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HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 14 January 2021 – “It’s not who I am underneath, it is what I do that defines me,” so states the titular hero from the 2005 blockbuster, Batman Commences, starring Christian Bale as the billionaire caped crusader. Alternatively of the hero Batman, a team of lecturers had been motivated by what is most likely one of the a lot more profound lines in modern cinema and sought to locate out whether people, as the quote suggests, do shape basically who they are.


Especially, it led Wendong Li, Affiliate Professor at the Section of Administration at The Chinese College of Hong Kong (CUHK) Small business Faculty, to crew up with 7 other lecturers to study regardless of whether taking on a management role — together with the additional task tasks — can in fact improve people’s personality characteristics.


Prof. Li and the other researchers included in the review, Can Starting to be a Chief Alter Your Individuality? An Investigation With Two Longitudinal Reports From a Job-Primarily based Viewpoint, hoped to find proof that, somewhat than character features remaining reasonably stable as typically assumed, they could transform and produce in the course of a person’s grownup yrs.


“One of the critical variables in driving adult temperament advancement is having on new roles at get the job done,” he suggests. “As they get on broader responsibilities and engage in far more crucial roles in organisations, beginner leaders are anticipated to be additional conscientious than when they were employees — extra effective, organised, vigilant, accomplishment-oriented, and trustworthy to subordinates.”


“Fulfilling the expectations and responsibilities needed by management roles also suggests leaders need to offer proficiently with uncertainties and changes. Therefore, leaders need to be able to stay relaxed, and take care of adverse thoughts in response to anxiety.”


The Huge Five

The lecturers seemed for variations in two of the so-known as “Big Five” identity characteristics: conscientiousness, the tendency to be reliable, accomplishment oriented, dependable, structured, and to have out one’s task or obligation very well and carefully — just one of the ideal predictors of both equally management and occupation performance — and emotional stability, an additional appealing trait between leaders, which implies a human being can remain quiet and deal with nerve-racking scenarios and cope with adversity correctly. The other features in the Massive Five are openness to expertise, extroversion and agreeableness.

Prof. Li carried out the study along with Prof. Shuping Li of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Prof. Jie Feng of Rutgers University, Prof. Mo Wang of College of Florida, Prof. Michael Frese of the Asia College of Business and Leuphana University of Lueneburg, Prof. Chia-Huei Wu of the University of Leeds, as perfectly as CUHK Business College PhD candidate Hong Zhang.


They examined their strategies in two reports making use of publicly accessible U.S. and Australian databases, which in contrast the character advancement of people today at diverse stages about lengthy durations. Individuals had been split into a “becoming leaders group”, for staff members who have been promoted into management roles, and a “non-leaders group” for all those employees who remained as personnel throughout time.


The investigate located that moving into leadership roles led to an enhance in a person’s conscientiousness, and located no major changes in people’s psychological security in possibly research.


“The results of the two scientific studies supported our hypotheses pertaining to the romantic relationship involving turning out to be a leader and the subsequent smaller, but significant boosts in concentrations of conscientiousness around time and the mediating outcome of modifications of task demands,” Prof. Li says.


They get rid of mild on what, how and why personality characteristics change above time soon after a particular person normally takes on a supervisory role, and why the traits create after people consider on employment exactly where they experience greater calls for.


Prof. Li stated insights obtained from this investigate will assistance organizations much better manage occupation advancement and approach leadership succession — a essential concern for the sustainability of organisations.


“We advise organisations contemplate assigning personnel with casual management roles as a way to motivate them to produce administration abilities,” he suggests. “This may possibly aid them to establish the forms of behaviour and traits connected with conscientiousness and put together them for their potential tasks.”


“We also motivate organisations to broaden the scope and articles of coaching to include things like individuality growth and also concentration on extra holistic forms of management improvement.”


Individuality Shifts

One study consisted of 61 persons in the starting to be leaders group and 128 in the non-leaders team and used U.S. data chosen from three various time durations — to begin with between 1995 and 1996, then following 10 decades and eventually after 20 a long time. The other study comprised 342 persons in the leaders group and 675 in the non-leaders team, and made use of Australian facts chosen at 4-yr intervals from 2005, 2009 and 2012.


“Consistently, final results from each of the scientific studies showed that just after starting to be leaders, men and women increased their degrees of conscientiousness and turned more trustworthy, organised and effective,” Prof. Li states. “For them to carry out these leadership roles efficiently in excess of time may guide them to turn into so utilised to adopting this kind of behaviours that they become a pattern and then ingrained as temperament features.”


He claims the review could promote additional research into the strategy that “people are each producers and products and solutions of social systems”.


Earlier studies experienced examined influences of big existence events, these as nailing a very first job, relationship, and unemployment on personality advancement, and the influences of work gratification, characteristics, insecurity, profits and occupational status. But the most current examine extends this line of study by inspecting personality enhancement right after turning out to be a leader and, far more importantly, a improve in work requires, Prof. Li states. “Although individuality traits are comparatively steady, they were being also inclined to alter — even if the transformation is not normally spectacular.


“Not all persons respond to a modify in the same way and what we uncovered in this paper was a general development. Upcoming investigation can examine specific variances in the velocity, timing, and magnitude of character adjustments.”


The scientists highlighted two issues. To start with, previous investigate indicates that really conscientious team could not be in a position to adapt perfectly to new environments and will absence the necessary creativeness. Secondly, companies may perhaps have to have to provide coaching to leaders to assistance them balance the added benefits and feasible disadvantages — this sort of as a more unstable doing work natural environment and decreased adaptability — connected with boosts of conscientiousness.


The most recent research, as a result, has vital implications for workforce when taking care of their long run careers. “People require to weigh up the rewards and expenses of having on a administration job,” Prof. Li suggests.


“Although marketing will lead to them establishing better amounts of conscientiousness at get the job done over time, it can also see them come to be significantly less adaptable and artistic. Using on more career needs may perhaps also increase the levels of tension they experience and have a harmful result on their wellbeing.”



Li, W.-D., Li, S., Feng, J. (J.), Wang, M., Zhang, H., Frese, M., & Wu, C.-H. (2020). Can becoming a leader modify your temperament? An investigation with two longitudinal scientific studies from a role-dependent perspective. Journal of Used Psychology. Progress on the net publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000808


This article was very first released in the China Business Awareness (CBK) web page by CUHK Company College: https://bit.ly/38zsriM.

About CUHK Business Faculty

CUHK Enterprise Faculty comprises two faculties — Accountancy and Lodge and Tourism Management — and four departments — Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, Finance, Management and Advertising and marketing. Proven in Hong Kong in 1963, it is the first enterprise faculty to supply BBA, MBA and Government MBA programmes in the region. These days, the School offers 10 undergraduate programmes and 18 graduate programmes together with MBA, EMBA, Learn, MSc, MPhil and Ph.D.

In the Monetary Moments World wide MBA Position 2020, CUHK MBA is rated 50th. In FT‘s 2020 Executive MBA rating, CUHK EMBA is ranked 15th in the globe. CUHK Organization University has the most significant number of small business alumni (40,000+) amongst universities/business educational facilities in Hong Kong — lots of of whom are important organization leaders. The Faculty at the moment has additional than 4,800 undergraduate and postgraduate pupils and Professor Lin Zhou is the Dean of CUHK Enterprise Faculty.

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