From lesson two, I learned that to understand a person‘s leadership style, it is important to know what their personality traits are. We discussed the Five Factor Model (FFM), which are: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experiences – directly related to leadership. (PSU WC, L 2., P. 3) In addition to the FFM, we learned about the six “dark-side” personality traits, which are: argumentative, interpersonal insensitivity, narcissism, fear of failure, perfectionism, and impulsivity. (PSU WC, L 2., P. 5)
I am going to focus on the impulsivity trait for this entry. I work with a leader who was hired from the hotel industry, from which he explained does things “differently”. His new job is at an accounting and auditing, professional services firm. Since joining his new team, he has been in a silo and making decisions in a vacuum while not considering the perspectives of the other 7 team members.
He says things like “I do not need your approval or permission” when making decisions. However, I believe we all need to collaborate and support the efforts cohesively. He sets unrealistic deadlines and goals for the team even when the team expresses concern. He commits the team projects that are outside the scope of team‘s responsibility and does not appear to be concerned with how his actions are negatively affecting his team and the clients; he consistently pushes buttons and tests limits.
One of his favorite quotes is, “let‘s just get it done and when it is all completed, we will go to one of the NY hotspots for a team dinner” (after hours – no one ever wants to go). Alternatively, he says…”let’s do what we need to get it all done, no matter how much overtime we have to put in” (we being the team and not him) and then he will “allow” us to work a flex schedule during the slower season. He almost never follows through on his promises and when asked, he brushes it off as if he never agreed to it.
When some team members escalate concerns to his leaders, they all seem to love him. They say things like: “he has got a great vision for the team, we like his strategy and approach, he is a positive addition to the team, and will do great things“. It is as if they saw something that the team does not. He most likely did well on his interview and had strong FFM scores.
This leader gives the overall impression, to his leaders, that he is successful – he is but, with the dedication and commitment of his entire team. His impulsivity around keeping promises, pushing limits and ignoring the feelings of his followers are counterproductive. (PSU WC, L2, p. 6)
No matter how desirable it may be to have a definable set of traits or qualities for determining leaders, I believe leadership success has to depend more on developing and using the skills that move people forward toward a common goal and objective.
Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and Practice (5th edition). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
Penn State World Campus (2013). PSYCH 485 Lesson 2: Trait Approach. Retrieved on September 6, 2013, from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/su13/psych485/001/content/02_lesson/01_page.html