Freud's Personality Factors essay


This article explores Freud's personality factors in particular the leader personality factors. It describes the theories within model of leader individuality; it examines the major contribution in the field of leadership, the development of the modern theories and ideas about psychology of leader within Freud's doctrine.

Keywords: Freud's personality factors, psychology of the leadership.

Freud's Personality Factors

A complex of Freud's doctrines with a significant impact on the whole social thought became one of the key ideological, theoretical and methodological foundations of Western sociology of the classical period. Austrian physician and psychologist, Professor Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) originally created a new psychotherapeutic treatment for neuro-psychic disorders - psychoanalysis.

The most essential part of psychoanalytic sociology of Freud is the doctrine about man, which can be presented as a complex of concepts about the nature and essence of the man, his mind, formation, development and structure of personality, the causes and mechanisms of activity and behavior in different social communities. Therefore, we want to use this doctrine to evaluate critically personal leadership model and examine current theories about leadership models within the doctrine of Freud.

There are several theories of leadership that focus on both personal characteristics of the leader and the situation in which he operates. Trait theory is based on the idea of F. Galton of hereditary nature of leadership. A leader, according to this theory, cannot be made, he must be born. To be a leader, one must have a certain complex of personality traits or a combination of psychological traits such as intelligence, energy, will, courage, initiative, the ability to anticipate, the ability to attract attention, self-confidence, sociability, etc. However, this theory has not become widespread as there were no features of a leader with which all researchers would agree (Galton, 1869).

Situational leadership theories represent leadership as a result of the meeting of subject, time, place and circumstances. To become a political leader, according to these theories, some psychological and professional qualities are necessary. Theory emphasizes the relativity of features which are inherent to the leader depending on the situation, which is the major factor.

David C. Korten analyzed modified the situational theory of leadership (by E. Hartli) and made a number of assumptions: 1) if the person has become a leader in one situation, it is possible that he could be a leader in another one; 2) the leaders in one situation are often considered as the leaders in other situations; 3) authority gained by a leader in one situation forces his selection as a leader in other situations; 4) only a man with strong motivation can be a leader (Korten, 2003).

The situational and personal theory of Maier identifies five factors that must be considered dealing with the phenomenon of leadership: 1) features of the leader as a person; 2) the motivation of the leader; 3) image of the leader and the motivation of his followers, which encourages them to follow him; 4) the personal characteristics of the leader as a social person; 5) public and legitimate options, a situation in which a leader and his followers operate (Maier, 1963).

The model of effective leadership of F. Fiedler bases on the integration of influence of leader, his personality traits and situational variables, particularly, it bases on the relationship between leader and followers. In this theory, there are two styles of leadership:

1) instrumental leadership focused on the task. The leader is more effective when the situation is either extremely favorable or very unfavorable to him; 2) emotional leadership focused on interpersonal relationships. The leader is more effective in situations either moderately favorable or moderately unfavorable (Fiedler, 1967).

Psychologists Dore Butler and Florence Geis investigated Lewin's leadership styles and identified differences in the evaluation of men and women who are leaders. If a woman has stereotypical 'masculine' style of management if she is a typical 'boss' and focuses on the task, she is evaluated more negatively than male leader with the same style (Lewin, Llippit, White, 1939).

Humanistic theory is based on the fact that the leader must transform the organization so every person would have the freedom to implement their own goals and needs, and at the same time, would have a possibility to contribute to the goals and needs of the organization. Motivational theory states that the effectiveness of a leader depends on its ability to influence on the motivation of followers, their productive capacity and the satisfaction experienced in the process of common work. The theory of followers considers the leader as a person who expresses feelings, interests and needs of specific social groups. Leader plays a passive role; he is only a tool of social group which chooses as a leader the person who satisfies it. The possibikity to be a leader does not depend on specific features of individuals, but it depends on the features of his followers.

Another complex of theories of leadership exists, it is developing now, but we move on to examination of the structure of the leader as a person, according to Freud. To do so, the structural theory of personality must be considered

The Structural Theory of Personality

Freud's representation of the conflict of human nature were developed in the structural theory of personality. According to this theory, a person is a contradictory unity of the three interacting areas: "Id", "Ego" and "Superego" ("Ideal-I", "Ego' and 'Ideal"), the content and effect of which reflects its essence and diversity. According Freud, personality structure has a certain conjugation with the psyche. Dominant sphere of personality - "Id" was seemed by Freud as a repository of the unconscious, irrational reactions and impulses, biological in nature and psychobiological by its manifestation. "Id" - is an unorganized area of personality, which in relation to the other parts of it still stands as the single psychological strength as its internal and external manifestations are regulated and controlled by a single principle, the principle of pleasure (pleasure).

