L09: Ethical Transformational Traits

The Five-Factor Personality model proposed by Costa and McCrae in 1992 is one of the most commonly used and accepted “science of personality that exists (Pennsylvania State University, 2016).  The 5 factors are conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness and extraversion, but when we talk leadership, we tend to think of charismatic and/or transformational leadership as a pretty solid base of determining effectiveness.  Also, working in the light of being transformational and charismatic could not be anything but ethical and deontological as long as it is not pseudo-charisma which work more as a guise of true charisma, but is shrouded in self-interests (think Hitler).  Remember, charisma can be defined as “the combination of dominance, desire to influence, self-confidence, and strong moral values (PSU, 2016),” and is almost synonymous to transformational leadership.

For all intents and purposes, it would be interesting to explore the traits that are determinant of leadership to further help define and scope effective and ethical leadership in our daily lives.  Bono, J., & Judge, T. (2004) performed studies trying to do just so consisting of comparing the personality traits of 8 dimensions comparing transformational leadership (which taps into charisma) versus transactional leadership which is more in the interest of a “here and now,” or “I will help you for a purpose” type of leadership.  Naturally, extraversion “was the strongest and most consistent correlate of transformational leadership (Bono, J. & Judge, T., 2004),” which is as expected, but another study by this duo revealed that 3 of the 5 dimensions are more indicative of being transformational than the other 2: pro-extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, con-neuroticism and conscientiousness.

As expected, neuroticism, which is the “tendency to be anxious, fearful, depressed and moody (Judge, T. & Bono, J., 2000),” has no positive effects on transformational leadership and I could imagine leadership in general.  It simply is something that leaders should be self-aware of in order to best defuse the appearance of this trait within their leadership styles.  The interests of this trait within the realm of the FFM is to simply ensure that we are self-aware and keeping our negative emotions in check as there are many unforeseen undertakings that occur in the scope of leadership, so a constant state of worry would only work to derail our ability to influence our team members, which in effect would reduce their ability to develop into contributing team members and their ability to influence others in a terrible domino effect. The harder detractor to understand would have to be conscientiousness, which is “the tendency for a person to be thoughtful, organized, and dependable (Northouse, 2015).” This is crucial in the understanding of working ethically as “people who are conscientious possess the forethought and concern that are necessary to behave in an ethical manner (PSU, 2016), but the argument that is being made is that although it denotes an “inclination towards, obligation, responsibility, labor and scrupulosity (Hertler, S., 2014), too much can lead to being on the threshold of obsessive-compulsivity which then tips the scales to unethical behavior by needing to have too much control and placing success over relationships.

With all of this self-aware thinking, let’s also not say that introverts are not capable of being strong leaders.  In fact, lawyers tend to be introverts and introversion preferences are being used to identity solid firm fits for newer lawyers (Gordon, L., 2016).  Introverts simply just need to accept their extraversion methods as a performance or a form of acting which they can come back down from later on.  Obviously, this method of being is great for truly hearing what others are saying.  Extraverts are simply just more expected to have an “optimistic view of the future” or be more inspirational (Bono, J. & Judge, T., 2004).”  Therefore, extraversion is consistent with being a strong leader, but being introverted most likely can work in the favor of ensuring that we are adhering to our ethical standards as well.

Lastly, agreeableness and openness are related to our duty to our leading capabilities.  Agreeableness is “the tendency for someone to be accepting of others, confirming to social norms, and trusting of others,” and openness “is the tendency for a person to be creative, curious, and informed about other ways of life (Northouse, 2015).”  So to be open and accepting to all walks of life and social norms cooperatively will align with many of the ideals of the ethics boards we have previously discussed.  Duty rings loudly in this line of thinking as it has the sounds of altruism and other’s self-interests deeply rooted within.  As long as all of these factors are used for positive methods and not as a ruse to attain subordinates to do your duty for you, then the expectation could be to have pervasive effects on the members that come in contact with such a leader.  Working hard for your team is highly advised, and being self-aware “-verted” (one way or another), open and agreeable is a solid framework for truly being a strong leader.

Bono, J. E., & Judge, T. A. (2004). Personality and transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5), 901-910. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1037/0021-9010.89.5.901

Gordon, L. A. (2016, 01). INTROVERTS IN AN EXTROVERTS’ WORLD. ABA Journal,102, 36-41. Retrieved from http://ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/docview/1759173610?accountid=13158

Hertler, S. C. (2014). The continuum of conscientiousness: The antagonistic interests among obsessive and antisocial personalities. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 45(2), 167-178. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.2478/ppb-2014-0022

Judge, T. A., & Bono, J. E. (2000). Five-factor model of personality and transformational leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(5), 751-765. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1037/0021-9010.85.5.751

Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. [ISBN: 978-1483317533]

Pennsylvania State University. (2016). Personality. [Online Lecture].  Retrieved from https://psu.instrastructure.com

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