In this special podcast, Melody Rawlings, Director of CAVO, is joined by Dr. George Manning, esteemed Professor of Psychology and Business at Northern Kentucky University. Dr. Manning is an internationally known speaker, consultant to business, industry, and government, and author of eleven books including highly acclaimed text, The Art of Leadership, coauthored with Dr. Kent Curtis, Professor Emeritus at NKU. Dr. Manning was Melody’s first college professor and they have remained good friends through the years. Melody remembers Dr. Manning’s Intro to Psychology class as not only informative but also fun and engaging! Listen as Dr. Manning shares his insight, knowledge, and experiences about the role of personality in leadership.
Welcome to the Center for the advancement of virtual organizations podcast, the leadership equation, the role of personality. I'm Melody Rawlings in the School of Business at North Central University. And today I'm joined by Dr. George Manning from Northern Kentucky University. Dr. Manning is a professor of psychology and business, and an internationally known speaker, author of 11 books and consultant to business, industry and government. This is a very special podcast for me, because Dr. Manning was my very first Professor when I was an undergraduate student. I took his intro to psychology course. And it was one of my very favorite classes, not only my first year of college, but I've always remembered what I learned in that course. And how Dr. Manning made learning fun. So here we are years later, we won't say how many recording a podcast together, Dr. Manning, welcome. And thank you so much for taking the time to come and chat with me about the role of personality in leadership.
Dr. Manning 1:05
Well, it's a big honor. For me and for Kent, that's not with us today on this, but he's with us in every way and probably listening as we talk. So we're happy to be here.
That's great. And I know the 20 22/7 edition of your book, The Art of leadership that you co authored with Dr. Kent Curtis, that you just mentioned, was recently released. And we will center our discussion on a chapter from that book. And by the way, Dr. Curtis was my doctoral chair and mentor. What a privilege it is to know both of these esteemed authors. And the book has meant so much to me through the years, and I've cited it often, it is popular text among students and practitioners alike. And I have always appreciated that it's written in a very relatable and easy to read format. So let's go ahead and jump into some questions that I would like to ask you, Dr. Manning. So in chapter 15, of the art of leadership, you discuss the role of personality and leadership. But as part of that discussion, you describe the importance of self concept. So would you share with with us what self concept means and how it affects our lives?
Dr. Manning 2:21
I think, after basic biology, the three most important things that will determine a human life are the people we're around. And the books we read, add our self concept. And if you think about it, maybe we've been around people who would tear us down, if they were given a chance or been around people who would lift us up and make our life great if given a chance. To me, it's a IQ test, surround yourself with people who will lift you up and make your life great at any point in time. And there's a thought, you know, a theory to test that at any point in time we become the average of our five best friends. So you for sure want to be around people who are positive versus negative, and healthy versus unhealthy. And be that way yourself, too. With regard to books, you know, if you want to know what's going to happen in a society, 10 years, 2030 years out, look at the books that the children are reading in their ages, especially 10 through 20. And it helps explain a lot. So the books we read, and by extension, other media, whether it's videos and films and games and such, help decide a human life. So the answer is to if it's garbage in, garbage out, and if it's good in and good out, be sure to expose oneself to right thinking and, and concepts of virtue, and concepts that are helpful to the person and society. And the third is to self concept. And if we look in the mirror and say, You know you got your problems, but you're okay. It's kind of reflective of a positive self concept. But if you're looking at the mirror and you say, you know, you're to this and not enough that and this, these thoughts can put you in a bad mood, which would result in bad behavior, which could reinforce the bad thoughts in a terrible spiral downward. So what we want to do is deal with reality but accentuate the positive especially with regard to our concept of ourselves. And, you know, I got a good example of that is In the book I talk about, there was a banker who would regularly drop a coin in a beggars cup. Unlike most people, the banker would insist on receiving one of the pencils that the beggar had with him. The banker would say you are a merchant, and I always expect to receive good value from the merchants with whom I do business. One day the beggar was gone. Some years later, the banker walked by a concession stand, there was a former beggar now a shopkeeper. The shopkeeper said, I always hope you might come by someday, you are largely responsible for me being here, you kept telling me that I was a merchant, I started thinking of myself that way. Instead of the beggar receiving gifts, I started selling pencils, lots of that, you gave me self respect, and caused me to look at myself differently. So our self concept that at any point in time is a unfolding thing. And we have developmental tasks of childhood and, and teens and young adulthood, middle adulthood, and later adulthood, and so on. And we're making progress toward achieving those developmental tasks, our concept of ourselves will be positive, and it would be helpful for dealing with the future challenges that we have. So self concept is a very important subject.