Freud believed that "Id" is an uncompromising struggle of Eros and Thanatos, which determines the nature of this sphere. "Id" is the source and provider of energy for other aspects of individuality and forming the driving force of personality, 'Id' expresses, as a rule, the desires and instincts.

The second area of personality - "I" of 'Ego', is derived from the Oedipus complex, and separating from the "Id", show wisdom and prudence in some extent. In general, the "Ego" appears as an organized origin of personality which is governed by the reality principle, which allows for it to control the blind, irrational impulses of "Id" and put them in a certain conformity with the requirements of the external world.

The third area of personality - "Superego" ("Ideal-I", "ego ideal"), according to Freud, arises on the basis of "Ego" and acts as a cultural product, which is made from a complex of conscience, moral traits and behaviors that control the actions of the "Ego" and order for 'Ego' models of moral role and activities in the context of higher social feelings.

The individual spheres are in constant interaction and have a significant effect on the functional activity of each other.

Constant confrontation of these three spheres of personality is reduced, is significantly mitigated by the special "defense mechanisms", formed as a result of human evolution. The most important of unconscious "defense mechanisms" ensuring the integrity and stability of the well-known personality in the context of the conflict of contradictory impulses and attitudes, is "sublimation" (the process of transformation and redirection of sexual energy in different forms which can be accepted by individuals and society), "displacement" (unconscious removal by a person motives of his actions from the scope of consciousness), "regression" (transition to a more primitive level of thinking and behavior), "projection" (unconscious transference, "attribution" of own feelings, beliefs, desires, thoughts, impulses, and often "shameful" , unconscious desires to others), "rationalization" (unconscious desire of the individual to the rational justification of his ideas and behavior, even in cases when they are irrational), "reaction formation" (change of unacceptable for the consciousness trends to a more acceptable or the opposite), "fixation behavior "(a tendency of "Ego" to the preservation of proven, effective models of behavior, change of which can lead to a pathological obsessive recurrence), etc.

So the strong traits of leader should be analyzed within these doctrines.

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The Structure of the Leader as a Person

So the problem of compensation of real or imagined defects of personality appears. According to this concept, the person to compensate defects of personality, and, particularly, low self-esteem, tends to power as a tool of compensation. Thus, self-esteem, not being adequate, can stimulate a person's behavior to achieve policy-relevant targets - power, control, etc.

Thus, attention should be focused on the development of the notion of man about himself, the degree of development and the quality of self-evaluation and its implementation in political behavior. Some people have an unusually strong necessity of power or other personal values such as love, respect, which perform the role of compensation tools for the injured self-esteem. Personal "values" or these needs can be seen as ego-motives as they are often a part of ego - system of personality.

Leader in every situation does not behave in accordance with his own self-concept (with few exceptions). His behavior depends on his own awareness or his comparison with people he interacts with.

Then we obtain that 'Ego' - concept, which has several aspects. The most significant of them is the image of "Ego", within self-esteem and social orientation of the leader. Self-esteem of the political leader can be expressed as the ratio of achievements to claims.

Under the social orientation sense of autonomy can be considered in the opposite of sense of depending from other people, the necessity of self-determination. But autonomy of self - esteem is finally defined in adolescent age and preferred orientation on the assessment of important other people or on own self-esteem is an indicator of persistent individual differences that characterize the holistic style of leader personality.

The image of 'Ego' of leader corresponds to the total amount of thoughts, perception, and feelings in relation to himself. These thoughts, perception, and feelings can be more or less clear seen in 'Ego' image, in which 'Ego' is divided into six different parts, closely interacting. The six 'Ego' are the following: physical 'Ego', sexual 'Ego', family 'Ego', social 'Ego', psychological 'Ego', 'Ego' which overcomes conflicts. The value and importance of subjective qualities and their reflections in the image and self-esteem of 'Ego' can be disguised by the protective mechanisms. Physical 'Ego' is the perception of the leader about his health, physical strength or weakness. For example, political leader should be healthy enough that it does not interfere his activity.

About sexual 'Ego', that is the perception of leader about his claims and opportunities in this area. But the researchers point the lack of statistics about interdependence of sexual preference or sexual behavior and leadership abilities. We doubt that pervert or exhibitionist may become the president of a modern developed state. First of all such inclinations would close his way to politics, regardless of the leadership. Despite of this in history a lot of famous tyrants were characterized by different pathological sexuality and various perversions.

