ADM 612 - Leadership Lecture 2 – Trait Theory
Description • Trait approach one of the first attempts to systematically study leadership. • Great Man Theory • Major review by Stodgill in 1948: No consistent set of traits differentiated leaders from non-leaders across a variety of situations.
Description • More modern research: personality traits linked to individual’s perception of leadership.
Major Leadership Traits: Summary • Intelligence. • Intelligence or intellectual ability is positively related to leadership. • Leader’s intelligence should not vary much from subordinates.
Major Leadership Traits: Summary • Self-confidence. • Self-confidence is the ability to be certain about one’s competencies and skills. • A sense of self-esteem and self-assurance and the belief that one can make a difference.
Major Leadership Traits: Summary • Determination. • Determination refers to the desire to get the job done and includes such characteristics as initiative, persistence, dominance, and drive. • Individuals with determination are willing to assert themselves, they are proactive, and they have the capacity to persevere in the face of obstacles.
Major Leadership Traits: Summary • Integrity. • The quality of honesty and trustworthiness. • Individuals who adhere to a strong set of principles and take responsibility for their actions are exhibiting integrity.
Major Leadership Traits: Summary • Sociability. • A leader’s inclination to seek out pleasant social relationships. • Leaders who show sociability are friendly, outgoing, courteous, tactful, and diplomatic. • Sensitive to other’s needs. • Good interpersonal skills, create cooperative relationships with followers. • Not universal, but important.
How Does the Trait Approach Work? • Trait approach focuses exclusively on the leader and not the situation or followers. • Trait approach assumes that having a leader with a certain set of traits is crucial to effective leadership.
How Does the Trait Approach Work? • Organizations will work better if the people in managerial positions have designated leadership profiles. • Also used for personal awareness and development.
Strengths • Intuitively appealing. • A century of research to back it up. • Highlights the leader component of the leadership process. • Provides benchmarks of what we need to look for.
Criticisms • Failure to produce a definitive list. • Fails to take situations into account. • Highly subjective determinations of “most important leadership traits.” Methodologically suspect.
Criticisms • Fails to link traits to leadership outcomes. • Not very useful for training and development.
Application • Can be applied to all individuals at all levels and all types of organizations. • Can be used by managers to assess standing in organization and what they need to do to strengthen their position. • Check congruence of personal characteristics and organizational needs.