Management and Personality


Management (Photo credit: eschipul)


Management and personality are closely interwoven.

I subscribe to the view, articulated by management scholars like Henry Mintzberg, David Lilienthal and Peter Drucker, that management is an art rather than a science.  Although there are some scientific elements in management theory, the successful practice of management is really an art.  Given the contextual, individual, social and political variables in the workplace, it is clear that some managers will be more effective than others because of their personality.

The personality traits and characteristics of some managers will increase worker performance while those of other managers will inhibit worker performance.  Each manager has a unique personality and this personality determines how he or she thinks, feels, works, behaves, and treats employees.  Employees then respond and react, positively or negatively, to the perceived attitude and behavior of the manager.  This happens in educational management and in all the other fields of management as well.

It can be argued that effective management depends more on who you are as a person than on the management studies you have completed.  Management, and leadership come from who you are in terms of your values, beliefs, attitudes, world view, emotional and social intelligence and the type of relationships you build with your subordinates.  The actions of a manager or leader are driven by the inner views and qualities just mentioned.  Employees’ response and work performance are often determined by their feelings about the manager.  Managers must therefore constantly seek to improve their personalities in order to improve productivity.

Even when a manager studies the principles of management, the knowledge gained is filtered through his or her inner core or personality and changed accordingly.  Managers learn more on the job than from management textbooks.  Common sense and quick, critical thinking are vital tools since management is subjective.

Management theory is important but it has to be viewed in perspective.  It may be difficult to teach some personality types to manage effectively.  Managers should seek to develop the personality traits, characteristics, and relationships that conduce to high performance from workers.


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