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Old April 26th, 2016, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Trait Theory of Leadership

The trait model of leadership is based on the characteristics of many leaders - both successful and unsuccessful - and is used to predict leadership effectiveness.

Scholars take it to identify physiological (appearance, height, and weight), demographic (age, education and socioeconomic background), personality, self-confidence, and aggressiveness), intellective (intelligence, decisiveness, judgment, and knowledge), task-related (achievement drive, initiative, and persistence), and social characteristics (sociability and cooperativeness) with leader emergence and leader effectiveness.

Successful leaders definitely have interests, abilities, and personality traits that are different from those of the less effective leaders.

Among the core traits identified are:

Achievement drive: High level of effort, high levels of ambition, energy and initiative
Leadership motivation: an intense desire to lead others to reach shared goals

Honesty and integrity: trustworthy, reliable, and open

Self-confidence: Belief in one’s self, ideas, and ability

Cognitive ability: Capable of exercising good judgment, strong analytical abilities, and conceptually skilled

Knowledge of business: Knowledge of industry and other technical matters

Traits Are Associated With Leadership

Age, physique, and appearance





Emotional control

Social skills



Task competence

Physical vitality


Strong skills for dealing with people

An ability to motivate others





Need for achievement



Understanding the needs of others

Strengths/Advantages of Trait Theory

It is naturally pleasing theory.

It is valid as lot of research has validated the foundation and basis of the theory.

It serves as a yardstick against which the leadership traits of an individual can be assessed.

It gives a detailed knowledge and understanding of the leader element in the leadership process.

Limitations of the Trait Theory

There is bound to be some subjective judgment in determining who is regarded as a ‘good’ or ‘successful’ leader

The list of possible traits tends to be very long. More than 100 different traits of successful leaders in various leadership positions have been identified.

There is also a disagreement over which traits are the most important for an effective leader

The model attempts to relate physical traits such as, height and weight, to effective leadership.

The theory is very complex
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