Selden, Mary Elizabeth
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Leadership is a social process, dependent on perceptions. Personality, perceptions of behavior, implicit leadership theories, and legitimacy contribute to whether a potential leader is seen as a leader. Few studies have assessed how self-perceptions of leader influence others’ perceptions. In Study 1, self-perceptions of leadership were predicted by feeling similar to an “ideal” leader, and personality traits such as extraversion, disagreeableness, conscientiousness, and interpersonal control. In Study 2, I further tested the role of self-perceptions in a group setting where the leader’s source of authority differed: the leader for each group was either chosen at random by the experimenter (externally appointed) or emerged via group consensus (internally emerging). Participants interacted during two group tasks and rated each other’s and their own leadership. The results show that the relationship between self-perceptions of leadership and others’ perceptions of leadership is moderated by the individual’s source of authority (i.e., whether external or internal).
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