GOVT 386 Leadership Trait Analysis - Hermann

GOVT 386 Leadership Trait Analysis - Hermann - ASSESSING...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
ASSESSING LEADERSHIP STYLE: A TRAIT ANALYSIS Margaret G. Hermann Social Science Automation November 1999 © 1999 by Social Science Automation, Inc.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
1 Introduction More often than not when conversation turns to politics and politicians, discussion focuses on personalities. There is a certain fascination with analyzing political leaders. As a result, biographies on current political figures become best sellers and the triumphs as well as the tragedies of political leaders become newspaper headlines. A major reason for our curiosity about the personal characteristics of such leaders is the realization that their preferences, the things they believe in and work for, and the ways they go about making decisions can influence our lives. But how can we learn about the personalities and, in particular, the leadership styles of political leaders in more than a cursory fashion? It is hard to conceive of giving people like Tony Blair, Saddam Hussein, or Boris Yeltsin a battery of psychological tests or having them submit to a series of clinical interviews. Not only would they not have time for, or tolerate, such procedures, they would be wary that the results, if made public, might prove politically damaging to them. One way of learning more about political leaders that does not require their cooperation is by examining what they say. Only movie stars, hit rock groups, and athletes probably leave more traces of their behavior in the public arena than politicians. U.S. presidents’ movements and statements, for example, are generally recorded by the mass media; little of what a U.S. president does escapes notice. Such materials provide a basis for assessment. By analyzing the content of what political leaders say, we can begin to learn something about the images they display in public even when such individuals are unavailable for the more usual assessment techniques. To illustrate how political leaders’ statements can be studied to
Background image of page 2
2 learn more about them, the rest of this manual will present a technique for using such material to assess leadership style. Focusing on Spontaneous Material Two major types of statements are readily available for most political leaders in the latter part of the Twentieth Century – speeches and interviews with the media. Some caution must be exercised in examining speeches to assess what a leader is like since such materials are generally written for him or her by speech writers or staff members. Moreover, care and thought have generally gone into what is said and how it is said. Interviews with the media, however, are a more spontaneous type of material. During the give and take of a question and answer period, leaders must respond quickly without props or aid. What they are like can influence the nature of the response and how it is worded. Although there is often some preparation of a political leader prior to an interview with the press (for example, consideration of what questions might be asked and, if asked, how they should be answered), during the interview leaders are on their own; their
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 50

GOVT 386 Leadership Trait Analysis - Hermann - ASSESSING...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online