Fiedler’ model is considered the first highly visible theory to present the contingency approach. It stated that effective groups depend on a proper match between a leader’s style of interacting with subordinates and the degree to which the situation gives control and influence to the leader (Fiedler, 1967). Fiedler argued that the leadership style could be indentified by
As a result of the various definitions of leadership which have evolved over the years, many approaches to leadership have progressed changing the focus and direction of leadership (Rost, 1991). Early theories such as the trait and behavioural approaches focus on identifying the qualities and characteristics presented by great leaders and what those great leaders did and how they acted in particular situations; which characterised them as a “successful” leader (Northouse, 2014; Zaccaro, 2007; Yukl, 2010). The trait theory identifies that if the leader is endowed with superior qualities that differentiate themselves from their followers, then it should be possible to identify these qualities from a leader (Bass and Stogdill, 1990). The trait theory explains leaderships in terms of personality and character of an individual. Bass and Stogdill (1990) posed two questions; “What traits distinguish leaders from their followers? What is the
According to Bass, 1990; Jago, 1982 the Trait approach was the first attempt to study leadership. In the start of 20 century leadership traits were studied in order to know that what made some people leaders. According to this approach it was supposed that people who have those leadership
This theory is based on the premise that there are certain personality characteristics that are essential for a person to possess in order to be a leader. The main emphasis is on what the person is in terms of a constellation of personality traits. This theory searches for that set of universal leadership traits that will assure success. Numerous traits have been suggested: courage, integrity, loyalty, charisma, ambition, intelligence, honesty, clairvoyance, persistence, arrogance, health, political skill, confidence and vision.
This leadership theory argues that there is no specific way of leading, rather a leadership style should be based on the situation. This means that when a person is set to lead, they will perform at maximum level, however as soon as they are taken out of their element this level of performance may fall. Also, a leadership style that worked well in one situation may not work well in another situation and so it’s based on how a leader adjust in various situations. “To a certain extent contingency leadership theories are an extension of the trait theory, in the sense that human traits are related to the situation in which the leaders exercise their leadership.” (leadership theories). I agree with this statement, since an individual in leadership mode would indeed possess better characteristic traits than when they are not leading. This theory also assumed that leaders are more likely to express their leadership when they feel that their followers will be
As was mentioned earlier, the trait theory contains highly subjective perspectives. It means that the perception of leadership traits is associated with the assessment of leadership. Barry et al (2003) conducted an
The trait approach is clearly flawed because it only takes into account one side of leadership; however, it does provide valuable insight on the leadership side. Trait theory provides an outline for feedback. Subordinates can quickly pick up on qualities that a leader does or does not have. This feedback can provide individuals with a good understanding of where they stand as a leader. Simple surveys such as the leadership trait questionnaire can be conducted to translate feedback into tangible evidence. I have distributed this questionnaire and collected results for myself to grasp my perceived leadership trait levels. For my example as a plebe, I had a clear perception of where the firstie stood as a leader. I unconsciously recognized many leadership traits without having a solid understanding of what I saw. This illustrates the nature of the approach. It identifies people who have demonstrated leadership traits and has no description for how a leader should act in an environment or situation. It is extremely easy to conceptualize but fails to take the leadership situation and context into account. The trait approach provides important concepts to better understand leadership but is clearly is not enough be used exclusively as a guiding theory.
If we focus on the idea that people can poses different personality and characteristics can be linked to successful leadership across various situation this would be defined as the trait theory of leadership. Some researcher believe that the ability to lead was something that a person was born with and not something that could be developed or learn. Many people still believe that leaders just have an intuition that makes them good at making decision and developing
19). Still a part of the Great Man Leadership era, these trait theories just went a step further in attempting to pinpoint exactly which traits of these “great men” were consistently associated with the leaders, in an effort to more clearly define what a great leader was. This was again a further attempt to be able to identify a leader early on and predict which individuals were born to become leaders. It is thought that a major flaw with these theories was the failure to account for external factors, such as the environment in which the individuals were brought up in, as well as the situations they experienced (Horner, 2007, p. 270). Still today we do continue to study the characteristics of leaders in order to better define and understand what makes someone a good leader.
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.
Some take conscious effort, patience and time. If I want to improve as a leader based on the trait theory then I need to exercise more tact in my day-to-day proceedings. To do so I need to implement the following strategy “Being a tactful leader is about your intention, the execution of a plan and the results.” (Debbie, 2011) Instead of quickly reacting to situations off the top of my head I need to have a clear intention of what I want to accomplish and formulate a plan of how I want to get there. This may be as simple as thinking more before I speak. Or it could be as detailed as planning for necessary interactions by deciding what result is desired and what might help motivate the other participant to get there
The Trait Approach was the 1st systematic attempt to study leadership. In the 20th century it was known as the “great man” theory. This approach takes a look at the leaders personal attributes such as but not limited to: motivation, energy, intuition, creativity, persuasiveness and foresight. Some of the traits that are essential to this list include: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability. Thus it focuses mainly on the leader and not on the followers or situations. The strengths of the Trait Approach includes: 1) it is intuitively appealing, 2) it has research to back it’s theory, 3) it highlights the leader, 4) it identifies what the traits of a leader should have and whether the traits we do
Trait Theory expresses the concept of inherent leadership qualities rather than something one learns. A few studies show leaders are exceptional people who are born with qualities to lead (Clawson, 2006; Stogdill, 1948). Great Man Theory stipulates that leadership is inherent and there is no amount of training or coaching that can help an individual acquire leadership qualities; one must have it in oneself (Stogdill, 1948). Effective leadership has a great quest for responsibility and task completion. Often leaders do not get frustrated easily but are vigorous in pursuing organizational goals, take risks, do not shy away from solving problems, and are driven to take initiative in social situations (Clawson, 2006; Stogdill, 1948).
With regard to the leadership trait theory, it was proposed in the attempt to understand and provide some explanations as to why some people make successful leaders while others fail to do so. This theory assumes that some
For centuries leaders have been analyzed in order to determine what the traits and characteristics of a successful leader are. Leadership, as defined by Koontz and Weihrich (2008) is “the art or a process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of group goals” (p. 311). Leadership plays an important role in employee’s participation, creativity, recruitment to an organization, their commitment to the organization, and productivity levels. Over the years, there have been a number of theories surrounding leadership such as the “Great Man” theory, which, according to Riaz and Haider (2010), “assumes that leaders are born and have innate qualities, therefore, leaders