John Theiring’s PSY 533 Ethics and Leadership Blog
UNIT 04 / LESSON 09: Personality Matters
When thinking of ethics, I have commonly heard the phrase ‘Character’ matters. Although that is true, that is only one piece of the bigger psychological puzzle that defines and describes what makes people different from one another. Personality can be associated with different type of traits that can help to understand or determine how someone may behave in various situations (Levy, 2014). Traits reflect “people’s behaviors and conscious motives” (Myers, 2013) but are not causes but rather descriptions of peoples behaviors. A single trait does not define a person or a personality. Rather, individuals possess various traits and these traits then form a personality type. While traits are descriptions of types of behaviors that have been compiled through quantitate observations, a personality type is describing the big picture of a person as a whole (Penn State, PSY 533, Lesson 9).
There have been many studies regarding personality and the most widely accept research is the Five-Factor model (FFM) of personality developed by Costa and McCrae (1992). This Model defines five personality traits which include conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness and extraversion.
People who are conscientious have the thoughtfulness and concern that are needed to behave in an ethical manner.
William Bratton – Law Enforcement Officer
Someone who is accepting and trusting of others
Someone who is less predictable and can be emotional and unreliable
- Potentially Hostile
Robin Williams – Comedian
Someone who interested in many difference experiences
- risk taker
Richard Branson – Entrepreneur
Someone who is social and assertive and has high energy
Tony Robbins – Motivational Speaker
Personality is not something that is unchanging and fixed in stone and as with behaviors, you can change and shift it to address or rise up to a situation or event. You have control of your personality. You are responsible for your behaviors and actions and can decide if you are going to be patient and caring or angry and loud. Why does this matter? Because your personality and behavior will affect others. Especially if you are a leader or have power over others, your personality and behaviors will impact and influence those around you.
If you are not careful, then you can go from Charismatic to pseudu-charisma which is a combination of extraversion and narcissism. On the outside you appear to be engaging and interesting but in reality you are only mimicking true charisma. In reality, the person is self-serving and only interested in themselves and what benefits them.
What could possibly go wrong with that ……..
Mimics true charisma but is self-serving and self-obsessed
American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct (Amended February 20, 2010). American Psychologist, 57, 1060-1073.
Levy, P. E. (2013). Industrial organizational psychology: Understanding the workplace. New York: Worth.
Lowman, R. L. (Ed.). (2006). Part VI: Billing and marketing issues. In The ethical practice of psychology in organizations (cases 48-51). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Myers, D. G. (2013). Psychology: In modules. New York: Worth.
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership ethics. In Leadership: Theory and practice. Washington, DC: SAGE.
Penn State University, (2016). PSY 533 Lesson L09: Personality https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1775390/pages/l09