Such an interesting story about the banker, and I do remember the story from from the text and his self concept, how we see ourselves, you're right has such an impact and in basically every area of our life. And that also makes me think of my next question, which is about, you know, personality test. So most of us do love to take personality tests and kind of see where we fall on the scale. And, and I know that you and Dr. Curtis have included many fun and insightful assessments in each chapter of the book. And one that I found especially interesting was the interpersonal style questionnaire. So would you explain how our personality and self concept affects our interpersonal relationships? You kind of touched on that already. But would you go a little bit deeper into that? And also, how that style questionnaire can provide insight?
Dr. Manning 7:22
Yeah. Personnel personality has been of interest to people for a long time. I mean, in previous centuries, there's a person who had great impact in the 1800s. And that in the field of philosophy and theology and psychology, is a Danish fella, Soren Kierkegaard. And in terms of personality, he thought there were two kinds of people, drivers, and drifters on the one hand, and givers and takers on the other. And he thought, a person would be well served of a family, society would be well served if you had driving givers, not drifting takers, in terms of personalities. Another significant contributor on the subject of personality, a major one was Gordon allport, at Harvard, kind of the Dean of personality. And he thought that our language was the key. And there could be traits that would cluster together that can help explain people. And he also thought that there was there were levels of st the personality. And he coined the term Cardinal disposition and central tendencies and secondary traits. So like if a person had a cardinal disposition, it defined them. So Well, everybody know what they were talking about? You know, are they an artist? Are they a scientist? Are they a, Scrooge? Are they an optimist? It's a cardinal disposition that explains them. And also, there are essential tendencies that help explain a person or define a person, make us understand them. For examples, some people are more dominant and some people are more submissive. Some people are more extroverted and some people are more introverted. And some people love variety and some people love routine. And some people are high strung, and some people are calm, and so on, and ever what you are that helps explain your personality. And then the secondary traits were things that do tend to change. Not a lot, but change to a degree over time somebody might like outdoors, somebody might like books, somebody might like animals, somebody might like mechanics and cars. So that to helps explain why people do what they do and their personality. But there's, there's an interesting concept of style of interpersonal relations, that is very useful, especially well for understanding and dealing with all people, whether you're a leader or not a parent or not. But anyway, styles of interpersonal relations. And one way to look at it, there's the traditional, and there's the participative. And then there's the individualistic and just like, individuals are this way, whole societies are this way. And the old world cultures, old Germany, old England, old Spain, and most Asian cultures are more traditional Confucianism as a worldview as a traditional worldview. And the melting pot societies like the United States is is more participative. But 60% of Americans would be that way. And 20% would be the more traditional and 20% would be this third style, a better person relations more individualistic, and they tend to be found in the Mediterranean, the French, the Italians, the Greeks, the Greek civilization was a individualistic focus not on the group, but more on the individual.
