January 16, 2009

Trait Approach

The study of Leadership traits has been developed over the past 100 years.

A lot of people have tried to give leadership a definition, the same, a lot of people try to define the traits of a successful leader.

Like the amount of definitionq available for leadership, different experts also have their different views of the leadership traits.

Using the table from the book Leadership: Theory and Practice, which the author adapted from "The base of Social Power"

Stogdill (1948)

Mann (1959)

Stogdill (1974)

Lord, Devader and Alliger (1986)

Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991)

Intelligence

Alertness

Insight

Responsibility

Initiative

Persistence

Self-Confidence

Sociability

Intelligence

Masculinity

Adjustment

Dominance

Extroversion

Conservatism

 

Achievement

Persistence

Insight

Initiative

Self-confidence

Responsibility

Cooperativeness

Tolerance

Influence

Sociability

Intelligence

Masculinity

Dominance

Drive

Motivation

Integrity

Confidence

Cognitive ability

Task knowledge

The trait approach for leadership is not to argue if a leader is born or made, because different situations may require different traits for a leader to be effective. therefore, a leader might be born with a high IQ and highly motivated might just never get the chance to lead, or in some situation, a good leader doesn't necessary need to be motivated.

Using the Trait approach, it would be useful for an organisation if they want to develop somebody as a leader, and also, for those individuals who want to be a leader in the future, they might be able to learn what they can do towards their journey to being a successful leader.

However, Traits are not easy to cultivate, some of them might be easier to develop, but some might be very difficult, because it is difficult to learn to be somebody else, right?

People talk about using personality assessment instruments to find if the potential employee is fit for the company. To be honest, I dont really think it works well, definitely not in a accurate way, simply because we can pretend to be somebody else.

These days, most companies use this kind of personality test when they are recruiting. I was a fresh graduate last year and I have experienced this a few times. Reasoning tests, you can't lie, it is something you know or not know. But personality tests, give you a situation and ask you to give a choice of A B C or D to see what type of person you are, really, we know what they looking for, for that half hour test, we can pretend to be an effective leader.

To understand the Trait Approach and make it really work, some knowledge in the psychology area would be useful....


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