Gender and personality in transformational leadership context: An examination of leader and subordinate perspectives

Publishers’ note: (FSG)Africa needs more women leaders!


Purpose – There are many studies of personality and leadership and gender and leadership, but only few leadership studies have taken into account both . That may partly be due to the fact that there are relatively few female leaders, however, our interest is in discovering if similar personality types exhibit the same kind of irrespective of gender.

Design/methodology/approach – The quantitative analysis involves 459 leaders (283 men and 176 women) and 378 subordinates working in various fields. Leaders rated their leadership behavior and subordinates also appraised them.

Findings – Results indicated differences in leadership behavior by gender, in that women exhibited more enabling behavior, and men more challenging behavior. Further, gender and personality had an impact on leadership behavior, as viewed by both leaders and subordinates. For example, extraverted and intuitive male leaders along with those exhibiting the perceiving dimension regarded themselves as more challenging than their introverted, sensing and judging male counterparts, a view confirmed by subordinates in the case of perceiving male leaders.

Research limitations/implications – As limitations, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator offers only one view of the personality, and future studies would be needed with different methods. Also we did not control confounding factors, and it should be taken into account with the study.

Practical implications – From a practical view point, this study offers specific knowledge for people seeking to develop themselves as leaders. Originality/value – Very few studies have concentrated on the relationship between personality and gender in the , and this study provides a new perspective on this area.
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