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The trait theory of leadership holds that great leaders share a set of traits or characteristics that set them apart from followers.

To put it another way, the trait theory of leadership assumes that leaders have some personal characteristics and traits that set them apart from non-leader.

Traits are distinguishing physical, psychological, and social characteristics that account for a person's behavior pattern.

Physical characteristics include age, appearance, energy, height and weight.

Psychological characteristics are adaptability, aggressiveness, dominance, emotional balance, creativity, extroversion, initiative, self-confidence and sense of humor.

Social characteristics are cooperativeness, administrative ability, and interpersonal; skills. 

Earlier versions of the trait theory held that leaders were born rather than made.As a result, the trait theory is also known as great man theory or great person theory.

Criticisms of the trait theory of leadership

1. Measurement issues: There is difficulty in achieving accurate and reliable measurement of traits that a person requires to be a good measurement

Indeed, trait theorists disagree about which traits are important for a good leader.

2. Not always correct: An effective leader may not possess all of the traits outlined by the leadership trait theory.

Leaders who possess all of the leadership traits outlined by the trait theory have also been shown to be ineffective at times..

Additionally, Some non-leaders sometimes possess these traits.

As a result, the basis of trait theory, that effective leaders have certain traits that distinguish them from other leaders, is not entirely correct.

3. Disregard for situational forces: Trait theory ignores the fact that leadership effectiveness is determined not only by the leaders' leadership capability, but also by situational and environmental forces such as the organization's resources.

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