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Personality and Military Leadership

Personality and Military Leadership

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© HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA (2002)as represented by the Minister of National Defence
 
P
ERSONALITY
A
ND
M
ILITARY
L
EADERSHIP
 
Heather Pike, M.A., Amber Hills, B.A. & Richard MacLennan, Ph.D.
 Department of Psychology, &Canadian Institute for Peace, Justice, and SecurityUniversity of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada S4S 0A2
Key Words
military, leadership, management, personality, individual differences, jobperformance, big five factor theory, personality types, honesty & integrity, stresstolerance, emotional intelligence
Abstract
— The purpose of this review is to examine the research literature on therelationship between personality and leadership, specifically in a military context. Itbegins by looking at the association between personality and job performance in general.This analysis is undertaken across several occupations, including security-related groups,such as police and the military. Following this, there is a general discussion of theories of leadership and approaches to measuring leadership. Trait approaches to leadership arethen reviewed, with the importance of the context of the situation being affirmed. Next,two major personality theories (the five-factor model and the theory of personality types)are examined for their relationship to leadership. The evolving role of military leadershipis discussed in terms of the transition from traditional national militaries to multinationalpeacekeeping forces. Both descriptive and correlational studies reveal relationshipsbetween personality and leadership in a military context. These results, however, areequivocal with little consistency across various studies in terms of which personalityvariables are better at predicting leadership performance. Other variables are consideredin terms of their potential for future research on leadership, including: honesty andintegrity, stress tolerance, and emotional intelligence. Two broad approaches toemotional intelligence are discussed: the ability and mixed (ability & personality)models. Although there is current theorizing on the relationship between emotionalintelligence and leadership, further empirical research requires the availability of appropriate measures of emotional intelligence, and some initial tools have beendeveloped. Some of the limitations of the research literature on personality and leadershipare identified, including: lack of job analyses, ethical issues, cultural differences, andpsychometric problems. Several suggestions and recommendations are made regardingthe use of personality information in the Canadian Forces for both officer selection anddevelopment.
Prepared For
Canadian Forces Leadership Institute May 30, 2002
 
PERSONALITY AND LEADERSHIP 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS............................................................................................................................................2
 
A. OVERVIEW...........................................................................................................................................................3
 
L
ITERATURE
S
EARCH
.................................................................................................................................................3
 
A
REAS
O
F
I
NVESTIGATION
.........................................................................................................................................3
 
M
ETA
-A
NALYSIS
M
ETHODOLOGY
.............................................................................................................................5
 
B. PERSONALITY & JOB PERFORMANCE.......................................................................................................6
 
P
ERSONALITY
& J
OB
P
ERFORMANCE IN
G
ENERAL
.....................................................................................................6
 
P
ERSONALITY
& J
OB
P
ERFORMANCE IN
M
ILITARY AND
P
OLICE
S
TUDIES
..................................................................7
 
S
UMMARY OF
P
ERSONALITY
& J
OB
P
ERFORMANCE
...................................................................................................9
 
C. PERSONALITY AND LEADERSHIP................................................................................................................9
 
T
HEORIES OF
L
EADERSHIP
..........................................................................................................................................9
 
P
ERSONALITY
T
RAITS AND
L
EADERSHIP
..................................................................................................................11
 
P
ROGRESSION OF THE
L
ITERATURE ON
P
ERSONALITY AND
L
EADERSHIP
.................................................................11
 
L
EADERSHIP AND THE
NEO P
ERSONALITY
I
NVENTORY
-R
EVISED
(NEO PI-R) .......................................................14
 
L
EADERSHIP AND THE
M
YERS
-B
RIGGS
T
YPE
I
NDICATOR
(MBTI)...........................................................................16
 
D. PERSONALITY & LEADERSHIP WITHIN A MILITARY/POLICE CONTEXT....................................19
 
T
HE
E
VOLVING
R
OLE OF
N
ATIONAL
M
ILITARY
F
ORCES
..........................................................................................19
 
D
ESCRIPTIONS OF
L
EADERSHIP
C
HARACTERISTICS
..................................................................................................21
 
C
ORRELATIONAL
I
NVESTIGATIONS OF
P
ERSONALITY AND
L
EADERSHIP
..................................................................23
 
