A Survey of Personality Trait Perceptions in Leadership Promotions in the Greek Armed Forces

John A. Paravantis, Nikoletta V. Kontoulis, Ioanna Iliadi


Army personnel perceives character and personality traits as playing an important role in promoting high ranking officers to leaders. Whether the different categories of army personnel perceive the relative importance of such traits similarly is a question of significance for the morale, cohesiveness and efficiency of the armed forces. This paper addresses the documented scarcity of empirical research on such perceptions. The research literature on leadership traits was reviewed with emphasis on the armed and security forces. An online questionnaire was designed and 2702 responses of Greek armed and security forces personnel were collected, including 947 officers, 534 non-commissioned officers, 531 veterans, 81 security forces personnel, and 609 civil personnel. An 86.3% of respondents felt that leadership promotions failed to consider appropriate character and personality traits such as crisis management, integrity, perception, meritocracy, strategic proficiency, bluntness, and impartiality. Cooperation with the political leadership was considered unduly important. Cluster Analysis confirmed by Discriminant Analysis rendered four clusters: politically non-aligned; religious; authority-oriented conformist; and dissatisfied nonconformist. To maintain the morale and cohesiveness of military personnel, it was advised that the promotion to leaders of the armed and security forces be enriched with distilled elements of wisdom from the perceptions of all personnel clusters.

Keywords: Leadership, armed forces, personality traits, Cluster Analysis

DOI: 10.7176/JRDM/63-04

Publication date:March 31st 2020

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