Great Leaders Subordinate


However, Farkas and Wetlaufer (1996) found when studying 160 chief executives that the explicit leadership styles of management were not a reflection of personal style. In effective companies the CEOs did not simply adopt the leadership approach that suited their personalities, but instead adopted the approach that would best meet the needs of the organization and the business situation at hand (Farkas and Wetlaufer, 1996, p. 111). Farkas and Wetlaufer (1996) emphasize that they do not see leadership as a generic trait or that a person’s approach to leadership is solely a function of personality. Their research suggests that somevery good leaders repress certain personality traits, or develop ones they were not born with, in order to run their organization effectively(Farkas and Wetlaufer, 1996, p. 114). Farkas and Wetlaufer (1996) hold that until scientists discover a gene for leadership the debate about personality will persist. This is unlikely to occur. Their research indicates that leaders are not driven by what they are like inside but by what the outside demands (Farkas and Wetlaufer, 1996, p. 114). Hartman (1999, p. 31) also found that personality factors could not predict and did not correlate with leadership practices. In fact, studies of leadership behavior show profound differences between leaders in areas like leadership style, decision-making style, conflict behavior, motivation and creativity to mention a few areas. Vinkenburg et al. (2001) focused on decision-making processes behind overt managerial behavior trying to find out why managers do things the way they do. Most academics agree that behavior is a function of both individual and situational factors. However, which of the two factors explains the most variance in behavior is still a topic of heated polemics (Vinkenburg et al., 2001, p. 218). Vinkenburg et al. (2001, p. 234) found that, in general, situational factors have a larger impact on the behavior choices of managers than personal factors.

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