How useful is the Trait Approach to Leadership Essay

2128 Words Jul 10th, 2015 9 Pages
How useful is the Trait Approach to Leadership

1. Introduction
Leadership defined as position (power and responsibility relation) or person (personality traits) or result (outcomes) or process (Grint, 2010). Person-based leadership resonates with the traditional traits approach. Trait theory, as the name gives away, is an approach to identify human personality and measure patterns of thoughts and behaviours from individual to individual. Lord et al (1986) indicated that personality traits show relatively strong relations with individuals’ perceptions of leadership.
Therefore how a leader’s character or personality influences leadership. This paper will critically evaluate how useful is the trait approach to leadership. It begins with
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Trait approach has a long history of research covering more than a century; no other leadership theory can make this claim of credibility.

Moreover, the trait approach gives a deeper understanding of the leader element in the leadership process by emphasising exclusively on the leader, (Gore et al, 2011). The trait theory does not offer hypotheses about the role of situational variance or characteristic of the followers. Instead, this approach provide information about leaders, and about which traits cause which behaviours and that certain set of traits are central to the leadership process and play an indispensible part of effective leadership.

Furthermore, the trait leadership approach serves as a benchmark for which individuals tend to measure their own leadership qualities, and also for the organisations to identifying suitable and competent leaders (Northouse, 2013). This approach makes trait assessments valuable for assessing a potential leader's strengths and weaknesses, and trait measures are a good way to understand the behaviour of leaders; how they fit into the organisational hierarchy and a possible future course of action.

4. Limitations / Criticisms of the Trait Approach

The trait approach has some undeniable limitations. One criticism is that traits do a poor job at predicting leaders’ behaviours in every…