March 04, 2010

Trait theory of Leadership

To coach the CEO in my PMA, I selected the Trait Theory. I know the website calls it "Personal Theory" which is divided in trait theory, leader motivation, cognitive factors, values and attitudes, cognitive differences and personality. But I found different journals which have different names for the theories, and I picked the one which describes "trait theory" as the main approach, and it is subdivided in other theories which can be linked to diverse approaches. This theory is focus on the attributes of a person, emphasizing its qualities which are critical in effective leadership. Literature shows that researchers have identified a number of characteristics which can be particularly related to good leaders, but these do not assure an effective role when leading a team solely because this person possesses the traits, there are many factors involved for this effectiveness. Northouse says that an individual with leadership traits who was leading in a specific situation might not be the same in a different scenario, circumstances are variable (a leader in the military service is different from a leader in business management). It is indispensable for a leader to first have a desire to lead (Nicholson, 2007). Therefore, this theory is only a part of leadership, as we have to consider situational factors where the leader interacts with different groups of people in different situations, and at this point we need to lie on the equation L=f(l,gm,s) (Dubrin, 1998), where each element is always dynamic.

DuBrin, A. J. (1998). Leadership: Research findings, practice and skills. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Northouse, P., (2007). Leadership theory and practice. (4th ed.). Sage Publications: Western Michigan University. 15-36.

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