Behavioral theory, trait hypothesis, socio-cognitive beliefs, psychoanalytic conjectures, and humanistic speculations reveal the different personalities that individuals possess. Concerning the theories, the term personality implies “a dynamic and organized set of characteristics depicted by a person that uniquely influence his or her cognitions, emotions, motivations, and behavior in various situations” (Ng, Ang, & Chan, 2008, p. 738).
This definition forms the basis for the classification of the various theories of personality. This paper conducts a literature review on the role of managers’ personality on his or her behavior and performance at work. It analyzes the writer’s personality from the MBTI and prescribes the necessary changes or areas of improvement at the workplace.
Behavioral hypotheses propose that people’s character emanates from the relations of persons with their surroundings. Behaviorists study various measurable and observable behaviors of people to explain the nature of personality portrayed by individuals (Chatman, Caldwell, & O’Reiliy, 1999). Behavioral theorists such as John Watson reject various theories that suggest that individuals’ personality is a function of feelings together with thoughts that form part of the conscious and unconscious mind.
The traits theory claims that the personality of individuals comprises various broad traits. In the context of discussions of this theory, traits refer to characteristics that are stable within an individual to guide the course of actions of different people. From the paradigm of traits theory, persons selected to become managers in an organization need to possess certain traits, which make them portray appropriate behaviors that lead to better performance in workplaces.
Management literature documents research on particular attributes that can make managers induce appropriate individual behaviors within an organization for enhanced organizational performance. It becomes possible to differentiate people who can lead and manage from those who cannot (Mumford, Campion & Morgeson, 2007). Trait theories encompass one of the earliest theoretical applications of personality theories in organizational management. Through these theories, several skills, personality, and demographic characteristics that are descriptive and predictive of effective managers were developed (Mumford, Campion & Morgeson, 2007).
For instance, trait theories of organizational management identify personality characteristics such as courage, extraversion, and self-confidence, among others, as important characteristics that may predict one’s effectiveness in organizational management.
Although trait theories identify qualities that define people’s ability to lead and manage precision, their application in an organization is problematic. Various scholars such as Ng, Ang, and Chan (2008) have criticized the theories as ones that suffer from reliability and validity since not all people who possess the qualities of effective management identified by the theories to make great managers or leaders.
This criticism poses an interrogative on the evidence of the theories’ capacity to provide a reliable explanation of the role of personality traits in helping managers induce appropriate behavior and, hence, increased organizational performance. Many people who possess personality traits claimed by trait theorists as comprising essential traits for great managers and leaders do not seek managerial positions in an organization (Ng, Ang, & Chan, 2008).
Since not all people can influence others, leadership and managerial traits are unique only to certain people possessing immutable characteristics, which are impossible to develop. However, as intellectual research on the effects of individuality qualities on the efficacy of organizational management continue to advance, this position is massively disputed. In light of these disputes, it is significant to appreciate the validity of the scholarly findings that not all people make effective managers akin to differences in personality traits (Ng & Ang, 2008).
Job performance is an important parameter that helps to predict organizational performance. Chatman, Caldwell, and O’Reiliy (1999) claim that Meta-analysis studies conducted by Barrick and Mount in 1991 and Tett, Jackson, and Rothstein published in 1991 showed the contribution of personality in enhancing job performance within an organization. The studies “investigated the relationship between the big five personality dimensions and various aspects of job performance” (Chatman, Caldwell, & O’Reiliy, 1999, p. 515). They found that elements that constitute the ‘Big Five’ traits for effective organizational managers, especially meticulousness in different professional assemblies, were directly associated with job presentation and organizational outcomes.
Researchers have developed several scales in many organizations to rank people’s personalities. The two important and widely used scales are the big five and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality tests. On the MBTI scale, I fall under ESFJ. The next section analyzes this personality type. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) identifies 16 types of personalities, ESFJ being one of them. ESFJ is the acronym for extraversion, sensing, feeling, and judgment.
The MBTI personality rating scale draws its roots in the psychological vocation of Carl Jung. His work is built on cognitive speculations that enabled him to perform irrefutable interpretations. Other psychological scholars such as Cook Briggs and David Keirsey further developed the work of Carl Jung. For instance, Keirsey terms persons possessing ESFJ personality as providers who have an element of temperaments that he termed as guardians. ESFJ’s personality type people account for between 9 percent and 13 percent of the entire population of people who depict 16 types of personalities (Bono & Judge, 2004).
