Trait Approach to Studing Leadership Essay

738 Words Aug 13th, 2012 3 Pages
Trait Approach to Studying Leadership
Sheila Pounder
May 30, 2012
John Healy

Trait Approach to Studying Leadership
The trait approach to studying leadership uses the assumption that some people are natural leaders with certain attributes that pertains to their personality, motives, values, and skills (Yuki, p. 13, 2010). The studies sort to identify what are the specific traits of leadership. Examples of some of the leadership traits the study found are high intelligence and action-oriented judgment, task competence, achievement-oriented, the ability to motivate people, courage, and resolution driven. This approach was one of the earliest processes used to identify what makes a great leader great. The studies conducted
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13, 2010). There appears that there are some traits directly related to how a leader behaves and how effective he will be in leadership. For example, a leader with the trait of “action-oriented judgment” may exhibit behavior that encourage open dialogue with followers and lead to his being seen as an accessible leader willing to listen and consider others opinions and recommendations. A second strength of this approach is that it does produce a list of leadership traits, although not an exalted list that may be helpful by providing a blueprint or inventory to use when recruiting leaders or grooming junior workers (followers) for leadership positions (Travis, 1999-2012). Northhouse (2010) stated “the trait approach meets society’s perception that leaders are a special kind of people—people with gifts that can do extraordinary things. The trait approach is consistent with this perception because it is built on the premise that leaders are different, and their difference resides in the special traits they possess. People have a need to see their leaders as gifted people, and the trait approach fulfills this need.” (p. 25). An example of an organization that used this type of trait approach to identify leadership characteristics is the military. According to "Official Website For The ASVAB" (2012), “over the course of World War I, some 1.5 million

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