The Trait Approach
The trait approach was one of the first systematic attempts to study leadership, according to Peter Northouse (2004). This approach has been studied for many decades, and scholars have identified five major leadership traits in the past 50 years: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability. In addition, in recent years, there has been a renewed interest in understanding the relationship between personality traits and leadership. The Big Five Personality Factors that have recently emerged over the past 25 years are neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. I think that some of the leadership traits such as intelligence are inborn. A natural leader takes advantage to become a great leader. The trait approach is a very good instrument for a leader to identify his/her strengths and weaknesses and make improvement. This approach also gives a leader insight on traits that s/he should have. A leader can learn a lot about him/herself through some leadership personality test and what leadership skills s/he has with tools that have been developed throughout the 20th century. In addition, more importantly, the trait approach may help work teams or organizations to select the right candidate as a leader. Some personality assessment instruments such as Leadership Trait Questionnaire were designed to measure personal characteristics of leadership. Organizations could use the results to select an effective leader who fit organizations’ attitude and requirement. Nevertheless, there is some downside of the trait approach. First of all, I think that different situations need different type of leadership traits. However, some leadership studies identified new sets of traits which may not be necessary for all situations. Second, the findings of each leadership study are subjective; they are biased by the author’s experience and his interpretations of the situations in which the...
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