The Ways in Which the Personality of a Leader Might Affect Employee Turnover

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In this intensely competitive business environment, organizations have concentrated on developing effective leadership style to accomplish all the business goals. Leaders within an organization play an extremely critical role in building work culture. Leaders are provided with the responsibilities to develop strategies so that the entire workforce can be utilized at the optimum level. In addition, leaders are also responsible in developing strong professional coordination with each employee through constant communication. Every individual or management personnel has his own way to fulfil all these professional responsibilities appropriately. Studies have established the fact that personality determines the way people react or behave in different situation (Yahaya et al., 2011). Therefore, personality often has impact on the leader’s behavioural pattern and attitude towards professional responsibilities. Leaders with different personalities adopt different method in dealing or managing people within the organizational structure. Improper interaction or management of the employees can have direct adverse impact on the overall motivational level of workforce, which in turn can lead them to opt for better alternative opportunity outside the company. The essay will evaluate the way personality of a leader can have any impact on the employee turnover rate.        

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As per the article by Mihalcea (2014), every individual has his own personality that induces him to deal with similar challenges in a completely different manner. In fact, personality can simply be illustrated as a predisposition to feel, think and act in specific ways. Many elements of personality like anxiety and curiousness are genetically determined within an individual. Therefore, it is difficult for any individual to change his personality for accomplishing any particular professional or personal goal. The success of leaders depends heavily on the way they have been able to manage the workforce for performing professional responsibilities. With increasing competition in the market, every organization is facing complex challenges in order to achieve sustainable growth for longer timeframe. Therefore, leaders have to deal with different types of complex situations on regular basis. It has increased the significance of having appropriate personality as a leader to handle each individual within the workforce appropriately. Multiple studies have highlighted big five personality factors including agreeableness, dependability, emotional stability, surgency and intellectance to assess the impact of leadership on the employee motivational level (Cobb-Clark and Schurer, 2012). 

Dependability describes the ability of the leaders to be responsible and hardworking (Credé et al., 2012). With increasing complexity of the business process, it has become preliminary criteria to have hard working skills for any leader to accomplish all the business goals and objectives. It has been assessed that leaders who work hard for the success of the team can encourage other members to give their best at the work place. Similarly, a leader who is not working hard and focusing on transferring responsibility to others can actually damage the morale of other employees. Thus, if a leader’s personality does not have trait of dependability, it can affect the motivation level of the employees. Absence of dependability trait of personality can induce employees to develop doubts regarding the capability of any individual as a leader. It will reduce the respect of a leader or management personnel within the organizational setting. Hence, it is likely to affect the relationship or coordination between employees and leaders, which will create more challenges in accomplishing organizational responsibilities. High level of challenges will generate immense stress for the employees to handle on regular basis, which in turn increase the probability of employee turnover. 

Agreeableness refers to the leader’s ability to be good natured and sympathetic. Therefore, agreeableness within the personality trait can allow a leader to develop strong emotional bonding with the employees. As per the article by Wang et al. (2012), it is critical for the leaders to have in-depth knowledge regarding behavioural pattern of each employee. It can support the leaders to enhance the effectiveness of the communicational network within the workplace. On the other hand, it allows employees to receive required level of emotional support from the senior management, which definitely boosts the motivation considerably. Thus, if a leader possesses agreeableness trait within their personality, employees are likely to remain happy and satisfied within the corporate structure. Moreover, leaders with the agreeableness trait can deal with any unintentional mistake of an employee in an appropriate manner. As stated by Ramalu et al. (2010), mistakes are bound to occur within the operational process by the employees, as business atmosphere has become extremely complex. Therefore, managers will have to deal with such mistakes within the operational process in a sympathetic manner so that it does not affect the self-confidence level of any particular employee. Thus, leaders need to possess agreeableness as one of the key components of their personality in order to remain successful for longer timeframe. It is obvious that motivated or satisfied employee group will not look to terminate the association with the company in near future. Therefore, it will in turn reduce the employee turnover rate of an organization. 

