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Synthesis Paper: Leadership

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This paper will create a dialogue concerning the following articles and synthesis them to generate a discussion of the common themes that run throughout them, as well as understanding the conclusion of all three articles when taken as one entity. Article 1: Fearless Dominance and the U.S. Presidency: Implications of PsychopathicPersonality Traits for Successful and Unsuccessful Political Leadership by S.O. Lilienfeld, I.D. Waldman, K. Landfield, A.L. Watts, S. Rubenzer and T. Faschinbauer. Article 2: Impact of personal growth projects on leadership identity development by J. Williams. Article 3: Leadership Styles and AssociatedPersonality Traits: Support for the Conceptualisation of Transactional and Transformational Leadership by R. Van Eeden, F. Cilliers, and V. Van Deventer.

The authors of article 1 discuss research that was conducted regarding maladaptive and adaptive behaviors associated to psychopathy. Psychopathic traits include (but not limited to) poor impulse control, dishonesty, guiltlessness, egocentricity, fearlessness and interpersonal dominance. The focus group was 42 United States presidents starting with George Washington up to George W. Bush. The data used was taken from personality profiles compiled by historical experts and surveys which focus on presidential leadership; as well as key elements from each president’s leadership performance. The author’s introduce the concept of Fearless Dominance, which is the idea of boldness that is associated with psychopathy, which when the two are paired seems to result in better performances in leadership and presidential roles.

The basis of the study was to look at certain qualities associated with psychopathy that advance individuals in leadership roles. The authors discovered there are multiple domains of psychopathy, and boldness is an important attribute of one domain. The research determined that boldness is a valid trait to presidential leadership, although the research did not address whether political performance and boldness have a linear relationship. The author’s did not research the importance of psychopathy in other occupations; however this topic would make a great addition to the current research on psychopathy. There is indication that Psychopathy may contribute to the success of individuals in business, law enforcement, athletics, military, as well as the various sub-fields throughout psychology. This topic is interesting and allows for better understanding of the presidential role, as well as leadership roles in general. .

Article 2 iterates the importance of personal leadership education and the importance of students’ professional and personal development. Specifically, the author’s talk about the idea behind personal growth involving self-awareness, self-confidence, interpersonal efficiency, developing and applying new skills and subsets, expanding their motivation, and reflecting on what the student has found out about themselves. The research entailed analysis of Personal Growth Project (PGP) assignments in a university level “personal leadership” education course. The purpose of the PGP tasks was to promote life-long learning in the students. The students were allowed to choose their project with instructor approval, and examples are learning a new musical instrument, learning to cook or being trained in any new skill.

The author’s studied the quality of leadership development among the students who completed a PGP. It was discovered that the assignment was extremely successful in endorsing the students’ leadership identity. This subject is fascinating and sheds light on the connection to positive experiences and the creation of quality leadership skills, as well as how one values life. The concept of gaining self-confidence and self-awareness are two topics that are a complex part of an individual’s personal improvement. Another crucial part of leadership is developing relationships which enhance the ability to effectively guide others. These topics are very interesting as the author’s have presented the information in an informative and easy manner to read and understand.

The third article discusses the idea behind transactional and transformational leadership and how they determine the ability of management
to push and organization forward. Transactional leadership looks at how to keep the status quo or keep the organization afloat, while transformational leadership looks at ways to improve the organization and help it move to the next level. The authors discuss how important it is for successful leaders and organizations to employ a blending of the two styles to create the best leaders. Those managers that are concerned for the well-being of the company, as well as the well-being of the employees, are going to help the organization progress and be successful. This blending is also important with the advances in technology, globalization, policies and procedures, cultural competencies, structures, and role definitions. The more that we become a global community the more the blending of transactional and transformational leadership becomes necessary to stay abreast of the issues surrounding global diversity and global competition.

The author’s conducted research regarding leadership styles and connected personality traits among members of a management team. Out of the study, two groups emerged, managers who relied on transformational and active transactional behaviors, as well as having no indication of passive style preference; and managers who related with all leadership styles. It was concluded that managers who utilized a transformational style also exhibited personality traits linked with this leadership style. Managers in this group tend to think strategically, and use the conceptual and innovative approach in their leadership responsibilities. They also demonstrate the importance of responsibility, determination, the ability to critically analyze, as well as showing ethical behaviors.

The managers who utilized a transactional style tended to be task orientated and worked in a more direct approach instead of using a participating transactional style. These managers exhibit a docile attitude, the inability of making long-term commitments, and they tend to be anti-social. This study showed the importance of understanding the various management styles and how each one interacts with the other. The author’s did an adequate job of researching the topic, however due to the small sample size the results are limited. It would be beneficial for this study to be replicated on a larger scale to gain more information in this area.

The common theme that runs through the articles is the significance that personal growth and personality traits have upon leadership skills. An individual’s leadership capability stems from the inner depths of one’s intellect and the desire to become the best that they can be as a leader. Some people tend to be natural born leaders where others learn to become leaders through enriching learning experiences. The individual’s personality type impacts how leadership takes place. For instance, in article 1, the author’s discuss specific personality processes associated with individual differences and the impact that the combination of the two has upon presidential leadership. Article 2 focuses upon the development of self-awareness and self-confidence and how they are developed through learning a new skill or topic. This correlation is important in understanding the role that personality plays within leadership as a whole. The third article honed in on the various aspects of different management types and how they tend to lead.

As a whole, the articles speak as one voice in seeking the understanding of how the various personality types impact leadership style and vigor. The author’s found that certain personality traits shape a leadership style that draws individuals to specific work fields (Lilienfeld Et Al, 2012). It was also found that leadership can be shaped by experience indicating that knowledge is a crucial part of the learning curve of any leader, as well as the growth of an individual within the job market. The conclusion of the articles as a whole is that leadership can be formulated through involvement, learning new skills, interpersonal relationships among employees, and specific personality traits associated with the individual. Everyone is unique, as is personalities, which shape each individual’s life lessons. These lessons prepare the individual for specific roles within their life. Understanding the various leadership styles and the impact that personalities have upon a leader allows researchers to fully understand how a noble or poor leader is developed.


Lilienfeld, S. O., Waldman, I. D., Landfield, K., Watts, A. L., Rubenzer, S., &
Faschingbauer, T. R. (2012). Fearless Dominance and the U.S. Presidency: Implications
Of Psychopathic Personality Traits for Successful and Unsuccessful Political
Leadership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(3), 489-5 Odom, S. F., Boyd, B. L., & Williams, J. (2012). Impact of personal growth projects on
Leadership Identity dFevelopment. Journal of Leadership Education, 11(1), 49-63. Van Eeden, R., Cilliers, F., & van Deventer, V. (2008). Leadership Styles and Associated
Personality Traits: Support for the Conceptualisation of Transactional and Transformational leadership. South African Journal of Psychology, 38(2), 253-267.

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