Four traits of great leadership

Trait Theory

This theory assumes that leaders are born, not made. This study focuses on personal traits or characteristics that distinguish the leaders from the followers and a successful leader from an unsuccessful leader. The traits are classified into five categories, namely

1.Intelligence and scholarship;
2.Physical traits like age, weight, strength.
3.Personality characterized by self-confidence, honesty, integrity, creativity and imitation.
4.Social status and experience.

Contingency Theories of Leadership:

There are several approaches to the study of leadership but the important among them are classified as:

1.Trait Theory
2.Behavioral Theory
3.Situational Theory.

Contingency approaches to leadership take the position that there can be many ways and not just one best way to lead in all situations .Effective leadership styles vary from situations to situation depending on several factors like personality predispositions of the leaders, the characteristics of the followers, the nature of task being done, and other situational factors.

Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s Leadership Pattern:

They used a contingency framework to discuss effective leadership patterns taking a situational approach. They suggested that the use of authority by the manager or the area of freedom given to the subordinates is a function of the:

1.Forces of the Manager
2.Forces in the subordinates ;and
3.Forces in the situations.

They concluded that a successful leader is one who can accurately assess the forces that determine what behaviors would be most appropriate in any given situation and is able to be flexible enough to adopt the most functional leadership.

Fiedler’s Contingency Theory

Fiedler another expert on HR developed a model to predict work group effectiveness by taking into consideration,

1.The leader’s style (task/relationship-oriented);
2.The leader-member relations;
3.Task-structure ;
4.The position power of the leader.

Certain combinations of the last three factors are considered to be situations where the leader finds him / her to be in either a high degree of control or low control over the situation.

Path Goal Theory of Leadership

This theory of leadership is developed by Martin Evans and Robert House using contingency approach based on the expectancy theory of motivation. This theory states that leaders can exercise four different kinds of styles, namely, directive (giving direction), supportive (friendly and approachable), participative and achievement-oriented (setting challenging goals) leadership. A good fit between leadership styles, situational factors will result in job satisfaction of subordinates who will accept and value the leader as a dispenser and will engage in motivated behavior.


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