Self-leadership and personality

The Big Five model is a widely acknowledged concept of personality characteristics and illustrates a broad scope of perspectives of human characteristics (Zhao & Seibert, 2006). It is a distinct theory that is believed - and was found - to correlate with certain aspects of self-leadership (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2010). Assessing the relationship between self-leadership and the Big Five, Houghton, Bonham, Neck and Singh (2004) observed that all three self-leadership dimensions are positively associated with consciousness and extraversion. The linkage between extraversion and behavior-focused strategies and self-goal setting was confirmed by Furtner and Rauthmann (2010). The researchers conclude self-leadership to enhance personal and cognitive growth, mental development and goal orientation. A key contribution to self-leadership research followed by challenging the relation between selfleadership and openness to experience. In particular, the connection to constructive thought patters was found to be strong. Openness to experience and creativity are assumed to be key characteristics of self-leadership (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2010).

Furtner, Rauthmann and Sachse (2010) tested for the relationship between emotional factors and self-leadership. Results revealed that socioemotional intelligence correlates positively with self-leadership and its sub-dimensions. Emotional sensitivity, which relates to the ability of a person to identify and correctly interpret another person’s emotions, was found to be positively linked to all facets of selfleadership. The authors further expected emotional control to be related to selfleadership or its subfacets, but this relationship could not be established empirically (Furtner et al., 2010, p. 1195).

In a subsequent publication the researchers found hope for success, rather than fear of failure, to be a determinant for self-regulation and self-goal setting (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2011). The findings indicate that natural reward strategies and constructive thought patterns are positively related to hope for success. Although both self-leadership and need for achievement encompass goal-focused strategies that can enhance motivation and performance, they should still be considered two distinct constructs. Investigating differences between self-leadership and personality traits, the independence of self-leadership as a distinct concept is confirmed, even if the two are interrelated. Self-leadership is yet more likely to be considered a behavioral reflection of personality characteristics. Particularly, extraversion and conscientiousness show links with all three self-leadership strategies, whereas emotional stability is projected to be associated with natural reward strategies (Houghton et al., 2004. p. 436).

An investigation by Furtner, Rauthmann and Sachse (2011) examining the relationship between self-leadership and the dark triad explained that narcissism was positively related with seven subfacets of self-leadership (self-goal setting, constructive thought patterns, natural reward strategies, evaluating beliefs and assumptions, and visualizing successful performance). Machiavellianism presented negative correlations with self-reward and natural reward strategies, whereas psychopathy correlated significantly and negatively only with self-cueing. Evaluating beliefs and assumptions was further found to be positively linked to impulsive thrill seeking, a subfacet of psychopathy, and self-cueing showed a significant negative association with interpersonal manipulation (Furtner et al., 2011).

In their most recent work, Furtner, Rauthmann and Sachse (2015) investigated the distinctiveness of self-leadership from other related constructs, such as need for achievement, self-regulation, and self-efficacy. The researchers tested for discriminant and incremental validity and they confirmed self-leadership to display discriminant validity compared to other scales. In addition, self-leadership scales did predict individual performance regardless of need for achievement, self-regulation, and self-efficacy (Furtner et al., 2015, pp. 116-118).

Researchers have investigated whether self-leadership is adaptable to various cultural contexts (Alves, Lovelace, Manz, Matsypura, Toyasaki & Ke, 2006). As the model of self-leadership was developed in the United States, the concept refers to American cultural values. Alves and colleagues (2006) claim self-leadership to be a universal theory and describe it as “a set of behavioral and constructive strategies aiming the enhancement of personal effectiveness” (p. 356). This work follows the definition of self-leadership outlined as “the process of influencing oneself’ (Neck & Manz, 2010, p. 4) by leading one’s thoughts and behaviors (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2010).

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