Trait and Behavioral Leadership Theories

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Trait and Behavioral Leadership theories
Heather Brown, Kerry Degnan, Chando Newman, Dawn Stewart,
May 14, 2012
Rynette Upson

There are several theories on leadership that have contributed to our knowledge about the various ways leaders successfully lead their followers and how they manage in the workplace. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast two of these theories-Trait and Behavioral. Trait Leadership Theory believes leaders are born with an inherent ability to lead, case in point, “research into twins who were separated at birth along with new sciences such as Behavioral Genetics have shown that far more is inherited than was previously supposed” (Straker. 1974). This notion supports the idea of people possessing leadership traits. Contrary to this idea, behaviorist believe, leadership is learning from observing leaders and mimicking their behaviors. If this idea is so, twins separated at birth probably will exhibit different behaviors, and if one of them studies a leader he or she probably will leadership qualities. It is obvious that both theories have very different views on how people get leadership qualities. However, this paper will cover both the differences and similarities they share. Some of the findings may be surprising to those who have never studied the two theories, and for those who have, it should provide more insight and a better understanding of them.

Despite the many differences Trait and Behavioral Leadership Theories have, there are some commonalities they share. In relation to what it takes to be a leader, the trait theory lists many qualities or what they call traits found in leaders regardless of...
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