Personality Traits of Leaders and Competing Values

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Personality Traits of Leaders and Competing Values
Paula Kokare, Premium Member
By applying the Competing Values Framework, Belasen and Frank (2008) in their research claim that successful leaders need to balance their activities along 2 main areas, each with 2 dimensions:
  • Internal affairs (e.g., HR topics, internal systems), versus
  • External affairs (e.g., achievement of performance goals, sustaining competitiveness)
  • Retaining control, versus
  • Enabling sufficient flexibility to encourage change
For example, unbalanced focus on internal processes which comes at the expense of performance goal achievement will have a detrimental impact on the long term survival of the company.
Further, the research presents certain leadership roles and important personality traits that will be displayed by the behavior of effective leaders:
  • LEADERSHIP ROLES: while balancing the four factors mentioned above, leaders should apply the eight roles of the Competing Values Leadership framework depending on situation demands, i.e. Mentor, Innovator, Broker, Producer, Director, Coordinator, Monitor, Facilitator, and switch among these flexibly. Differences between individuals, such a cognitive biases and limited emotional resources, will significantly impact one's ability to play different roles interchangeably.
  • OPENNESS: This was found to be the single most important personality trait enabling executives to gather a wide range of experiences, analyze different situation requirements and adopt different roles flexibly. The degree of an individual's openness will determine what leadership skills and roles the executive will master across the time compared to others if all else is held constant.
  • EMOTIONAL STABILITY: This was deemed as one of the key traits to enable an individual to use a wide range of skills and roles interchangeably. Emotionally stable and confident individuals will be able to learn new roles and apply those in new situations more effectively.
  • TRAINING IMPLICATIONS: Leadership trainings should be designed to help individuals to practice and apply all eight leadership roles. To achieve this effectively and address each individual's specific resistance to change, leadership programs should factor in each person's degree of emotional stability, openness and any existing biases towards certain roles.
Source: Alan Belasen and Nancy Frank, (2008),"Competing Values Leadership: Quadrant Roles and Personality Traits", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 29 Iss 2 pp. 127 - 143


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