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Trait Theory of Leadership

Trait Theory of Leadership

The model of leadership trait is based on the traits of many leaders, both unsuccessful and successful, and can be used to determine the effectiveness of leadership. The lists of traits are then compared with those of leaders who are likely to succeed, in order to determine their probability for success, or even failure.

Researchers using the trait approach sought to find out about physical (appearance size, height, and weight) and demographic (age education, socioeconomic background) as well as personality, self-confidence and aggressiveness) as well as intellectual (intelligence determination, decisiveness, judgement and understanding) and tasks-related (achievement energy, initiative and perseverance) as well as social traits (sociability and cooperativeness) in relation to leader emergence and effectiveness of the leader.

The most successful leaders have passions in their abilities, interests, and characteristics that differ from those of less successful leaders. Through a variety of studies conducted over the past thirty years, the list of the most important traits of successful leaders has been discovered. These characteristics aren’t responsible only for determining who will be an effective in their role, are more of a precondition that give people the leadership potential.

Arlin Jordin Washington

Significant traits

Some of the most significant traits that were identified include:

Achievement drive: A high level of commitment with high ambition levels Energy and determination

Motivation for leadership: an intense desire to inspire others to achieve the same goals.

Honesty and Integrity: trustworthy, reliable and transparent

Self-confidence: trust, thoughts and capabilities

Cognitive capability: Capable of exercising an excellent judgment, having excellent analytical skills and conceptually proficient

Business-related knowledge: Knowledge of industry and other technical aspects

Emotional maturity: well adjusted, does not suffer from any severe mental issues.

Arlin Jordin Washington

Other: charisma, creativity and the ability to adapt

Strengths/Advantages of Trait Theory:

It is a naturally appealing theory.

So, it is true because a large amount of research has confirm the foundations and the basis of the theory.

It acts as a benchmark to measure the leadership qualities of a person can be measure.

It provides a thorough understanding of and understanding of the role of the leader.


Limitations of The Trait Theory

There will always be a subjective judgement when determining who is considered as a “good” or a successful leader.

The list of potential traits is often very extensive. Over 100 distinct traits that make successful leaders in various leadership roles have recognize. These descriptions are just generalizations.

There is also disagreement on which qualities are most crucial for an effective leader

The model aims to link physical characteristics like the height and weight to leadership effectiveness. Many of these variables are link to specific situations. For instance, a minimum weight and height may require to complete the duties efficiently when in a position of leadership in the military. In business organizations they do not have these criteria for being a good leader. The theory is extremely complex.

Arlin Jordin Washington

Implications of Trait Theory

The trait theory provides constructive insight into leadership. It is applicable to individuals at all levels of any type of business. Managers can make use of the information from the theory to assess their place in the company and determine the ways. In which their position could be improve within the company. They will have a deeper knowledge of their own identity and how they influence others within the company. This approach makes the leader more aware of the strengths and weakness of each individual, and consequently, they are aware of how they can improve their leadership skills.


The trait approach leads to the question of whether leaders are create. If leadership is a science or an art. These aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive options. Leadership can be a thing of an art but it requires the application of particular abilities and methods. While there are certain intrinsic qualities that make someone successful as a leader, these abilities naturally require development and encouragement. One is not born with confidence in themselves. Self-confidence develops, honesty and integrity are the result of a personal decision. Thus motivation to be a leader comes from within oneself and the understanding of business is attainable. Although cognitive abilities have its roots in genetics but it is still a skill that must become a part of the person. These ingredients cannot be obtain overnight.