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The Big Five Personality Traits Model: Part 2

Pictured: Marshal V. I. Chuikov enjoying a game of chess in an undated photo featured in Ivan Paderin’s book The Earth Does Not Tolerate the Timid (Zemlya Ne Terpit Robkikh).

In a continuation of a previous blog post featuring the Big Five Personality Traits model developed by Smith, Goldberg, and McCrae and Costa, the final two traits of Agreeableness and Neuroticism are explored. Ratings are assigned based on anecdotal information gained from over two years of intense study of Marshal Chuikov’s life and work.

· Agreeableness – High to Moderate

· Neuroticism – Moderate

Agreeableness – High to Moderate

Agreeableness refers to the level of interest one person has for another and the amount of empathy and concern expressed. Chuikov certainly cared about his soldiers and demonstrated empathy for others throughout his career. There are numerous accounts of how the Commander lifted the morale of his troops in Stalingrad. Coercion alone would not have been effective—the beleaguered soldiers responded to a leader who inspired them in the trenches.

A moderate level of agreeableness alludes to a tendency to compete with others. Competition causes a person to be creative, and how a person deals with success and failure helps to shape their character. It also causes a person to persevere even in the most difficult challenges. Vasily Ivanovich grew up in a large family—he was 1 of 12 children and the 8th born—and no doubt there were some ways in which siblings competed with each other. He enjoyed the game of chess immensely, and finally bested an exhausted chess grandmaster after an extended period of gaming.

There is a tendency to perceive competitiveness as a negative trait. However, there are positive outcomes in being competitive. Case in point--Chuikov was highly driven and hated to lose, a personality trait that was crucial to holding Stalingrad in the face of annihilation.

Neuroticism – Moderate

Neuroticism is defined as having a mercurial temperament, and Marshal Chuikov has been described as someone who was occasionally moody with an explosive temper. However, his positive qualities far surpassed the negative ones and a rating of moderate for the trait of neuroticism seems appropriate. When paired appropriately with other leaders, Vasily Ivanovich was especially effective. For instance, his partnership with Marshal N. I. Krylov in Stalingrad and beyond was one of mutual benefit.

Krylov had a way of calming Chuikov in stressful situations, and the two men worked together seamlessly in the leadership of the 62nd Army. Their personalities were complementary, and when they combined their efforts, the strengths of both men were featured. Their professional and personal relationship spanned for many years afterward, and the two Marshals worked together in the Central Committee of the Communist Party and in defense of the Soviet Union—Krylov oversaw strategic missiles, and Chuikov directed the civil defense.


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