This paper presents the results of an indirect assessment of the personality of U.S. president Barack Obama, from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon.
Information concerning Obama was collected from biographical sources and media reports and synthesized into a personality profile using the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria (MIDC), which yields 34 normal and maladaptive personality classifications congruent with Axis II of DSM–IV.
The personality profile yielded by the MIDC was analyzed on the basis of interpretive guidelines provided in the MIDC and Millon Index of Personality Styles manuals. Obama’s primary personality patterns were found to be Ambitious/confident and Dominant/asserting, with secondary features of the Accommodating/cooperative and Conscientious/respectful patterns. The combination of Ambitious and Accommodating patterns in Obama’s profile suggests a confident conciliator personality composite.
Leaders matching the confident conciliator personality prototype, though self-assured and assertive, are characteristically gracious, considerate, and benevolent. Confident conciliators are charming and agreeable, with a special talent for settling differences; they favor mediation and compromise over force or coercion as a strategy for resolving conflict and are driven primarily by a need for achievement. Relative to other chief executives in similar positions, they are likely to be less driven by power, with a stronger need for affiliation.
The major implication of the study is that it offers an empirically based personological framework for anticipating Obama’s leadership style as president.
Copyright © 2010 by Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics / Aubrey Immelman
Immelman, A. (2008, July). The political personality of U.S. president Barack Obama. Paper presented at the 33rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, San Francisco, CA, July 7-10, 2010. Retrieved from Digital Commons website: http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/25/