Big Five Model of Leadership


Based on the results of your personality test, what do extant research say your leadership may or may not be like? Do you agree or disagree with the research findings? Identify some ways which you may be able to better develop your leadership potential.


Is the leader born or made? For years, people was arguing about this question. With the development of the society, every organization or companies demand different skills and personal qualities in its leadership. Some researchers who advocate that personality traits are related to leadership emergence or effectiveness. In this essay, I will discuss the relationship between personality and leadership.

There are different definitions of leadership have been presented over the years (Bass, 1998). Most definitions include one or more of the elements of goal achievement, teamwork or organization, and interpersonal reactions. According to Hogg, M (2001), leadership is a group process generated by social categorization and depersonalization processes associated with the social identity. In another word, leadership is kind of an ability to get other people to do what you want them to, willingly (Sendjaya, S., & SpringerLink, 2015).

However, leadership is kind of personal traits. According to Mayer, personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving (2015). Based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), everyone has a natural leadership style that related to their personality types. The more consistent the characteristic and the more frequently it occurs in diverse situations, the more important the trait. When executives’ position changing into new roles or environments, it may need to explore or rein in different facets of their personality.

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The famous theory study about personality is ‘Big Five’ model, including openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

  • Neuroticism

Neuroticism reflects the individual emotional adjustment process. High neuroticism individuals tend to have psychological stress, unrealistic thoughts, excessive demands and violence impulses. And it is more likely to experience negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression and so on. On the contrary, people with low neuroticism scores are less troubled, less emotional, and more stable.

  • Openness

Openness means that generous heart, bold, adventurous, and dislike familiar things or routine. It is described as a person’s cognitive style. It has different aspects of openness. The openness of experience is defined as seeking and understanding of experience proactively. It compares curious, novel, non-traditional, and creative individuals with those that are traditional, non-artistic, and non-analytical. Openness people prefer abstract thinking, a wide range of interests. Closed people are practical, preferring, more traditional and conservative. Leaders with this tendency should be working more on openness and push themselves out of their comfort zone.

  • Extroversion

Extroversion can be advantageous in leadership. It represents the number and density of interpersonal interactions, the need for excitement, and the ability to be pleasant. This trait contrasts cross social, active, individual-oriented and silent, serious, shy, and quiet among people. It aspect can be measured by two qualities: interpersonal and vitality. The former assesses the degree to which individuals like others, while the latter reflects individual rhythms and vitality levels.

Outgoing people like to contact with others, full of vitality, often feel positive emotions. They are passionate, like sports, like to stimulate adventure. In a group, they are very talkative, confident, would be attracted by the attention of others. On the other hand, introverted people are relatively quiet, cautious, do not like too much contact with the outside world.

  • Agreeableness
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Extroversion is to assess the degree of individual likes with others, while the agreeableness examines the attitudes to others. It including, on the one hand, close, compassionate, trustworthy, lenient and soft-hearted. On the other hand, it including hostile, cynical, manipulative, vengeful and ruthless. Those who are agreeableness are satisfied, friendly, generous, helpful and willing to give up their interests for others.

For some positions, too high agreeableness is not necessary, especially tough and objective judgments, such as scientists, critics, and soldiers.

  • Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness refers to our control, manage and regulate our own impulsive way of assessing an individual goal-oriented behavior on the organization, persistence, and motivation. It compares the trustworthy, exquisite individual and the lazy, sloppy among individuals. One risk for highly conscientious is that their perfectionism can cause them to lose sight of the big picture. On the other hand, individuals who tend to be more responsibility and flexible would make right decisions, which can get them earn more trust.


Bass, B. (1998). Transformational leadership: Industrial, military, and educational impact. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Hogg, M. (2001). A Social Identity Theory of Leadership. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(3), 184-200.

Mayer, J. (2015). The personality systems framework: Current theory and development. Journal of Research in Personality,56, 4.

Sendjaya, S., & SpringerLink. (2015). Personal and organizational excellence through servant leadership: Learning to serve, serving to lead, leading to transform (Management for professionals).

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