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American Politics | International Relations | Leadership Studies | Other Psychology | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Personality and Social Contexts


This working paper presents a personality-based analysis of newly elected U.S. president Donald J. Trump’s likely leadership style as president, inferred from the results of an indirect personality assessment conducted 2015–2016 from the conceptual perspective of personologist Theodore Millon.

Trump’s predominant personality patterns were found to be Ambitious/exploitative (a measure of narcissism) and Outgoing/impulsive, infused with secondary features of the Dominant/controlling pattern and supplemented by a Dauntless/adventurous tendency.

Ambitious individuals are bold, competitive, and self-assured; they easily assume leadership roles, expect others to recognize their special qualities, and often act as though entitled. Outgoing individuals are dramatic attention‑getters who thrive on being the center of social events, go out of their way to be popular with others, have confidence in their social abilities, tend to be impulsive and undisciplined, and become easily bored — especially when faced with repetitive or mundane tasks. Dominant individuals enjoy the power to direct others and to evoke obedience and respect; they are tough and unsentimental and often make effective leaders. Dauntless individuals tend to flout tradition, dislike following routine, sometimes act impulsively and irresponsibly, and are inclined to elaborate on or shade the truth and skirt the law.

Trump’s core personality-based leadership traits may be summarized as follows: an active-positive presidential character with mobilization — the ability to arouse, engage, and direct the public — as his key leadership asset; an overall leadership style that is distinctively charismatic and nondeliberative; and a high-dominance, extraverted, influential foreign policy orientation.


The research was conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics (USPP), a collaborative faculty–student research program in the psychology of politics at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Collegeville and St. Joseph, Minnesota, directed by Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who specializes in the psychological assessment of presidential candidates and world leaders.

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