The extraversion aspects possessed by ESFJs ensure that such people get motivated through interaction. During social events, ESFJs acquire energy to become more engaged instead of expending energy, as evidenced by introverts. ESFJs prefer sensing as opposed to intuition. This implies that they are more concrete rather than being abstract. Consequently, they endeavor to channel all their attention to acquire details instead of focusing on bigger pictures.
They embark on instantaneous happenings together with facts instead of building on the likely potential possibilities. The feeling component in the ESFJs forces persons possessing such a personality to make decisions based on their (decisions) implications on the society (Beauducel, Brocke & Leue, 2006). By being judgmental, ESFJs can make decisions in good time, ensure proper planning of activities, and take control of issues via seeking strategies for enhancing the predictability of the implications of a given decision. For instance, emotions and motivation give rise to the psychoanalytic theories of personality, while the behavioral aspect gives rise to the behavioral theories of personality.
The above characteristics of ESFJs possess merits and some demerits in their effectiveness in managerial work. Enhancing organizational performance requires energy and optimism in the strategies deployed by managers to enhance organizational performance. Such strategies may include motivational programs for employees and job performance assessments. This strategy makes ESFJs more suited as organizational managers as they have an extraversion trait.
Beauducel, Brocke, and Leue (2006, p. 234) state, “Extraverts are most often characterized as assertive, active, energetic, upbeat, talkative and optimistic individuals.” They also possess and portray positive emotions. These characteristics are necessary for job satisfaction. Job satisfaction is particularly important in an organization. Satisfied employees within an organization are more motivated and productive. This implies that an organization does not incur costs of underutilization of human resources when people are satisfied with their jobs.
Optimism is incredibly crucial in management. Optimistic managers possess the capability to direct people in embracing future organizational dynamics amid the anticipated risks. In this sense, Bono and Judge (2004, p. 901) contend, “Extraversion is the strongest and most important trait of managers who can transform organizations.” While details are important in the effort to make requisite organizational decisions, which may also have negative future implications for the performance of organizations, vision is important in helping set the desired future achievements. The sensing elements of ESFJs make people possessing such a personality incapable of basing their decisions on the anticipated future possibilities.
Managers are more interested in the mechanisms that ensure that organizations succeed in the context of the anticipated future uncertainties by enhancing their profitability. A manager’s noble role is to orient all organizational factors of production strategically to achieve this aim. In this context, ESFJs’ approaches to sensing future possibilities deter them from portraying effective management abilities for driving organizational performance.
In the current management world, where organizations focus on enhancing their performance through people, showing concerns and emotional attachment to employees constitutes an important aspect for enhancing team cohesion, dedication, and achievement of organizational objectives such as achieving certain productivity levels. This makes ESFJs more suited in organizations seeking to enhance performance through people as they portray enormous concern for other people and are emotionally connected to the persons they manage.
They are also largely concerned about the personal implications of the decisions they make. These merits can make ESFJs personality type managers better suited in work environments that require enhancement of good employee-work fit. In such an environment, I would make decisions that influence employees with full consideration of the likelihood of such decisions to influence their lives outside the work environment negatively.
Having the capacity to make judgments in advance is important in enhancing organizational performance. Organizations operate in an environment that requires many changes to ensure success in terms of increased productivity. Thus, managerial work requires persons who can plan and get things under control. In this sense, the judgmental trait possessed by ESFJs is crucial in effective managerial work. By utilizing high planning characteristics of ESFJs, managers can always ensure control of organizational variables. An organization can plunge into problems associated with low performance when they (variables) happen to get out of control. This suggests that ESFJs personality type individuals can make good managers. They are required in the modern world of enhanced workplace socialization, organization, and resolution of interpersonal conflicts that influence employee performance.
Reflection Process: Necessary Change and Areas of Improvement
From the discussion of the previous section, I belong to the ESFJ personality type group of people. I can make a good organizational manager because I have strong communication and organizational skills abilities that characterize the ESFJs. The effectiveness of organizational management defines managers’ influence to work teams and individuals within the organization in the effort to induce the requisite behavior for enhancing organizational performance (Mumford, Campion & Morgeson, 2007).
In the workplace, I can help work teams to realize their full potential and resolve interpersonal conflicts between work team members. This situation will create harmony in every situation. The repercussions include the reduction of organization time that is wasted in engagements in conflicts together with lower productivity levels associated with work conflicts due to reduced work morale.
