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Personality, leadership and management styles in the national correctional setting.

As the population of female leaders in corrections has increased during the past few decades, it is becoming more and more crucial to understand the differences between male and female leadership characteristics. During fall 2014, the Orange County Corrections Department (OCCD) in Orlando, Fla., launched a national survey in order to identify any key differences between male and female personnel leadership and management qualities.

To clarify, there is no "correct" answer to any of the following inquiries. No personal style itself makes an individual any more qualified of a leader than any other style, nor does any certain leadership or management approach. The aim of OCCD's survey was to simply identify what qualities are currently and frequently found in the U.S. correctional system.

The survey consisted of questions that inquired about the recipient's gender demographic at his or her facility, as well as his or her personality, leadership and management styles. As the survey's purpose was to gain insight on leadership in the workplace, the assessment was only sent to individuals who at least held the position of a captain or the civilian equivalent. The survey was accessible from Oct. 1, 2014, to Nov. 21, 2014. The assessment was sent to moderate- and high-capacity adult detention facilities and state departments of correction nationwide.

Out of the 852 surveys that were distributed, 173 individuals completed the survey (20.31 percent), though not every individual answered each question. Table 1 displays the dispersal of responses by those who provided their gender. Of the 167 responses, the most replies came from the Midwest (34.13 percent), followed by the Southeast (24.55 percent), Northeast (20.96 percent), Southwest (11.98 percent) and Northwest (8.38 percent).

Personality Styles

According to R. Craig Hogan and David W. Champagne's Personal Style Inventory, there are four parallel dimensions that make up an individual's personality. (1) These dimensions consist of introversion and extroversion; intuition and sensing; thinking and feeling; and perceiving and judging. The personality inventory attempts to classify a user by his or her social preference, situational perceptions and decision-making styles and attitudes. Among both genders, 62.05 percent of users identified as introverted, while the remaining 37.95 percent identified as extroverted.

71.52 percent of participants identified as "sensing" leaders, while only 28.48 percent classified themselves as intuitive leaders. While sensing leaders perceive situations from concrete facts, intuitive ones perceive things from general theories. An astonishing 81.33 percent of the population acknowledged themselves as thinkers, where the remaining 18.67 percent defined themselves as feelers. Finally, 58.54 percent of users identified themselves as being perceivers, while 41.46 percent identified as judgers. Perceivers take time gathering facts before making a decision, while judgers typically have a quick, "just do it" decision-making style. Table 2 shows how each gender self-identified in each one of the four dimensional pairings.

Leadership Styles

The succeeding section of the survey dealt with classifying each leader's leadership style. Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey spell out four distinct types of leadership styles in their theory of situational leadership: directing, coaching, supporting and delegating. (2) Directing focuses on defining clear roles and tasks for employees and following them closely. Coaching is similar to directing in that it defines employee responsibilities, though it allows for more two-way communication between employees and supervisors. Supporting is a style focused on praising employees and recognizing their successes when they show the necessary commitment for success. Delegators are involved in decisions and problem solving, though they trust their employees to complete their tasks with little or no supervision or support. 62.05 percent of leaders considered themselves coaches, 28.92 percent recognized themselves as delegators, 6.02 percent were supporters and 3.01 percent were directors. Table 3 displays the categorization of those who supplied their leadership styles by gender.

Management Styles

The leadership survey concluded by asking participants about their personal management styles. While leadership style focuses on how leaders manage their employees, management style refers to how leaders achieve objectives and maintain department efficiency. The "task master" is concerned with production through the accomplishment of tasks. This style measures work objectives carefully by setting tight deadlines and monitoring staff closely. "Team leaders" seek to develop a high-performance team and consider productivity and human relationships equally important. The "balancing leader" compromises and bargains with employees to maintain a concern for both production and people. The "people person" is primarily concerned with maintaining a friendly and comfortable atmosphere for working relations between staff. The "by-the-book leader" has little concern for people and focuses on rules and regulations without referring to organizational or personal needs of his or her employees. 65.06 percent of users considered themselves team leaders, 21.69 percent were balancing leaders, 10.24 percent were people-person leaders, 2.41 percent were task masters and only 0.60 percent identified as by-the-book leaders. Table 4 shows the distribution of participants who provided their management styles by gender.


