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This article is number 2 in our new Improve Productivity series. Article 1 is 3 Communication Practices to Escape Productivity TAR

Leader Personality Improves Productivity

An executive client asked a great question this week regarding his impact on corporate culture and employee productivity. After his question, I recalled a previous consulting contract, where I assisted a client in bringing on a new executive to a family-run business. Specifically, the impact the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has on corporate culture and employee productivity.


CEO Personality

Interestingly, studies suggest CEO personality traits impact culture and productivity more than their personal and corporate values do, as indicated by Hultman and Gellerman (Giberson et al., 2009). Specifically, they noted CEO emotional stability and agreeableness were closely related and positively impacted the employee’s view of the Clan culture and negatively impacted the opinion of the Market and Adhocracy cultures (Giberson et al., 2009). For a brief explanation and overview of the Competing Values Framework (CVF) and descriptions of corporate culture types, please refer to my introductory article covering the CFV. Additionally, high agreeableness fosters cultures built on cohesion and increasing morale  (Giberson et al., 2009). While low agreeableness promotes performance and competitiveness (Giberson et al., 2009). The CEO’s personality traits should be a driving consideration for selection.


Smart Selection

Selecting the right CEO supports organizational culture change. In practice, this requires the board or business owner to choose the desired culture and then locate a CEO with the personality traits necessary to foster that culture change. In Vietnam, hospitals actively use the Organization Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI) to determine the desired culture and select the new CEO to match that culture (Nguyen et al., 2018). This selection process lowered CEO turnover and increased employee satisfaction as well as hastened desired culture change (Nguyen et al., 2018). Additionally, determining the prospective CEO’s communication pattern provides insight into the preferred culture (Abugre, 2013). Perhaps most interestingly to me, selecting a CEO based on the desired corporate culture may shorten acclimation time instead of choosing a CEO and hoping they acclimate the organization.



By taking the simple steps of choosing the desired culture based on the OCAI, then selecting a CEO with personality traits matching the OCAI results does wonders for organizational culture and employee productivity improvement. The same is also true if you are a first-line supervisor seeking new ways to improve your team. I suggest you take the OCAI to determine how your personality traits match up to the culture your group prefers. Once identified, you can work on changing some of your personality traits to better foster cultural and productivity improvement. If you would like to take the first step, contact SHVA leadership either by selecting one of our pre-designed leadership development packages or emailing us at [email protected].


You can better face your Leadership Challenge by joining SHVA’s leadership development engagements.

For curiosity regarding the Efficient Reading Course, go to SHVA’s Career Coaching page to learn more and register for the class!

If you are looking to improve your job or find a new one, SHVA’s Career Coaching can help!

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Additional Reading

For more information on organizational culture, its impacts, and how to change it, we recommend the following books:

Balancing Individual and Organizational Values: Walking the Tightrope to Success

Organizational Culture and Leadership

Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture – Based on the Competing Values Framework 3rd Ed


Abugre, J. B. (2013). Current and Desired Employee Communication Patterns in Sub-Saharan Africa: Empirical Evidence on Four Ghanaian Organizations. Journal of African business, 33-46.

Giberson, T. R., Resick, C. J., Dickson, M. W., Mitchelson, J. K., Randall, K. R., & Clark, M. A. (2009). Leadership and organizational culture: Linking CEO characteristics to cultural values. Journal of Business and Psychology, 123-137.

Nguyen, H. V., Nguyen, A. T., Nguyen, T. T., Nguyen, H. T., Bui, H. T., Tran, P. T., & Nguyen, A. L. (2018). Individual and occupational differences in perceived organisational culture of a central hospital in vietnam. BioMed Research International.