Potential Leadership Abilities Of Organizational Members

1210 Words Nov 7th, 2015 5 Pages
One way to assess potential leadership abilities of organizational members is to consider the trait approach. The trait approach can be characterized as one that relies on the idea that effective leaders share common traits that support their talents to persuade or organize others toward a common idea. In the early 20th century, leadership was studied to determine what specific characteristics made a person a great leader. These ideas were developed into a theory called the “great man.” These traits were thought to be innate and only “great” people could possess them. In the 1940’s, Ralph Stodgill challenged this idea. Because of his research, the idea of the trait approach began to take on another meaning. It was determined that a person does not become a leader because he or she possesses certain traits. A leader with a specific set of traits in one situation may not be considered a leader in an altered situation. Because of this idea, Stodgill believed that the success of a leader does not necessarily depend on the specific traits, but on the relationships between the leader and followers in any given situation (Northouse, 2013). As it pertains to the trait approach, if one holds the view that personal attributes are fixed and cannot be developed, then a discussion on the five major leadership traits must occur. Of all the research on the trait approach by various individuals such as Stodgill, Mann, and Zocarro, five major traits seemed to emerge. They are…
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