According to OCCD's survey, most leaders today would fit the description of introverts who sense, think and perceive their situational surroundings. These leaders focus on concrete facts and data, internal planning and logic-based reasoning, compared to feelings and personal theories. Nationwide, men and women overall tend to apply coaching and delegating leadership styles to their facilities, which are ideal for communication and trust between leaders and staff. They also generally take the team leader role in order to balance the importance of both facility efficiency and employee satisfaction. Styles focusing solely on department regulations (by-the-book management) or strict employee scrutiny (directing) are seldom used in today's correctional workplace. It is apparent that most leaders believe in the need to properly balance employee fulfillment and departmental needs at their facilities. Though women only account for about a third of the survey's participants, they utilize the same styles with almost the same frequencies as their male counterparts. Statistically speaking, the only significant differences in responses between men and women came from asking whether users identify as feeling or thinking individuals. From OCCD's research, individuals could infer that the rise of female leadership populations may not have to do with the exact manner in which he or she manages his or her facility, but rather the idea that leaders are simply utilizing strategies that will best suit their departments' needs.


(1) Hogan, R.C. and D.W. Champagne. 1977. Supervisor and management skills: A competency-based training program for middle managers of educational systems. Pittsburgh: Mimeo.

(2) Hersey, P. 1985. The situational leader. New York: Warner Books.

He fang Lin, PhD., is head statistician at the Orange County Corrections Department. Christopher Lawson is a research intern at the Orange County Corrections Department. Brandon Borodach works at the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange Center. Cornita A. Riley is chief of the Orange County Corrections Department.
Table 1. Demographics of Participants by Gender and Region of the

           Northeast     Northwest      Midwest

Female    12 (34.29%)   4 (28.57%)    15 (26.32%)
Male      23 (65.71%)   10 (71.43%)   42 (73.68%)
Overall   35 (20.96%)   14 (8.38%)    57 (34.13%)

           Southeast     Southwest       Total

Female    17 (41.46%)    5 (25.00%)    53 (31.74%)
Male      24 (58.54%)   15 (75.00%)   114 (68.26%)
Overall   41 (24.55%)   20 (11.98%)   167 (100.0%)

Table 2. Personal Style by Gender

Style            Female         Male         Overall

Introversion   29 (54.72%)   74 (65.49%)   103 (62.05%)
Extraversion   24 (45.28%)   39 (34.51%)    63 (37.95%)
Intuitive      17 (32.08%)   30 (26.79%)    47 (28.48%)
Sensing        36 (67.92%)   82 (73.21%)   118 (71.52%)
Feeling        15 (28.30%)   16 (14.16%)    31 (18.67%)
Thinking       38 (71.70%)   97 (85.84%)   135 (81.33%)
Judging        25 (48.08%)   43 (38.39%)    68 (41.46%)
Perceiving     27 (51.92%)   69 (61.61%)    96 (58.54%)

Table 3. "Which Leadership Style Do You Identify With?"

           Directing      Coaching     Supporting

Female     1 (1.88%)    36 (67.93%)    4 (7.55%)
Male       4 (3.54%)    67 (59.29%)    6 (5.31%)
Overall    5 (3.01%)    103 (62.05%)   10 (6.02%)

          Delegating       Total

Female    12 (22.64%)   53 (31.93%)
Male      36 (31.86%)   113 (68.07%)
Overall   48 (28.92%)   166 (100.0%)

Table 4. "Which Management Style Do You Identify With?"

           Task Master    Team Leader    Balancing Leader

Female      1 (1.89%)      38 (71.70%)      9 (16.98%)
Male        3 (2.65%)      70 (61.95%)     27 (23.89%)
Overall     4 (2.41%)     108 (65.06%)     36 (21.69%)

          People Person   By the Book         Total

Female      5 (9.43%)      0 (0.00%)        53 (31.93%)
Male       12 (10.62%)     1 (0.89%)       113 (68.07%)
Overall    17 (10.24%)     1 (0.60%)       166 (100.0%)
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Title Annotation:Research Notes
Author:Lin, Hefang; Lawson, Christopher; Borodach, Brandon; Riley, Comita A.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Jul 1, 2015
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