S
UMMARY OF
P
ERSONALITY AND
L
EADERSHIP WITHIN A
M
ILITARY
 /P
OLICE
C
ONTEXT
...........................................27
 
E. OTHER VARIABLES & FUTURE RESEARCH............................................................................................28
 
H
ONESTY AND
I
NTEGRITY
........................................................................................................................................28
 
S
TRESS
T
OLERANCE
.................................................................................................................................................29
 
E
MOTIONAL
I
NTELLIGENCE AND
L
EADERSHIP
.........................................................................................................31
 
 Models of Emotional Intelligence........................................................................................................................32
 
 Measuring Emotional Intelligence ......................................................................................................................35
 
Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?..............................................................................................................36 
 
 Emotions and Traits.............................................................................................................................................36 
 
F. ISSUES AND LIMITATIONS OF THE LITERATURE.................................................................................37
 
J
OB
A
NALYSES
.........................................................................................................................................................37
 
E
XPLANATORY
M
ODELS
..........................................................................................................................................37
 
E
THICS
.....................................................................................................................................................................37
 
C
ULTURAL
I
MPLICATIONS IN THE
A
SSESSMENT OF
L
EADERSHIP AND
P
ERSONALITY
...............................................38
 
P
SYCHOMETRIC
P
ROPERTIES
....................................................................................................................................39
 
Social Desirability...............................................................................................................................................39
 
 Importance of Multiple Sources...........................................................................................................................39
 
 Range Restriction ................................................................................................................................................39
 
G. DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS .................................................................................................40
 
REFERENCES..........................................................................................................................................................42
 
APPENDIX A: DOMAINS AND FACETS MEASURED BY THE REVISED NEO PERSONALITYINVENTORY (NEO-PI R; COSTA & MCCRAE, 1992)......................................................................................53
 
 
PERSONALITY AND LEADERSHIP 3
A. OVERVIEW
The purpose of this project was to investigate the general relationship between personality andleadership, particularly in a military context. The authors examined the research literature on theassociation between personality and leadership with a specific focus on these variables inmilitary, police, and corrections organizations.
 
In order to summarize the results of some studies,meta-analyses were conducted to evaluate the relative effect sizes of the correlations amongpersonality variables and leadership effectiveness.
 
The literature on personality and leadershipwas reviewed with a concentration on a variety of measures of personality including the Five-Factor Model and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). As well, the emerging literature onemotional intelligence and leadership was reviewed, and the overlap between personality andcognitive variables in terms of their relevance to effective leadership was discussed.
Literature Search
The authors focused on the most recent studies relevant to peace and security organizationsincluding the military, the police, and corrections. A great deal of the literature and researchregarding leadership and personality falls under the broader rubric of business and management.As such, a broader search of the literature was conducted across a number of resources includingPsycLit, ERIC, the Social Sciences Index, Business Periodicals Online, ABI/Inform Global,CARL: UnCover, as well as a comprehensive search of the World Wide Web. PsycLit is anindex of the international literature of psychology and material relevant to psychology in therelated disciplines of education, medicine, business, sociology, and psychiatry. ERIC is adatabase of literature relevant to education and training, and includes unpublished literature suchas conference papers and government reports. The Social Sciences Index catalogues more than342 periodicals in the subject areas of law, minority studies, planning and public administration,political science, psychology, social work, public welfare, sociology, urban studies, andwomen’s studies. ABI Inform Global and the Business Periodicals Online are both indices of business management and human resource journals. Uncover (from the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries: CARL) is an index of over 18,000 multidisciplinary journals. A literaturesearch on PsychInfo© revealed 86 articles on the specific topic of personality and leadershippublished from 1984 to present. Well over 1000 articles were published during the same periodon personality, emotional intelligence, job performance, and management.
Areas Of Investigation
The literature on personality and leadership was divided into two major topics. The first area of investigation explored the relationship between personality and job performance in general. Thesecond topic focused more specifically on the relationship between personality and leadershipstyles. It should be recognized at the outset that, similar to personality, there are individualdifferences in management styles, and furthermore that there is no single way to be an effectivemanager or leader. For instance, Kirton (1988) described an adaptor management style that ismore effective in times of fiscal restraint, and an innovator management style that is moreeffective during times of organizational change. This is why researchers some have advocatedfor a multidimensional approach to research on managerial performance (e.g., Tett, Guterman,Bleier & Murphy, 2000).

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