Effect of Leader Personality on Team Performance

The personality of an individual is illustrated by their inclination and traits (Dervitsiotis, 2007). In Psychodynamic approach, types of personality are highlighted and deemed to be more appropriate for certain leadership positions than others. The psychodynamic approach analyses the human personality, and then connects it to types and levels of leadership. It intends to analyze how a leader and a follower relate. The personality of a leader influences the level of team performance due to the effect it has on the relationship between leader and follower. This paper aims to champion the thesis that leader personality determines how the leader relates with followers and consequently influence their output level.

The personality of a person is mainly dependent on four factors. These are whether a person decides to gather information internally or externally, whether they want to gather information using insight or precision, whether they make decisions subjectively or reasonably, and whether they adopt a judging or a perceiving lifestyle (Dervitsiotis, 2007). All these factors determine how the leader relates with his or her followers.

Some people are introverts while others are extroverts. Extraversion is the preference to obtain guidance, energy, and inspiration from the outside world, while the tendency to obtain these things from within is known as introversion. Introverts tend to think about problems, or read, before they solve them (Schaubroeck,  Lam, 2007). On the other hand, extroverts tend to socialize and discuss their problems.

The personality type of every team member is important to how they deal with the issues surrounding the activities of the team. An extroverted leader dealing with an introverted follower talks a lot and may even say things before they really think them out. The extrovert will be predisposed to control many discussions. On the other hand, the introvert requires time to think things through, and likes to be given time to respond without being interrupted. Their communication will leave the leader feeling like they have agreed, while in actual fact, the follower is just meditating on the things discussed. This reserved nature of introverted follower may faultily be translated as agreement. In such a scenario, the leader will not be using the resources of the subordinate to their full capacity. The leader will be limiting the potential of the subordinate by not giving him or her enough time to think and raise issues. If given time to think over the issue by the leader, the introverted follower may even come up with a better idea, especially if he or she is also intuitive. Another way an extroverted leader may be a liability to the company is by changing goals that other workers are still pursuing. This may result in under-performance and discouragement (Kaiser, Hogan, & Craig 2008).

An introvert’s energy gets drained by being with people. They prefer working in seclusion and only consult when completely necessary. An introverted leader will, therefore, even shorten team meetings so that he or she can concentrate. However, an introverted leader participates in the overall production of the company more by providing insights, thinking about them and leading by example. An introvert is most unlikely to waste his time in cheap talk and is, therefore, more productive.  He/she is also a better listener and is receptive to new ideas as they are raised by the subordinates (Zaccaro, Heinen, & Shuffler, 2009).

An intuitive leader, on the other hand, while willing to help, may not be able to explain his or her idea to the group. Such leaders are rather the last resort in decision-making (Morgeson, DeRue, & Karam, 2010). They use approximate information to make decisions on what is required to be done especially when there is insufficient information and time, or a multitude of reasonable options. They, therefore, help in the performance of their team through contribution in decision-making. A sensor follower may, however, will most likely have a hard time dealing with an intuitive leader. This is because intuitive people do not have a definite plan for their actions and decisions; they work through a series of fantasies and theories (Mumford, Van Iddekinge, Morgeson, & Campion, 2008).

Another interesting example is that of an intuitive leader working with an intuitive follower. They will both think tentatively and none of them will have an exact idea of what to expect next. They will be preoccupied by fantasies and even plan their next project (Northouse, 2013). However, this combination is unproductive, as these two have no interest in achieving exact values.

In conclusion, while good leadership qualities are necessary for proper running of a company, what actually matters is the personality type of both leaders and followers. A good leader should learn the character of his followers so that he can adapt to work with people of different personalities within the relevant environment (Zaccaro, Heinen, & Shuffler, 2009). With this in mind, a leader and his team will be more productive. How the leader and follower fit together as a team greatly determines their performance.


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Morgeson, F.P., DeRue, D.S. & Karam, E.P. (2010) ‘Leadership in teams: a functional approach to understanding leadership structures and processes’, Journal of Management, 36 (1), pp.5-39, Sage [Online]. Available from: http://sfxhosted.exlibrisgroup.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/lpu?title=journal+of+management&volume=36&issue=1&spage=5&date=2010

Mumford, T. V., Van Iddekinge, C. H., Morgeson, F. P., & Campion, M. A. (2008). The team role test: Development and validation of a team role knowledge situational judgment test. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93: 250-267.

Northouse, P.G. (2013) Leadership: theory and practice. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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Trent, R.J. (2004) ‘Team leadership at the 100-foot level’, Team Performance Management, 10 (5/6), pp. 94-103. Available from: http://sfxhosted.exlibrisgroup.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/lpu?title=team+performance+management+&volume=10&issue=5%2F6&spage=94&date=2004

Zaccaro, S. J., Heinen, B., & Shuffler, M. (2009). Team leadership and team effectiveness. In E. Salas, G. F. Goodwin, & C. S. Burke (Eds.), Team effectiveness in complex organizations: Cross-disciplinary perspectives and approaches: 83-111. New York: Routledge.

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