Now, so if this is a good self report, exercise to understand and appreciate, even celebrate the differences, and the gifts that each could bring, it's good to have maybe some archetypes in history, and that make you proud to be a traditional, proud to be participative or proud to be individualistic. And plus, it's, it's fun to use words that make it fun. And so years ago and early 7071, two, I thought, well, what about chocolate, but now in strawberry, so the chocolate traditional, and the vanilla participated in the strawberry individualistic, and the students just love that. And anyway, a chocolate in history would be Moses, because his relationship to God is 10 commandments, those standards and structures that chocolates bring to the table, Moses a good example. And a woman in history who would be that way, definitely would have been Queen Victoria. A more participative human caring human serving, kind of style, better person relations of anala a great example would be Eleanor Roosevelt, people loving people serving, she would be a perfect example of a of that, but not a personality of a political figure who would be that way and everybody looks up to him is Benjamin Franklin. So if if he took the test in chapter 15, he would come out fidella and the strawberries the individual mystics who marched to the beat of their own drummer and, and they love freedom and independence center, quite creative. kind of go against the grain of tradition. The best example I can think of would be Joan, Joan of Arc, the patron saint of the French people. And of course, all Americans love this example of Henry David Thoreau, who would march to the beat of his own drummer well nobody's purely any of these but we tend to be like left handed right handed we tend to prefer one or the other and, and bring those contributions that these different styles spring if you think about trains for a second, who will tend to make your change run right or your or your chocolates with their high standards and sense of order and organization and desire for consistency and and and who would make you want to get on the train and take the trip and actually work there and such would be your analysis. And then who provides creativity from within and innovation and change from within they keep the trip interesting, this individualistic strawberries? Well, over the years, I'd share this exercise with people and maybe get a call and someone like General Dynamics they'd say, George, that's pretty good that chocolate or strawberry, but we've got a bunch of engineer and science people could we use solids, liquids and gases to make the same point? And I I'd say sure, because the point is devalue the differences as strikes and, and be wise and caring and flexible to meet the needs of the different kinds of people for their morale to be high, and their productivity to be high. Because these kinds of instruments don't measure right and wrong, and they don't measure important things such as commitment to the worker, or integrity or intelligence, they just measured this particular instrument in chapter 15 measure style of interpersonal relations. It's useful because whether at the workplace is face to face, or you know, even virtual, so to speak, you take the chocolate style, a better person relationship, they do want structure and routine and, and, and such, if they're at home with the pen they make, they have to create their own structure and routine and do's and don'ts and that's a little stressful for some, but they finally do it. And they're productive. They participators with the pandemic and having to be home a lot. just naturally loving people. If you're doing things virtually, with them, you need opportunities for, for them to interact and, and, and collaborate and, and meet their needs for that. And then the one that in this pandemic, that's type advantage, the BOCES, the individualistic because they don't mind all this independence and freedom.
They don't like a lot of close supervision anyway. But at any rate, say you're dealing with people, in person or online, just understand that they've got different orientations, chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, none of which are bad. And they all bring their gifts if like flowers in the garden, if their needs, if their needs are met. And so what the wonderful Professor Viktor Frankl in the 60s in Vienna, Austria, and he said, you know, the United States is lucky because it's got a statue of liberty on the East Coast, but what it needs the statue of responsibility on the west coast. And, and I thought Yes, and a statue of, of love in the middle, in Missouri or Kansas, in effect, we need all three styles of interpersonal relations to make the best product. There's different industries that attracted different styles. If you take law enforcement, for example, or, you know, nuclear power plants, for example, wherever there's safety involved, you'll tend to find more chocolates. And then wherever there's the people, relationship that matters so much like education and family practitioners, family doctors in search, you'll find more bananas. And wherever there's innovation, and new technology that's wanted, such as entertainment and fashion and such you'll find more strawberries, but the minute you get nothing but one thing there you miss what the others bring to the table. And and what everybody needs then is tolerance and appreciation. Even celebrating with the other spring. There was an example years ago people know that movie, Lawrence of Arabia, and it came out I guess, in that 6364 and it got shown and shown it kind of got worn out. Well, they had to re re make it reconstituted, so not good again. And so David lean the chocolate director and Omar Sharif, the vanilla actor, and Peter O'Toole, the strawberry actor had to work closely you know in the cutting room editing room and such for to make it good again and they did and because they valued the gifts that each other would bring. Another good example hub where this would fit. years ago, there was a conference devoted to aviation safety and the subject was communication place apart and the importance of personality in the cockpit in the control tower in the boardroom and and Eastern airline. It's time paid for it and FAA sponsored it and it was done at Embry riddle. And who was in the audience was the big plane captains and control tower supervisors and boardroom people. And so they would use it for years different airlines for making cockpits not deciding who was in the cockpit. But for cockpit, appreciation, so to speak, because you'd want variety. Just imagine if there was an emergency and they were both chocolates. There might not be enough creativity get outside the box. Or imagine if there was an emergency and they were both the Nellis they'd say, what do you want to do? And the other would say, I don't know, what do you want to do. And while they're talking, they might not be quick enough and flying to the mountain. And then the strawberries so individualistic and not rules and regs oriented, they probably created this. And they'd be looking for guidance. And they said, was there a book in here was there a box in here and, and, and so what you'd want is variety in the cockpit, but the minute you put variety in a family or in a board room, or in a controllata, everybody's got like a tolerance pill, and be appreciative, the edge and slide over and meet each other's different needs, if they truly are different leads.
