Personality and Management Level: Traits That Differentiate Leadership Levels


Over 5000 senior managers attending a structured assessment centre completed three tests (Revised NEO Personality Inventory, NEO-FFI; the Myers Briggs Type Indicators, MBTI; the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation, FIRO-B). Given their rank and responsibilities they were categorised as Non-Managers or specialists, Middle Managers and Senior Managers (Manager of Managers or Leaders). Results showed the more Senior Managers tended to be less Neurotic and Agreeable, but more Extraverted and Conscientious. They also had less Wanted Inclusion and more Expressed Control scores on the FIRO-B and tended to be higher on MBTI Intuition and on Thinking (vs Feeling). The results of the discriminant analysis showed two FIRO-B factors (Expressed Control and Wanted Control) and two Big Five (Neuroticism and Extraversion) were best discriminators of managerial seniority. Leaders tended to score high on Expressed Control and Extraversion and low on Wanted Inclusion and Neuroticism. Implications for selection and promotion, as well as limitations of the study are considered.

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Furnham, A. & Crump, J. (2015). Personality and Management Level: Traits That Differentiate Leadership Levels. Psychology, 6, 549-559. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.65053.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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