Traits, Behaviors, and Relationships

Topics: Leadership, Management Pages: 28 (6349 words) Published: August 3, 2012

The Trait Approach
Behavior Approaches
Individualized Leadership
In the Lead
Jeff Immelt, General Electric
Stephen McDonnell, Applegate Farms
Colonel Joe D. Dowdy and Major General James Mattis, United States Marine Corps TruServe and North Jackson Elementary School
University Public Schools
Leader’s Self-Insight
Rate Your Self-Confidence
What’s Your Leadership Orientation?
Your “LMX” Relationship
Leader’s Bookshelf
Know-How: The 8 Skills That Separate People Who Perform From Those Who Don’t Leadership at Work
Your Ideal Leader Traits
Leadership Development: Cases for Analysis
Consolidated Products
D. L. Woodside, Sunshine Snacks


The point of this chapter is to understand the importance of traits and behaviors in the development of leadership theory and research. Traits include self-confidence, honesty, and drive. A large number of personal traits and abilities distinguish successful leaders from nonleaders, but traits themselves are not sufficient to guarantee effective leadership. The behavior approach explored autocratic versus democratic leadership, consideration versus initiating structure, employee-centered versus job-centered leadership, and concern for people versus concern for production. The theme of people versus tasks runs through this research, suggesting these are fundamental behaviors through which leaders meet followers’ needs. There has been some disagreement in the research about whether a specific leader is either people- or task-oriented or whether one can be both. Today, the consensus is that leaders can achieve a “high-high” leadership style.

Another approach is the dyad between a leader and each follower. Followers have different relationships with the leader, and the ability of the leader to develop a positive relationship with each subordinate contributes to team performance. The leader-member exchange theory says that high-quality relationships have a positive outcome for leaders, followers, work units, and the organization. Leaders can attempt to build individualized relationships with each subordinate as a way to meet needs for both consideration and structure.

The historical development of leadership theory presented in this chapter introduces some important ideas about leadership. While certain personal traits and abilities indicate a greater likelihood for success in a leadership role, they are not in themselves sufficient to guarantee effective leadership. Rather, behaviors are equally significant, as outlined by the research at several universities. Therefore, the style of leadership demonstrated by an individual greatly determines the outcome of the leadership endeavor. Often, a combination of styles is most effective. To understand the effects of leadership upon outcomes, the specific relationship behavior between a leader and each follower is also an important consideration.

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
Identify personal traits and characteristics that are associated with effective leaders. •Recognize autocratic versus democratic leadership behavior and the impact of each. •Know the distinction between people-

oriented and task-oriented leadership behavior and when each should be used. •Understand how the theory of individualized leadership has broadened the understanding of relationships between leaders and followers. •Recognize how to build partnerships for greater effectiveness.


Traits: the distinguishing personal characteristics of a leader, such as intelligence, honesty, self-confidence, and appearance.

Great Man approach: a leadership perspective that sought to identify the inherited traits leaders possessed that distinguished them from people who were not leaders.

Self-confidence: assurance in one’s own judgments,...
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