Leadership Trait Theory

The Leadership Trait Theory is based on the successful and unsuccessful characteristics that many leaders have. These traits are then used to predict the effectiveness of a leader. The traits that a potential leader has are compared to the proven traits of effectiveness to determine the likelihood of failure or success. It also leaves an important question: are great leaders born or can great leaders be made?

What Traits to Great Leaders Have?

There are certain that great leaders have which those who are not as successful do not have. These traits are not solely responsible for identifying whether a person can be a successful leader, but they do tend to show how much leadership potential any given person may have. Here are some of the core traits that have been identified in leaders who are typically successful.

1. Self-Confidence
This is defined as a leader’s ability to believe in their own ideas and efforts.

2. Emotional Maturity
Being adaptable and proactive instead of reactive helps leaders logically analyze changing circumstances.

3. Motivation
Great leaders have an internal desire to be in a leadership position so they can help others achieve goals that are shared.

4. Integrity
Great leaders must be trustworthy and reliable to lead others. This requires openness, transparency, and honesty in order to be successful.

There are some natural strengths of using the Leadership Trait theory to determine potential. It’s a great place to analyze someone skilled to see if they will be able to measure up to a task that is anticipated. It provides detailed knowledge and a complete understanding of the leadership element during the development process. It also gives leaders the chance to work towards skill enhancement because they can reasonably chart their process through comparison.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Leadership Trait Theory?

The Leadership Trait theory has one key disadvantage: it is completely subjective. What one analyst will believe makes a good leader will be what another analyst will believe makes a poor leader. Humans are complex creatures and have thousands of different traits that are apparent in unique combinations. This is what gives us our individual nature, but it also means that some traits may not be as advantageous for certain people, yet they can still provide quality leadership.

This model of leadership also tends to take into account physical traits, like weight or height, in the measurement process of leadership. Some jobs may require certain physical standards for success, but leadership comes in all different shapes and sizes. Anyone has the potential to be a leader if the situation develops in a way that a person’s leadership traits can solve.

It is important to remember that Leadership Trait theory is more of a measuring tool than an implementation tool. Leaders have natural talents and skills, but new skills can also be developed. This means that this theory is good for present evaluations, but that the future leadership skills and talents of any given person cannot be accurately predicted.

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