Intellectance personality trait illustrates leader’s ability to remain innovative and open minded at the all the time within the professional climate (Gyomber, Lenart and Kovacs, 2013). Presently, almost all the companies regardless of their industry are facing immense competition in order to maintain its position within the targeted market. As a result, they are looking to use various innovative strategies or techniques to sustain its position for longer timeframe. Leaders within a company have to take responsibility of generating different innovative strategy to achieve success within the market (Oreg and Berson, 2015). It has been assessed that innovative thinking from the leaders or management professionals has supported companies to achieve rapid growth. For instance, the initial growth of Apple Inc. was relied on the innovative thinking skills of its CEO, Steve Jobs. Strategy of developing iPhone and iPod has changed the fortune of the company completely. In addition, several companies have opted to use innovative strategy at the time of dealing with culturally diversified workforce. In this globalized era, almost all the companies are recruiting people from different educational, ethical and geographical background. Therefore, traditional concept of handling employees is becoming obsolete in this present era. It is critical for a leader to have strong innovative skills to deal with all the internal and external challenges of business procedure. 

Intellectance personality trait has assisted many leaders to include the views and thoughts of employees at the time of making any decision (Oluf and Furnham, 2015). Without having open-minded approach, it will be extremely difficult for any leader to incorporate inputs provided by the employees. Many studies have mentioned that if employees are providing with the opportunity to take part in management decision-making procedure, they will remain motivated towards performing all their responsibilities. On the other hand, absence of Intellectance personality trait can induce leaders to develop too many rules and restrictions for the employees, which will create challenges in maintaining the efficiency of the operational procedure. In addition, too much restriction will create adverse impact on the psychological aspect of the employees. On the other hand, absence of innovative strategy will create difficulties for an organization to sustain its position in the market. Thus, emergence of such unwanted situations will in turn induce employees to look for better alternative option outside the company, which will increase the rate of employee turnover.

Surgency personality trait refers to the leader’s ability to present assertive and sociable qualities (Herrmann and Nadkarni, 2014). Within the organizational setting, leaders often have to take several major decisions that can determine the future of an organization. In order to develop and initiate such strategy appropriately, it is essential for a leader to have high level of self-confidence. In fact, leaders often have to take calculative risks to ensure competitive advantage within the targeted market. Therefore, any misjudgement can result into financial loss for an organization. Without having assertive skills, leaders might fail to initiate any major decision related with any aspect of the business procedure. As stated by Huffman et al. (2014), an individual cannot be called a leader, until they have the skills of developing strong decisions. It emphasizes the importance of having surgency trait to accomplish organizational goals and objectives. On the other hand, sociable qualities can support a leader to maintain a friendly atmosphere within the workplace. Therefore, it encourages people to develop strong bonding with the other members of the company. In addition, sociable qualities support leaders to express their thoughts and beliefs in front of the employees. As a result, it eliminates any possibility of confusion regarding the role of each employee. Thus, it assists to keep employees associated with the company for longer timeframe. 

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Emotional stability describes leader’s capability to remain calm, cool and composed at the time of handling various pressure situations (Zheng et al., 2015). Presence of intense competition has enforced all the leaders to deal with various pressure situations on regular basis. Emotional stability can assist leaders to evaluate present complex situation comprehensively. Therefore, it often allows the leaders to identify the root cause of any business problem that in turn enhance the effectiveness of the decision-making procedure. Moreover, emotional stability can help leaders to deal with the unintentional mistakes of the employees (Li and Ahlstrom, 2016). Therefore, it relaxes the nerve of the employees and assists them to perform the responsibilities freely. On the other hand, absence of emotional stability to remain calm under pressure, leaders can lose their temper on other employees. Therefore, it can damage the bonding of the employees with the managers that in turn creates adverse impact on the workforce motivation level. In addition, lack of emotional stability can influence leaders to make constant unnecessary changes within the operational or business strategies. As a result, it will provide very limited time for the employees to cope up with any particular roles and responsibilities. Again, it will affect the bonding of the employees with the company, which will lead them to opt for better alternative career option.          


Personality determines the way a particular individual will behave in different scenarios. Maintenance of appropriate behavioural pattern with other employees is one of the prime responsibilities of a leader. Therefore, personality of a leader can certainly have impact on the work culture of an organization. Leaders with appropriate big five personality traits are likely to provide healthy working atmosphere for the employees where they can display their skills freely. In addition, it will allow employees to acquire new skills and knowledge, which can fulfil their career progression needs. Therefore, the employees are likely to remain associated with the company for longer timeframe, which will reduce the turnover ratio. On the other hand, absence of such personality trait will affect the motivational level of the employees and increase turnover ratio. To conclude, it had to be mentioned that personality of a leader plays significant role in keeping the employee turnover ratio under control.

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  1. Cobb-Clark, D.A. and Schurer, S., (2012). The stability of big-five personality traits. Economics Letters, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp.11-15.
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