Trait Theory: Are Leaders Born Or Made?

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Are leaders born or made? Psychologists and Theorists have been trying to answer this question for centuries. Leadership refers to the ability to motivate, inspire and guide others in an organization or a group to a goal or vision (Comstock, 2014). A leader’s success is contingent on clarifying, developing, and cultivating a vision or goal. There are several theories, styles and endless definitions of leadership. This paper will discuss different leadership theories and provide evidence that leaders are made not born.
Trait Theory
Leadership research began with the study of human traits and its correlation with effective leadership. Trait theory asserts “an individual’s personality is made up of a broad spectrum of established characteristics,
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Fielder’s research found two categories of leaders, task-oriented, and people- oriented. Task-oriented leaders work with group members to plan, organize, and coordinate to achieve a goal or vision. People-oriented leaders are empathic, supportive and reward followers for accomplishments. Task-oriented leaders were more effective in highly favorable or highly unfavorable conditions, but people-oriented leaders were effective in moderately favorable or unfavorable conditions (Hoffman-Miller, 2013). Fiedler’s theory failed to prove the effect a leader’s situational environment had on leadership skills but still provides some understanding of…show more content…
In 1985, Bernard Bass revised the theory by using a questionnaire called the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), to test participates, it measured the leader’s abilities and performance. (Flynn, 2013). Transactional leaders have a traditional approach to leadership, and it requires the leader to provide a reward or punishment. The leader uses three reward styles to get a result including contingent reward, active management by expectation, and passive management (Flynn, 2013). Contingent leaders directly tie reward or punishment to the group’s performance. Active management leaders set expectations based on the situation and observe, punish, or reward the group. Passive management leaders are not actively engaged. Transactional leadership styles are like that of authoritarian leadership. Furthermore, transactional leadership has been found to be useful in structured

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