Faculty of philosophy, University of Belgrade
PERSONALITY TRAITS AND LEADERSHIP STYLES
There are many ways to define leadership. Broadly speaking, leadership can be defined as a process in which a person, a leader, influences the group he is leading for the purpose of completion of a common goal. Some of these classifications view leadership as a heart of group processes, so in that a context leader is the most important person for implementing the changes inside the organization. Other classifications look at the connection between the behavior of a leader and group relations. Leadership can also be defined in the context of position of power the leader occupies regarding his followers as well as distribution of that power. Certain authors view leadership from the perspective of competence, knowledge and skills that define a person fit for a leadership position. Most authors look at the connection between leadership and personality traits. They examine various combinations of leader’s personality traits that enable him to convince others of his concepts and ideas. A great number of psychological research was conducted in the last few decades that tried to examine this and recognize which personality types, both in leaders and their followers, will best respond to changes within the organization. A number of researchers are trying to identify which types of personality within the five-factor model are the ones that contribute the most in implementing the changes. Buss (1990) suggested a classification of leadership styles that involves transformational (TF), transactional (TA) and laissez-faire (LF) styles. Earlier research showed weak to moderate connections between almost all features of leadership personality and their leadership style. The aim of this work was to check these findings on a larger sample using domestic measuring instruments to measure these two constructs. On a sample of 249 managers from all levels of management involved in external organizational counseling of two companies, two instruments were used: 1. HEDONCA which measures five factors from the Big Five model (Neuroticism (N), Extraversion (E), Openness to experience (O), Agreeableness (A) and Conscientiousness (C)), as well as Honesty-Humility (H) from the Big Six model and Integration opposed to Disintegration (D); TTL – test that measures three basic leadership styles – TS (charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation, development potential), TA (contingent reward and punishment) and LF (delegating). Results were analyzed in two ways; canonical correlation (KK) and discriminant analysis (KDF). Both of these analyses produced interpretatively similar results. They showed that two significant KK’s stood out (ρ1= .613, p<.001; ρ2=.456, p<.001). First canonical pair connects distinct manifestations of TA (structural coefficient .908) and TF (.802) leadership styles and avoidance of LF leadership aspect with C (.917), E (.743), N (.518) and A (.543). Second function connects manifestations of different aspects of LF leadership styles (.930) on the one hand with increased neuroticism (N -.521), C (.583) and O (.463) on the other. KDF extracted two differentiating functions: one that differentiates examinees with dominantly laissez-faire and transactional leadership types (ρ1= .421 p<.001; ρ2=.217, p<.07), wherein examinees with predominantly transactional leadership style were more stable (structural coefficient .803), conscientious (.731), extraverted (.644) and integrated (.563). The distance of these groups on canonical discriminant function space is more than a standard deviation. Second canonical discriminant function differentiates dominant transformational leaders from the other two groups. Transformational leaders are more agreeable (.881), honest (.553) and open to experience (.382).Based on processing and integration of all available data we draw the following conclusions; the findings of earlier meta-analysis were conformed, except when it comes to honesty; on the level of simple correlation honesty is not significantly connected with different aspects of management; openness is below the population average, for the full sample, which can probably be attributed to the fact that it is mostly a sample of males with technical education; extraversion for the full sample is within average, furthermore, for laissez-faire leaders it is below average. There are far more similarities between different aspects of transactional and transformative leadership style than there are differences. This finding is interesting and argues in favor of Buss's theory that transactional and transformative styles are actually poles of the same continuum, unlike laissez-faire style that he calls the absence of leadership factor.We can conclude that the findings are in line with the previous findings and theoretical expectations. The main flaw of the test is that the sample contains only two organizations therefore organizational culture could have a strong influence on the findings.