What is Leadership Theory?
What makes a leader effective? Is his success due to his behavior or personality or the situation he works or a combination of all these? The researchers have carried out studies but could not find a satisfactory answer but yes they gave some theories of leadership. The prominent theories are Trait theory, behavior theory, situational theory, and system theory. Each theory has its own advantage and disadvantage.
In this post, we will discuss Trait Theory in depth.
All About Trait Theory
- The trait theory suggests that a person who has traits relevant to leadership emerges as an effective leader.
- A trait is defined as the relatively enduring quality of an individual.
- The traits theory seeks to determine ‘what makes a successful leader from his own personal characteristic.
- A study was conducted in which eminent leaders were selected and their characteristics were studied and it was believed that a person possessing certain traits or characteristics can become a successful leader.
- The traits can be classified into:
- Innate qualities are also called God-gifted qualities.
- Acquirable qualities as the name suggest which are acquired and enhanced through various process.
- Let's discuss them one by one.
(a) Innate Qualities
- These qualities are possessed by individuals since birth.
- These qualities are natural and because of such qualities we say “leaders are born not made.
- It's tough for individuals to acquire such qualities.
The following are the major innate qualities:-
- These features are determined by heredity factors.
- They talk about the physical appearance of an individual.
- Physical characteristics determine personality formation which is an important factor in determining leadership success.
- A higher level of intelligence is required for leadership.
- Intelligence is generally expressed in terms of mental ability.
- Intelligence to a great extent is a natural quality in individuals.
(b) Acquirable Qualities
- These qualities can be acquired and increased through various processes.
- These traits can be increased through training programs, socialization, and the identification process
- The following are the major acquirable qualities:-
- A higher level of emotional stability is required for a leader.
- He should be self-confident, free from bias, consistent in action, and should refrain from anger.
- He should be well adjusted and should not possess anti-social attitudes.
- He should have adequate knowledge of how to deal with human beings.
- He should have intimate knowledge of people and their relationship with each other.
- The knowledge of how human being behaves and how they react to various situation is meaningful to a leader.
- It refers to observing and understanding things from others’ points of view.
- When one is empathetic, he knows what makes the other fellow think as they do.
- It implies whatever a leader does should be based on facts and information.
- He must be objective and should not permit himself to get emotionally involved.
Motivating and Communicative Skills:-
- Not only a leader should be self-motivated but he has the requisite qualities to motivate his followers.
- The leader can play a major role in stimulating the inner drives of his followers.
- A leader uses communication skillfully for persuasive, informative, and stimulating purposes.
Hindrances in the applicability of Traits:-
- Leadership is a process of influence reflected in the leader's behavior and not in his traits.
- A person has specific traits but sometimes they fail to be an effective leader.
- The situational variables are not incorporated in trait theory.
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