Personality and leadership: a qualitative and quantitative review

J Appl Psychol. 2002 Aug;87(4):765-80. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.87.4.765.


This article provides a qualitative review of the trait perspective in leadership research, followed by a meta-analysis. The authors used the five-factor model as an organizing framework and meta-analyzed 222 correlations from 73 samples. Overall, the correlations with leadership were Neuroticism = -.24, Extraversion = .31, Openness to Experience = .24, Agreeableness = .08, and Conscientiousness = .28. Results indicated that the relations of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, and Conscientiousness with leadership generalized in that more than 90% of the individual correlations were greater than 0. Extraversion was the most consistent correlate of leadership across study settings and leadership criteria (leader emergence and leadership effectiveness). Overall, the five-factor model had a multiple correlation of .48 with leadership, indicating strong support for the leader trait perspective when traits are organized according to the five-factor model.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Neurotic Disorders
  • Personality*
  • Professional Competence
  • Truth Disclosure