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Values and Personality as Elements of Self-Leadership

Literature Review on Elements of Self-Leadership





Values and Personality as Elements of Self-Leadership


Self-leadership is defined as the set of self-influence strategies, which always have the significant potential of being applied in different organisations seeking to achieve success and gain a competitive advantage in today's business environment that is changing drastically (Tesdimir et al., 2012). Values and personality are usually associated with the unique behavioural traits of an individual. As change is inevitable among business firms, self-leadership will have a considerable impact on the work environment that fosters creativity and innovation. The 21st-century workforce is knowledge based and needs freedom to make their sound decisions that can enhance the possibilities of activation of an organisation's potential (Ameneh and Fariba, 2013). Personality and values are vital elements towards our behaviours in real life situations and even in the workplace. Therefore, this review will examine values and personality as elements of self-leadership that contribute significantly to employee job satisfaction and the performance of teams. Its primary focus will include reviewing existing literature on self-leadership and related components such as self-management and self-regulation to give room for the identification of the personality traits and values that can moderate self-leadership effectiveness.

Literature Review

According to Ebben (2012), the self-leadership strategies are distinct from personal traits, and yet they relate in several ways. Self-leadership leads to an engaged and robust workforce, collaborative team efforts, faster decision making, enhanced productivity, and stability in the organisational context. Individuals or people can apply the strategies to enhance the effectiveness of personality and values through the natural reward, constructive thought, and behaviour-focused concepts. Choi et al. (2015) conducted a study that was aimed at determining of relationships that may exist between self-leadership, job satisfaction, and personality. They concluded that the normative concept of self-leadership aids in the enhancement of behavioural and cognitive prescription. Such a correlation becomes applicable to the people via the operation of theoretical contexts derived from the self-regulation, self-control, social, cognitive, and intrinsic motivation theories. Self-awareness of personal values is one of the internal principles of leadership that enable a person to attain success in all activities undertaken (Tesdimir et al., 2012). Proponents of the self-leadership training interventions aim at providing solutions that will enhance teaching and creation of awareness on strategies that can maximise intrinsic motivation of the employees. Self-leadership is one of the core principles of leading a team correctly, and it involves such components as self-management, self-knowing, self-awareness, and the self-discipline (Ameneh and Fariba, 2013).

Self-leadership Theory

There are many arguments regarding the significance of the evolving concept of self-leadership. Ebben (2012) argues that self-leadership is the process that enables a person to influence oneself as a way to establish the self-motivation and self-direction required to enhance the performance. However, it is evident from Choi et al. (2015) study that the employers are seeking people who can lead others towards the achievement of a competitive workforce that focuses on the strategic goals and objectives. Similarly, Palmer (2009) concluded that self-leadership enables an individual to enhance the employability skills and knowledge, development of the professional and personal mastery, efficient career goal setting, increasing a person's well-being, and improving the capability of being a professional person who can handle the interpersonal relationships. Self-leadership involves the cognitive and behavioural strategies, which scholars argue that they can positively influence the subsequent outcomes in the performance of individuals working in an organisation. These strategies are in three broad categories that include behaviour-focused, constructive thought and the natural reward.

The behaviour-focused strategies aim at ensuring that there is an increment in the self-awareness that eventually leads to proper management of the organisational practices that may include necessary but unpleasant tasks and responsibilities (Tesdimir et al., 2012). In research conducted by Milan, Emanuel & Bizjak (2008), they found out that the behaviour-focused strategy enhances the self-conscientious and henceforth encourage positive attitudes, beliefs, and values that can yield satisfactory outcomes. At the same time, it aids in suppressing the negative attitudes that may have severe impacts, especially in the modern organisations that foster creativity and innovation to enhance the provision of high quality and products that meet the customers’ needs and expectations. The sub-categories of this strategy include self-motivation, self-goal setting, self-observation, and self-explorer.

Natural reward strategies enable an individual to build the enjoyable cohesion with other colleagues and managers and promote the process of shaping up the perceptions of activities being carried out (Ameneh and Fariba, 2013). They focus on the activities that can create feeling of competence, purpose, and self-control through the enhancement of the intrinsic motivation. Furthermore, Faranak et al. (2015) conducted a study that evaluated and provided solutions for the self-leadership and concluded in their research that there are two primary objectives of the natural-reward strategy in self-leadership. They include facilitating the optimal functioning of a person and drawing attention from the undesirable facet of a particular assignment. As a result, such a strategy can be applied in the organisation setup to maximise the capability of leaders to build trust and facilitate team spirit among the workforce (Milan et al., 2008).

