Trait Theory

1199 Words5 Pages
Leadership literature review confirms that the concept of leadership embraces series of evolving of thought from the oldest great man and trait theories to the recent -transformational leadership. While early theories tend to focus upon the characteristics and behaviors of successful leaders, later theories begin to consider the role of followers and the contextual nature of leadership in an organization.
2.2.1. Great Man Theory of Leadership
Great man theory, as the earliest approach to studying leadership, asserts that the capacity for leadership is inherent in that great leaders are born, not made. This theory often describes leaders as heroic, mythic and destined to rise to leadership when needed. The term great man was used because, at
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Trait Theory of Leadership
Trait theorists argued that leaders are naturally born with distinct traits. They associated leadership with certain personal qualities and characteristics that distinguished leaders from followers. Three kinds of traits were mostly studied in the early leadership researches: physical factors (height, appearance, age, etc.), aspects of personality (self-esteem, dominance, emotional stability, conservatism, etc.), and aptitudes (general intelligence, fluency of speech, creativity, etc), assuming that the differential traits could be identified by empirical research (Stogdill, 1948:
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From the late 1940s onwards, the focus of leadership research shifted from leader traits to leader behavior. Researchers were particularly interested in identifying leader behaviors that enhanced the effectiveness of subordinates. With that shift in research, the former common opinion that leaders with the right qualities have to be selected changed into the opinion that, knowing the effective leadership behaviors, leaders can be trained to become successful (Bryman, 1992). Mainly two research groups coined the behavior approach - the Ohio and the Michigan studies. Accordingly, the view that leaders are naturally born is shifted to the notion that leaders can learn and change their behavior to emulate effective leaders (Benson, 2008). Yukl, Gordon, and Taber (2002) identified three behavior categories that depict leaders: task behavior, relations behaviors, and change behaviors. Leaders who display task behaviors develop schedules, provide short-term planning, and monitor unit activities. Relations-oriented leaders demonstrate certain levels of effort to establish and maintain employee relationships (Kilburn & Gates, 2010). Change-oriented leaders encourage creative ideas by seeking improvements (Yukl et al.,
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