Family 'Ego' is a very important element of leader identity. It is well known from psychoanalysis about the enormous influence of the parental relationship on adult behavior. For example, some political leaders overcome early injuries and conflicts; others cannot do it and transfer frustration from their childhood to the environment in the country and in the world.

For people who hold a high position, it is very important to have the ability to work cooperatively with others. Submission of this for a political leader policy is reflected in social 'Ego'. Leader must learn how to negotiate and how to encourage his colleagues to show their best qualities. He should be able to use interpersonal skills to work effectively with different and sometimes hostile groups of people, with the leaders of other countries.

Psychological 'Ego' can be characterized as understanding of the inner world, fantasies, dreams, desires, illusions, fears and conflicts - the most important aspect of the life of a political leader. Freud said that psychopathology was the fate of an ordinary life. As ordinary people, leaders do not have innate immunity to neurotic conflicts, psychological problems, and sometimes more serious forms of psychopathology, such as psychosis.

'Ego' which overcomes conflicts is a leader's perception of his ability to overcome the conflicts and to find creative new solutions against old problems. A leader must have sufficient knowledge and intelligence to be able to perceive the problem. He should be fairly confident in making decisions, to be able to convey this confidence to others. Another aspect of 'Ego' which overcomes conflicts is a leader's awareness of his ability to cope with stress related to his role and activities in the post, for example, the head of state. Stress can lead to severe symptoms that seriously limit the intellectual and behavioral features of a leader. It can increase the stiffness of the cognitive and mental processes in historically difficult times, result a reduction of flexibility and self-control, especially when they are necessary.

The complexity of the 'Ego'- concept refers to the number of issues perceived by a leader or as the degree of differentiation of the 'Ego'- concept. In the early stages of human consciousness, a person separates himself from others. Further, 'Ego' in his mind is divided into any number of parts. Subsequently, a person has a tendency to estimate himself in comparison with others. Through a process of social comparison borders of social consideration of 'Ego' as a starting point are determined. For example, political leaders with complex 'Ego'-concept tend to seek more information before making a decision and more likely perceive information from other people than political leaders with simple 'Ego'-concept. Political leaders with complex 'Ego'-concept tend to assimilate more easily as a positive and negative information and thus respond a situation on the basis of feedback

At the same time, the higher the self-esteem of politicians, the worse they react to the situation, the lower their reactivity. Leaders with high self-esteem are less dependent on external circumstances, they have more stable internal standards on which they base their self-esteem.

Leaders with low self esteem are more dependent on others and thus more reactive. They are more sensitive to feedback and change their self-image, depending on the approval or disapproval of others.

The leaders with the high self-esteem overestimate own quality policy as the policy of a commander or a chief, they often do not notice the general and foreign and domestic reaction to their course on the international arena. They revel by their own success (even if it is mythical). There we can talk about the abuse of feedback between the effects of political action and the subject. Almost no consequences are able to force such a leader to lose courage or to think about what consequences can be caused by his actions.

Recognizing the individual's participation in the activities of various masses and the presence of his various loyalties and identifications within the behavior of his leaders, Freud was forced to note that the individual "Superego" can be configured with various prototypes. But, recognizing the uniqueness of individuals, he still insisted on the fact that within the mass, either a member of it or the individual is undergoing profound changes. Its effectiveness is extremely increased; his intellectual activity is significantly reduced. The both processes take place, obviously, in the direction of a comparison with other individuals that contain the mass.

Within Freudian interpretation of sociology, the problem of the conflict of being a person in a culture exists that is generally performed in the form of conflict of leader personality and culture.

In studying the problem of conflict of leader personality and culture various concepts can be used.

Noting his dissatisfaction of a certain culture, Freud proposed his own definition of this phenomenon: "Human culture' - by this I mean all that increases human life above animal conditions and differs human life from the life of animals. I neglect the differences between culture and civilization; thus human culture, as we know, shows its two sides. On one hand, it covers all the skills acquired by people... to meet human needs, on the other hand, it includes all the institutions that are needed to streamline relations between people, and especially for the distribution of accessible goods. "

As a conclusion, Freud's theory of personality and supplementary teaching concepts and doctrines discussed above, despite the presence of dogmatic psychosexualization and many speculative interpretations were a step forward in relation to the existing doctrines of leadership. The establishment of a new view on the leader as a time-varying, structured, contradictory dynamic formation was fundamentally important achievement of these theories.

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