Trait Theory

1041 Words5 Pages
In an increasingly politically correct, democratic society—where equality of treatment and equity of outcome oftentimes overshadow individual performance—trait theory of leadership has managed to survive. Instead of focusing on the context of a specific leadership situation or the subordinates in an organization, trait theory targets only the man or woman in charge. Essentially, trait theory suggests that potential leaders and great leaders who have already demonstrated success are best analyzed in a vacuum. While trait theory may have fallen in an out of favor over the past century, it does have certain advantages that are especially pertinent to those in the military. Before treading any further into its occupational applicability,…show more content…
My approach to selecting team members best aligns with trait theory. Although the theory generally leans toward identifying a leader for an organization, it is useful in sifting through potential employees (players) based on the needs of the mission. With respect to floor hockey, I was specifically looking for people who I believed demonstrated tenacity, endurance, and a “never say die,” optimistic attitude. Looking back on my selection criteria, the characteristics I screened for dovetail with a variety of the leader traits arrived at by Stogdill, Mann, Lord, DeVader, and Alliger to name a few. No doubt, measuring for these characteristics is a difficult task, but by sitting down face-to-face with potential players, I was able to make spontaneous judgments. While this approach—and trait theory in general—has inherent weaknesses, I attempted to play to the theory’s strength. As Northouse (2010) suggests, “Using trait information, managers can develop a deeper understanding of who [players] are and how they will affect others in the organization” (pg. 28). Just as I screened for certain traits to form the team, I analyzed myself at the trait level in order to find out where I could best serve the team. For example, I classify myself as having self-confidence, motivation, masculinity, and intelligence. Given
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