While describing the personality of Arnold, few words would be accurate enough to describe his personality. These words include imaginative, selfless, powerful, persistent etc. I believe that his personality characteristics fall into Openness to Experience of the big five of the taxonomy of the personality. It is because of the fact that considering his past, it is quite easy to assume that he had a career which is full of diverse experience. Right from bodybuilding to movies and then to Politics suggest that he has great penchant for having wider degree of interests and activities which ultimately shaped his career into different directions. I believe that his ability to be imaginative and selfless are two characteristics which also have shaped his leadership skills.
His personality trait of persistence as well as being imaginative has helped him to achieve what he is now. It is because of the fact that his past suggest that he rose from a very humble beginning and it was because of his quality of being imaginative and modeling successful persons persistently that he achieved what he desired for.
Arnold’s stint as governor of California can be considered as one of the successful periods in his whole career because probably for the first time he used his personal power and influence of his personality to achieve something more bigger not for himself but for a whole State itself by bringing in fundamental changes to the way the affairs of the State were being run. From the given facts in the case, it seems that Arnold likely to have Referent Power because of his attraction. (Rivera). His Hollywood background and his fame seem to be the reasons behind finding a strong degree of attachment and attraction from his followers in the State. Arnold also seems to be using Altruism as one of his most widely used influencing tactic because he has been successfully in carving out a personality for himself which is probably beyond any political association.
It seems that Arnold’s leadership is situational in nature because of his success in elections was based on a particular situation which was being faced by the State at that time and Arnold rose to the occasion to present a concrete and stable solution to economic problems of the State besides offering other means through which State was about to make a turnaround from its current situation. It seems that his whole focus seems to be on bringing in economic change which provides relief to the greater masses of the State. Apart from that it is also evident from the given facts that Arnold showed a particular characteristics of leadership like sorting out taxation issues, bringing administrative changes, going to the legislatures’ office suggest that he was by all means a situational leader who rose to address a particular situation and have been more or less successful in correcting very situation which was behind his success in elections as governor.
It seems that his leadership style is effective because he has been able to achieve the required degree of success however it may be difficult to clearly assess whether his style is going to remain effective or not because given facts in the case study suggest that his popularity ratings went down due to some of decisions which he took.
The basic premise behind the goal setting theory is the assumption that the human behavior is moderated by the goals and objectives. This is then based on the fact that goals provide an opportunity to get stimulated and focus on the particular goals and ambitions to achieve them. If we view the whole career of Arnold, we will witness that goal setting was one of the primary means through which he achieved his most outstanding objectives. He initially modeled one of the most successful bodybuilders of the world and then was finally able to overcome his role model also. After than his initial failure in getting the roles in the films and then subsequent success as one of the highest paid actors suggest that his objective of becoming one of the most successful actors in the world was based on the proper goal setting also.
Being an Austrian, it was the power of his goals that helped him to be the governor of US’s largest State and this was all based on setting the goal of becoming “somebody”.
Being charismatic may be a good sign of a leader however being over-charismatic may sometimes lead to the stigma and potentially create a void for other leadership qualities. (Sankar) The darker side of Arnold’s charisma is that fact he has probably not been able to carve out a personality of a better negotiator. As a leader, it is critical that you must develop a style which at least attempt to take care of all the stakeholders and arrive at a win win situation for all the concerned stakeholders. His inability of not being a good negotiator is definitely affecting his leadership and his position in the State. Though on many fronts he may be a successful leader however on the same hand he also lacks some general qualities of a good leader which are considered as essential and necessary for the success and failure of a leader. This is not only harming his relations with the others but also reducing his odds to get re-elected as popularity polls suggests his declining popularity and acceptability as a Governor of the State.
As discussed above that Arnold is probably exercising Referent Power which he is basically deriving from his past and being one of the most popular and highly paid actors of the world however, this does not mean necessarily that he emerges out as a successful leader also. Since, it is assumed that he is a situational leader therefore it may be possible that as the situation gets over, his popularity and ability to lead may diminish also over the period of time. His personality is largely based on achieving against all odds and he even succeeded in portraying himself as a leader who is above all however some of his actions suggest that he is a poor negotiator probably as he seems to place less emphasis on the odds, in favor of other parties also. Though he may be considered as right when he says that teacher’s compensation should be linked with the test scores however, it seems that he is unable to get his message across the board to all the stakeholders. It is critical that he must develop an ability to develop a personality of accepting and understanding others’ views also.
1. Rivera, Brandi. “Types of Power in Management.” 2006. http://www.associatedcontent.com. 24 October 2008 <http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/45505/types_of_power_in_management.html>.
2. Sankar, Y. “Character not charisma is the critical measure of leadership excellence.” Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies (2003): 1-10.