THE LEADER AS AN INDIVIDUAL
THE LEADER AS AN INDIVIDUAL
We tried to explain during last couple of sessions the theoretically
background and approaches to
understand this process of leadership. In this lecture we will shift our focus
to leader as an individual
and try to understand the personality and person part of that individual known
as “a leader”. To
understand this let’s try to start from basic personality part.
Personality is the pattern of relatively enduring ways in which a person
feels, thinks, and behaves.
Personality is determined by nature (biological heritage) and nurture
Organizational outcomes that have been shown to be predicted by personality
include job satisfaction,
work stress, and leadership effectiveness. Personality is not a useful predictor
outcomes when there are strong situational constraints. Because personality
tends to be stable over
time, managers should not expect to change personality in the short run. Leaders
employees’ personalities as they are and develop effective ways to deal with
people. To understand
leader we need to understand him/her as individual. For this understanding
personality indicator is very
The Nature of Personality: People’s personalities can be described in a
variety of ways: 1).
Personality is the pattern of relatively enduring ways in which a person feels,
thinks, and behaves. 2).
Personality is an important factor in accounting for why employees act the way
they do in organizations
and why they have favorable or unfavorable attitudes toward their jobs and
Some Major Forces Influencing Personality:
Personality Determinants: An early argument centered on whether or not
personality was the result of
heredity or of environment. Personality appears to be a result of both
influences. Today, we recognize a
third factor—the situation.
Influences the effects of
heredity and environment on personality
The different demands of
different situations call forth different aspects of one’s personality.
There is no classification
scheme that tells the impact of various types of situations.
Situations seem to differ
substantially in the constraints they impose on behavior.
Heredity refers to those factors that were determined at conception.
The heredity approach argues
that the ultimate explanation of an individual’s personality is the
molecular structure of the genes, located in the chromosomes.
Three different streams of
research lend some credibility to the heredity argument:
• The genetic underpinnings of human
behavior and temperament among young children.
Evidence demonstrates that traits such as shyness, fear, and distress are most
likely caused by
inherited genetic characteristics.
• One hundred sets of identical twins that
were separated at birth were studied. Genetics accounts
for about 50 percent of the variation in personality differences and over 30
occupational and leisure interest variation.
• Individual job satisfaction is
remarkably stable over time. This indicates that satisfaction is
determined by something inherent in the person rather than by external
• Personality characteristics are not
completely dictated by heredity. If they were, they would be
fixed at birth and no amount of experience could alter them.
Factors that exert
pressures on our personality formation:
The culture in which we are
Norms among our family
Friends and social groups
The environment we are exposed
to plays a substantial role in shaping our personalities.
Culture establishes the norms,
attitudes, and values passed from one generation to the next and
create consistencies over time.
The arguments for heredity or
environment as the primary determinant of personality are both
Heredity sets the parameters
or outer limits, but an individual’s full potential will be determined by
how well he or she adjusts to the demands and requirements of the environment.
Variables Influencing Individual Behavior
Personality is the function of “The Person” and “The Environment. In other
words it is a Person-
Relationship of different components in behaviour is show in the following
Types of work-related behaviour:
Values: Values Represent Basic Convictions
• A specific mode of conduct or end-state
of existence is personally or socially preferable to
an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.
• They have both content and intensity
• An individual’s set of values ranked in
terms of intensity is considered the person’s value
• Values have the tendency to be stable.
• Many of our values were established in
our early years from parents, teachers, friends, and
Importance of Values
Values lay the foundation
for the understanding of attitudes and motivation.
Values generally influence
attitudes and behaviors. We can predict reaction based on
Attitudes: Attitudes are evaluative statements that are either favorable
or unfavorable concerning
objects, people, or events. Attitudes are not the same as values, but the two
Main Components of Attitudes: There are three components of an attitude
• Cognitive component
The employee thought he
deserved the promotion (cognitive)
• Affective component
The employee strongly
dislikes his supervisor (affective)
• Behavioral component
The employee is looking
for another job (behavioral). In organizations, attitudes are
important because of the behavioral component
How Consistent Are Attitudes?
People sometimes change
what they say so it does not contradict what they do.
Research has generally
concluded that people seek consistency among their attitudes and
between their attitudes and their behavior.
Individuals seek to reconcile
divergent attitudes and align their attitudes and behavior so
they appear rational and consistent.
When there is an
inconsistency, forces are initiated to return the individual to an
equilibrium state where attitudes and behavior are again consistent, by altering
attitudes or the behavior, or by developing a rationalization for the
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Leon Festinger, in the late 1950s, proposed the theory of cognitive
dissonance, seeking to
explain the linkage between attitudes and behavior. He argued that any form of
inconsistency is uncomfortable and that individuals will attempt to reduce the
Dissonance means “an inconsistency.”
refers to “any incompatibility that an individual might perceive
between two or more of his/her attitudes, or between his/her behavior and
No individual can completely
The desire to reduce
dissonance would be determined by:
• The importance of the elements creating
the dissonance. Importance: If the elements
creating the dissonance are relatively unimportant, the pressure to correct this
imbalance will be low.
• The degree of influence the individual
believes he/she has over the elements. Influence:
If the dissonance is perceived as an uncontrollable result, they are less likely
receptive to attitude change. While dissonance exists, it can be rationalized
• The rewards that may be involved in
dissonance. Rewards: The inherent tension in high
dissonance tends to be reduced with high rewards.
• Moderating factors suggest that
individuals will not necessarily move to reduce