MLK: The Trait Theory Of Leadership

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The trait theory of leadership was first discovered in mid 1800s. It is closely tied to the great man theory whereby leaders are thought to be born and only those who were born with correct traits and quality are suited to leadership (Lee, 2014). It is a line of research which examine which characteristics we should pursue to lead effectively. The most common traits to leaders are intelligence, determination, integrity, self-confidence and sociability. However, different study shows that there are other traits such as knowledge, responsibility, emotional control, courage and trustworthiness to be linked to effective leaders. Not only that, it is seen as a benchmark for what to be expected in a leader.
This theory can be seen in MLK by his persistent
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It is somewhat overwhelming because there are more than a dozen of traits but not one is ideal for all types of situations. Since there are many possible traits, there is a disagreement on which traits are more important to be an effective leader. Also, this theory assumes people are born with that special trait, therefore people without it should give up (Lee, 2014).
Besides that, MLK is an incredible transformational leader. Like its name, transformational leadership is about transforming and making an impact on an issue or person (Spahr, 2013). This theory assumes that the leaders can influence followers to accomplish more than what is needed for the good of the company. The leaders influence followers by their values, goals, emotions, ethics and standards. Unlike transactional leadership which promises rewards to achieve desired performance, transformational leadership motivates and inspires followers to solve any
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As a transformational leader, he sets a vision for himself and the people to work towards to. His “I Have A Dream” shed a light on the importance of civil rights in America. Also, he walks the talk instead of only talking the talk. For example, he stuck to his principles by not engaging in any violent actions towards his oppressors (Toren, 2014). Since MLK follow through what he promises, his message was even more creditable to his endless supporters, which made him such an inspirational leader (Rosebush, 2015). Most importantly, a transformational leader has authenticity. MLK was authentic in committing to his ultimate mission. He did not do it for any personal gain. His integrity inspires his followers to take action. For instance, during tough times, MLK would encourage people through his speeches. That very act of recognising someone’s pain and effort have the power to motivate them to do better and contribute
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