‘In view of the clear link between extraversion and leadership, human resource managers should only recruit extraverts as leaders.’ Based on your knowledge of the trait, skill, and style approaches to leadership, do you agree with this statement?
At first you would think that the answer is yes. A study of the big five model (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) showed that there is a strong relationship between these personality traits and leadership, and that the strongest relationship is between extraversion and leadership (Judge). However, they are a few things that were not taken into consideration: people change behaviour over time, every situation needs a different approach and therefore people change behaviour over ...view middle of the document...
It’s true that extraverted personalities are more likely to emerge and excel as leaders, and those have a higher job and life satisfaction. But these personalities where associated with sensation and excitement seeking which triggers impulsive behaviour. This brings along that extraversion is correlated to absenteeism, dangerous behaviours that lead to accidents, and a lower performance in certain jobs (routine jobs, isolated work,..).
Following the Skills Approach Capability Model we can say that an extraverted person may have the potential to be a leader but that doesn’t mean that he performs as a leader (Mumford). More specifically, he may have the individual attributes such as an extraverted personality, but not the competencies (problem solving, social judgement). This said, skills can be learned and therefore a person that has the individual attributes uses that as a basis to develop his skills.
Finally we must emphasise that every leader should adapt his style to the situation. By situation we can distinguish follower characteristics (personality, ability, job maturity, psychological maturity), task (complex vs simple, interesting vs boring), and organizational context.
I will conclude my answer with my personal opinion on this topic. I think that it is not recommended to base the recruitment decision on just one personality trait. Of course extraversion is important in some situations, but never solitarily. It needs to be accompanied by a combination of other traits, skills and styles. Furthermore we have a saying in Dutch that says that too much of something good is never desirable. Finally, extraversion is not a must to be a good leader; in some situations it can even be detrimental. There are examples enough of great leaders with an introvert personality: Ghandi, Bill Gates, Rosa Parks, Emma Watson, Stephen Hawking, and plenty more.