Although having an ESFJ personality type can enormously aid in enhancing the capacity to manage an organization effectively to increase its performance, the personality type also exposes me to some challenges in executing managerial work within an organization. Thus, some changes or efforts to improve based on the demerits associated with the ESFJ personality type are important. One of the essential areas of change is related to the fact that ESFJ personality type individuals tend to blame themselves for failures even though such failures may not have emanated from them. In a bid to ensure that organizational failures do not occur, ESFJs occupy themselves with the organizational matters all the time.
This way, they lack adequate time to address their family and their personal needs. This situation can create a family-work life conflict. Thus, I would like to improve my personality by setting time to cater to my family and my own needs to live a work-family balanced life.
Extraversion, sociability, and other dominant traits for ESFJ personality type individuals are important in enhancing their management effectiveness. However, effectiveness in management is a function of the context of management, together with the nature and motivation of the persons being managed. Consequently, instead of aggressive, grandiose, and bold characteristics portrayed by ESFJs, depending on the context and the nature of persons I manage, I may fail to be effective. In particular, I need to improve on the trait of bouncing from one idea or even conversation, which characterizes extraverts.
According to Beauducel, Brocke, and Leue (2006, p. 232), extraverts “are prone to overestimating their capabilities.” I need to improve in this area since it is desirable to conduct managerial work within the limits of my capabilities. Overestimation of capabilities can lead to higher anticipations that may be unachievable. This may reduce my morale at work. Underestimation can result in setting too low targets to perform in my organizational, managerial obligations sub-optimally.
Overestimation of one’s capabilities may have the implications of undermining the contribution of other people in making organizational decisions Beauducel, Brocke, and Leue (2006, p. 233) support this concern arguing, “extraverted managers may be less likely to solicit input from subordinates and colleagues, potentially alienating organizational members who prefer that attention and credit to shared.” In situations where extraverts engage in shallow and short discussions, people fail to acquire a clear strategic directive. My goal is to ensure that I will be able to direct people with precision and accuracy so that they can engage in tasks that satisfy my desired outputs.
Thus, I would like to cultivate the ability to engage people in detailed discussions while limiting my sociability traits to the discussion of issues that are relevant to the work environment, which relates to the core reason for the existence of an organization, I will take charge of managing, which includes ensuring higher owners’ returns on investments through increased productivity.
Managers need to harmonize all organizational stakeholders’ stakes in a manner that is consistent with the organization’s goals. Managers can adopt appropriate personality traits, which help them to induce the required organizational behaviors as a catalyst for organizational performance. Any effort to develop or improve one’s personality behaviors in the effort to enhance performance in a workplace initiates with the development of cognition of one’s personality.
The literature on management work associates such a requirement with the adoption of the principles of social corporate management strategies within organizations. To ensure that all needs of organizational stakeholders are sufficiently addressed, it is important to ensure that I always engage all people in an organization in detailed discussions. Such ability is critical in enhancing managers’ capacity to manage in a socially corporate responsible manner by considering the implications of the decisions on all organizational stakeholders.
The key principle of corporate social accountability is pegged on the idea that businesses have charitable, principled, and decent errands to play in addition to providing a profit to shareholders. Organizations immensely gain when they respect the environment in which they are established.
Tengblad (2006) states that managers mustn’t focus on how they would boost the profitability of the organizations they manage. Rather, they should also look for mechanisms of mitigation of various risky situations that may prompt an organization to escalate its weaknesses and threats to its operation. Such an initiative requires the collective engagement of all organizational stakeholders. This highlights the necessity of not underestimating, underestimating my capabilities, or failing to engage in lengthy and detailed discussions to identify points of parity and disparity between organizational stakeholders.
Beauducel, A., Brocke, B., & Leue, A. (2006). Energetical bases of extraversion: Effort, arousal, EEG, and performance. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 8(5), 232-236.
Bono, J., & Judge, T. (2004). Personality and transformational and transactional leadership: and management: A meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 8(9), 901-910.
Chatman, J., Caldwell, D., & O’Reiliy, C. (1999). Managerial Personality and Performance: As Semi-idiographic Approach. Journal of research in personality, 33(2), 514-545.
Mumford, T., Campion, M., & Morgeson, F. (2007). The leadership skills strataplex: Leadership skill requirements across organizational levels. Leadership Quarterly, 18(7), 154-166.
Ng, K., Ang, S., & Chan, K. (2008). Personality and leader effectiveness: A moderated mediation model of leadership self-efficacy, job demands, and job autonomy. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(4), 733-743.
Tengblad, S. (2006). Is there a ‘new managerial work’? A comparison with Henry Mintzberg’s classic study 30 years later. Journal of Management Studies, 43(7), 1437-1461.