And so I think that tests like that they're called typical performance versus maximum performance tests can be useful not to decide who to parole or who to marry. Because it's probably been no validity study done. And that would be an abuse of them. But to understand and appreciate differences. Just imagine, for example, you had three bosses, and you know, over time, and if they were this traditional chocolate, that person's strategic emphasis would be on stability and standards. If you had another boss, hurry, his emphasis would be on communication and teamwork, as a strategic emphasis for success. And if it was an individualistic kind of leader, it would be on innovation and change. Just like behavioral norms for the traditional boss, they would want rules and policies and procedures and interactive. But now the boss would want warmth and support as a behavioral norm, the team concept, and this strawberry individualistic boss would would feature in and want independent effort and creativity. And let's just talk about if you were over a chocolate, that employee would want clarity, and predictability and dependability. And if it's missing, they'd be around casually. And if you were over, participated, but another employee that say they like encouragement and involvement in the activities and to be appreciated, not as a tool interchangeable and replaceable, but appreciated as a person, and they had that need. And if you had strawberry or individualistic kind of a of employee reporting to you, they, they're driven by meaningful work and freedom. They don't like close supervision, they're like, you know, it's like turning off the water and turn off the sun though, they'll wither on the vine. So at any rate, personality is an important question in the leadership equation. And just like other chapters in the book, there's exercises and assessments for people to understand and use.
That's great information, I love that you talk about gifts that each one of us have, and that each one of us brings to the table and and now and I love the also the analogy of the flower garden so so everybody, with all the flowers in the garden all look the same. It just wouldn't. It just wouldn't be as beautiful or lovely as it is with all the different types of flowers. So So I love that analogy. And the whole chocolate vanilla strawberry that always stuck with me from when I learned that back when I had you in class and, and so I always remembered that and so it's it's a really neat way to think about how the differences it doesn't make anyone less than anyone else. They're all like you said they're all they're all good. They're theirs. They're not bad. It's just they're different. And so I think that you know, differences should be celebrated and recognized for the value the value they they Brain, for sure. So do you have any final thoughts or advice that you'd like to share with our listeners?
Dr. Manning 25:07
Well, it's good to have a, an analogy or two in mind. And you know, we've heard about America being a melting pot at it seems to me, worked more descriptive is where like a kaleidoscope. But we don't want to melt people down to be all the same, like you said, but we we want the differences to shine. But when they are of one, so to speak, as a kaleidoscope, it's, it's the more beautiful, the better. And it's like crayons in a box. You want all the different crayons for to make beautiful pictures and beautiful things. But we all have to live in the same box. So we really have to value the differences that people bring.
Yeah, absolutely. That's That's exactly right. So as long as we when we do that, though, you know, it helps us to put into context and help us to understand people better. So that because we all are different. So would you share with our listeners where they can purchase a copy of your book?
Dr. Manning 26:17
Well you know, how there's what they call trade books that and then there's what they call textbooks. And textbooks cost a fortune. So where they would find this is on McGraw hills website. But then time goes on. They would find it on Amazon. The previous editions are on Amazon. This one will the seventh edition will be on Amazon as well. And but that's not for now the right thing to do is check with McGraw Hill.
Sure. And so the again, the title of the book is the art of leadership by Dr. George Manning and Dr. Kent Curtis. Dr. Manning, thank you so much for joining us in support of the Center for the advancement of virtual organizations. We truly appreciate your insights. And we know our listeners will benefit from your experience. I really enjoyed being with you. And I'm a low tech person like me. We appreciate all the help that we can get from the high tech people because there's so much to be gained with these things like the internet, the computers and also I know your audience is oriented that way and you know, I'm thankful for it. But we were thankful to have you to join us so I appreciate it so much. Take care