Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Leadership

Trait Theory of Leadership

   Posted On :  18.05.2018 07:44 am

Trait theory seeks to determine universal personal characteristics of effective leaders.

Trait Theory of Leadership
Trait theory seeks to determine universal personal characteristics of effective leaders. Numerous physical, mental, and personality traits were researched during the period from 1930 to 1950. Leaders were characterized by a wide variety of traits ranging all the way from neatness to nobility. In the late 1940s, Ralph Stogdill reported on the basis of at least fifteen studies that leaders possess intelligence, scholarship, dependability in exercising responsibilities, activity and social participation and socio-economic status. He also found traits such as sociability, persistence, initiative, knowing how to get things done, self confidence, alertness, insight, cooperativeness, popularity, adaptability and verbal facility in ten leadership studies. Persons who are leaders are presumed to display better judgment and engage themselves in social activities. The study of the lives of successful leaders reveals that they possessed many of these traits.
Trait studies have not produced clear results because they do not consider the whole leadership environment. Personal traits are only a part of the whole environment. Though a certain trait exists, it will not become active until a certain situation calls for it. Thus, there is no sure connection between traits and leadership acts. Leadership is always related to a particular situation. A person may prove successful in one situation due to some traits, but may fail in another situation.
Another shortcoming of the trait theory is the failure of its supporters to formulate a common list of traits found in all successful leaders. For instance, good health is desirable in many leadership situations, but there are also successful leaders in other situations that do not enjoy good health. There are so many exceptions to any general statement about leadership traits. The theory also fails to mention the traits which are necessary to maintain leadership. Measurement of a trait usually occurs after a person becomes a leader and it is difficult to suggest the traits which are pre- requisites of successful leader.


Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Leadership
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