her ability to nurture and maintain an effective relationship with the employees enables her to recognize the problems they are experiencing.
Additionally, her openness to new experience has significantly improved her creativity with regard to problem solving. This is evidenced by the fact that she can incorporate effective problem solving method thus maintaining cohesiveness amongst the employees. Considering the dynamic nature of the business environment, it is paramount for organizational leaders to be non-conformist and creative (Biech, 2007, p. 54).
On the other hand, neuroticism refers to the degree to which an individual is either emotionally stable or unstable (Ewen, 2003, p. 302). In their operation, leaders have an obligation to provide direction to their subordinate’s staff. As a result, they are supposed to act calmly despite the fact that some situations may be emotionally destabilizing. From the observations made, the supervisor is quick in recognizing and adapting to staff problems.
This has enabled the employee to dispel possible anxiety that might arise. Her ability to interpret situations facing employees enables her to be calm. According to Griffin (2007, p. 265), possessing less negative emotionality is very important amongst organizational leaders. This arises from the fact that they can cope with job pressure, tensions, and stress.
Based on the detailed expositions made in the paper, it suffices to declare the Big Five Traits test a working criterion of telling where a person lies in terms of his or her characteristics. Therefore, an analysis of the observations made reveals that the supervisor has a relatively higher rating based on the Big Five traits.
This is evidenced by the fact that the supervisor depicts a high score with regard to being agreeable, an extrovert, open to new experience, and conscientiousness. Because of these traits, the supervisor has been able to develop a high degree of cohesiveness, in addition to creating an effective working environment.
Additionally, these traits have enabled the supervisor to be effective in inspiring the staff towards ensuring the attainment of optimal performance in the course of executing their duties. With regard to neuroticism, the supervisor portrays a relatively low score with a degree of emotionality. In summary, the supervisor’s success with regard to her leadership ability is strongly related to her personality traits.
Biech, E. (2007). Thriving through change: A leader’s practical guide to change Mastery. Alexandria: ASTD Press.
Ewen, R. ( 2003). An introduction to theories of personality. New York: Routledge.
Griffin, R. (2007). Fundamentals of management. New York: Cengage.