According to Rappe & Zwick (2007), the constructive-thought pattern strategies allow a person to identify the dysfunctional beliefs accompanied with changing of the present views into more active ones that will eventually enhance a credible corporate culture and acceptable organisational behaviour. Additionally, Harold (2010) argues that such a strategy can be useful, especially in the campaign towards increment of the self-efficacy beliefs. Dysfunctional thinking results in individual performance problems, and through the thought self-leadership, one can conduct a self-analysis to identify, confront and replace the troubling and stressful situations with the best ones (Rappe & Zwick, 2007).

Therefore, one can view self-leadership as an overarching theory of an individual's self-influence that can subsume both the self-management and self-regulation and at the same time ensure an incorporation of essential aspects regarding the cognitive evaluation and the social cognitive theories. The self-efficacy perceptions play a significant role in the self-leadership theory where the needs for determination and competencies by an individual lead to selection, pursuit, and achievement of the challenging goals that facilitate successful completion of many projects (Palmer, 2009). Ameneh and Fariba (2013) concluded that job satisfaction of employees mediates a relationship that exists between team performance and self-leadership empowerment interventions. The self-leaderships strategies and interventions facilitate the fruitful and efficient human resource management that fosters a continuous innovative behaviour among all the members of the organisation.

Values and Personality Theory

There are competing human personality theories as many theorists and academic researchers struggle to categorise the individual personality differences in the 21st century. Some of those proposed and well-known include cognitive, motivation and trait theories (Glenn et al., 2009). However, the trait based approach seems to dominate in studies concerning personality, and thus the paper reviews the Big Five model, which is influential and well respected in different documented and scholarly literature. Foti and Hauenstein (2007) define personality as a person’s unique constellation of consistent behavioural traits. On the other hand, values include lasting and meaningful beliefs as well as ideas of members of particular culture regarding what may be morally right or wrong and undesirable or desirable (Gerhardt et al., 2007). The personality theory aids in the exploration of different cultures as a means to improve the ability of the people while engaging in an appropriate leadership both in the work environment and other real life situations. The Big Five or five-factor model is gaining academic credibility and tremendous popularity as it gives an explicit representation of a structure of individual traits. It consists of five basic dimensions that include conscientiousness, experience, agreeableness, extroversion, and emotional stability or neuroticism (Ebben, 2012) and these factors are described in detail below.

Extroversion involves the tendency of being talkative outgoing and sociable. According to Faranak et al. (2015), extroversion shows the positive emotions, energy, and a tendency to search for stimulation while in company with other people. Agreeableness has the advantages of maintaining and attaining popularity, and it tends to have the weak relationship with the self-leadership concept. It includes being sympathetic, kind and warm. Openness to experience involves having a broad range of interests and being imaginative. Conscientiousness enables one to have a goal-directed behaviour and portray self-discipline, which contributes significantly to a person remaining organised, dependable, controllable, and decisive (Milan et al., 2008). Neuroticism or sometimes referred to as emotional stability may include traits such as moody and tense is usually negatively and moderately related to leadership.

Relationship between Self-leadership and Personality

The self-leadership theorists are continuously ignoring the individual differences and personality factors as few attempts have been made in investigating the relationship between the two variables. A study conducted by Lovelace et al. (2007) has revealed that the personality traits are not directly related to self-leadership and gave a comparison between extroversion and individual performance that they have figured out that the two variables are unrelated. On the contrary, Javadi (2013) argues that a positive correlation exists between the self-leadership skills and personality traits such as the locus of control, general self-efficacy, and emotional stability. However, if one tries to compare the two variables, one can conclude that the self-leadership concepts and the personality traits are indistinguishable. Choi et al. (2015) conceptualise self-leadership as the interaction between self-regulation and cognition that eventually result in the behaviour-focused and cognitive strategies.

Building the personal perspective necessitates a self-leadership foundation and always requires serious thoughts regarding a person’s desires. Self-awareness is an important aspect in organisations today, and the self-leaders will be aware of the professional lives requirements as well as the expectations of the employers and other senior management or executives (Foti & Hauenstein, 2007). According to Javadi (2013), self-leadership will combine personal traits such as being focused, ability to build harmony, self-motivation, excellent goal setting, and direction and the determination of strength that enhances the interaction between followers and leaders within an organisation set up. Self-leadership emerges through the personal influence together with the personal perspective and behaviour, and the component of self-management makes it applicable in all situations (Glenn eta l., 2009). Individuals or people can apply it in enhancing the personality and values effectiveness through the natural reward, constructive thought, and the behaviour-focused concepts.

