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 certain personality types are 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. The psychodynamic approach 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 on 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 is going to relate 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 introversion is the tendency to obtain these things from within. An introvert tends to think about problems, or read, before they solve them (Schaubroeck,  Lam Cha 2007). On the other hand, extroverts tend to socialize and discuss their problems.

The personality type of every team member is important to how he or she deals with the issues surrounding the activities of the team. An extroverted leader dealing with an introverted leader talks a lot and may even say things before they really think them out. He or she 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 combination will leave the leader feeling like they have agreed while in actual facts the follower is just thinking things through. In such a scenario, the leader will not be using the resources of the subordinate to their full capacity. He or she will be holding back the potential of the subordinate by not giving them enough time to think and raise their issues. If given time to think over the issue by the leader, the introverted leader 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 working on. 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. The introvert is also a better listener and is thus 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. Intuitive leaders are rather the last resort in decision making (Morgeson, DeRue, & Karam 2010). They use approximate information to make a decisions on what is required to be done especially when; there is insufficient information and time, or a multitude of reasonable options. An intuitive leader therefore helps in the performance of their team through contribution in decision making. A sensor follower may however 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 people 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 leader and followers. A good leader should learn the character of his followers so that he can adapt to fit as their leader (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 determines their performance.


Dervitsiotis, K.N. (2007). On becoming adaptive: The new imperative for survival and success in the 21st century. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 18 (1/2), pp.21-38, Available from: http://sfxhosted.exlibrisgroup.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/lpu?title=total+quality+management+%26+business+excellence&volume=18&issue=1%2F2&spage=21&date=2007

Fifty Lessons, Ltd. (Producer). (2010) Leadership is about empowering others to lead.

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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.

Schaubroeck, J., Lam, S. S. K., & Cha, S. E. (2007). Embracing transformational leadership: Team values and theimpact of leader behavior on team performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92: 1020-1030.

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.

(Zaccaro, Heinen, Shuffler 2009)

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