Organisations that would like to have a working environment that fosters creativity and innovation together with self-motivation should encourage self-leadership through training and development programs that promote employees to focus on the creative thing as well as idea generation. The personality traits and values of creative individuals enhance the emotional and cognitive processes, which eventually lead to the development of greater autonomy accompanied by a shared commitment (Kristina and Udo, 2012). It is essential to adapt the selection and training strategies that can secure productive and competent organisational teams, if there is a correlation between five personality traits and self-leadership. According to Tesdimir (2012), individuals, who tend to have high-level personality traits, are likely to engage in the self-leadership behaviours and strategies discussed in detail under the theoretical framework.

Conceptual Framework

Basing on the reviewed literature on personality as an element of self-leadership the conceptual framework below can be derived.


In summary, personality is a necessary element in self-leadership and contributes significantly to building the creative and innovative behaviours among employees within an organisation set up. There is a need for future researchers to conduct studies aiming at an examination of how the personality traits and values explained in the theoretical framework impact the self-leadership. It is also recommendable that employees get an encouragement of the benefits of enhancing the self-leadership together with focusing on the durability of their behaviours and promote the association of the personality traits and values with self-leadership skills. Building the personal perspective necessitates a self-leadership foundation and always requires serious thoughts regarding a person's desires. Self-leadership emerges through the personal influence together with the personal perspective and behaviour, and the component of self-management makes it applicable in all situations.


Ameneh, M. and Fariba, A. (2013). Evaluating and providing solutions for self-leadership International Public Management Review.

Choi, S.L., Mohd, N., Tan, O. & Chan W.C. (2015). The Relationship between Self-Leadership, Personality and Job Satisfaction: A Review. Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 8, No. 1.

Ebben, V. Z. (2012). The Relationship between Self-leadership and Certain Personality Traits among a Group of First-line Supervisors. Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Journal of Social Sciences, 31(2): 159-165.

Faranak, S.S., Ali, A, S. & Abzari, M. (2015). Studying the relation between self-leadership with job satisfaction and performance improvement. Global Journal of Human Resource Management Vol.3, No.3, pp.39-57.

 Foti, R.J. & Hauenstein, N.M.A. (2007). Pattern and variable approaches in leadership emergence and effectiveness, Journal of Applied Psychology 92: 347-355.

Gerhardt, M.W., Rode, J.C. & Peterson, S.J. (2007). Exploring mechanisms in the personality performance relationship: Mediating roles of self-management and situational constraints, Personality and Individual Differences 43: 1344-1355.

Glenn, M. Geoffrey, S. & Sandra, K. (2009). Personality Influences on the Self-Leadership Practices of Vocational College Academics. Retrieved on September 8, 2017, from http://www.anzam.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf-manager/1035_ANZAM2009-343.PDF

Harold, A. P. (2010). Personality traits in relation to Job Satisfaction of Management Educators. Asian Journal of Management Research, 239-249

Javadi, H. S. M., Rezaee, M. S., & Salehzadeh, R. (2013). Investigating the relationship between self-leadership strategies and job satisfaction. International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, 3, 284-289.

Kristina, H. and Udo, K. (2012). A Conceptual Framework of Self-leadership in Teams. Work and Organizational Psychology. Retrieved on September 8, 2017, from https://www.aom.psychologie.uni-kiel.de/de/research/reports/downloads/Working%20Paper%202012_13.pdf

Lovelace, K.J., Manz, C.C. & Alves, J.C. (2007). Work stress and leadership development: The role of self- leadership, shared leadership, physical fitness and flow in managing demands and increasing job control, Human Resource Management Review 17: 374-387.

Milan, P., Emanuel, B. & Bizjak, A. (2008). Leadership competencies for successful change management. A Preliminary Study Report. Retrieved on September 8, 2017, from https://www.oeffentlicherdienst.gv.at/moderner_arbeitgeber/personalentwicklung/international/dokumente/leadership_competencies.pdf

Palmer, D.E. (2009). Business Leadership: Three Levels of Ethical Analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 88, pp 525-539.

Rappe, C. & Zwick, T. (2007). Developing leadership competence of production unit managers. Journal Management Development, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 312-330.

Tesdimir, M. Z., Asghar, M. Z., & Sana, S. (2012). Study of Relationship of Personality Traits and Job Satisfaction among Professional Sales Representative in Pharmaceutical industry in Turkey. Proceedings of 2nd International Conference on Business Management.

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