Main Focus of Traits Theories of Leadership

The trait theory of leadership states that there are certain identifiable qualities or characteristics that are unique to leaders and that good leader possess such qualities to some extent. The trait theories identifiable a long list of qualities which leader posses. The following list is only illustrative and not exhaustive. 
  • Intelligence: Good leaders should be intelligent enough to understand the context and content of their position and function, to group the dynamics of environmental variables, both internal and external, which affect their activities and to have a goods perspective of the present and future dimensions of their organization. 
  • Personality: This is not to be confused with physical appearance, though it is important. More than outward appearance, certain inner-personality qualities mark out goods leaders from others. Such qualities include emotional stability and maturity. Self-confidence, decisiveness, strong drive, optimum, purposefulness, discipline, skill in getting along with others, integrity in character and a tendency to be cooperative. These qualities tend to help leaders to organize and co-ordinate human effort, to guide and motivate people in talk situations, to make sound decisions, to achieve concrete results and goals, to organizational goals. 
  • Other Qualities: A part from intelligence and personality attributes, good leaders also possess a few qualities like open mindedness, scientific spirit, social sensitively, ability to communicate, objectivity, an abiding interest in people, pragmatism and a sense of realism.

Main Focus of Behavioral Theories of Leadership  
According to the behavioral theories of leadership, leadership can be described in terms of what leaders do rather than what they are. In other words, leadership can be identified by reference to their behavior in relation to the followers. Behavioral theories have been presented mostly on the basis of research studies.

Behavioral theories differ from the trait theories in at least two ways. First, actual leader behaviors, not the personal traits are the main focus. Second, while most trait theories endeavored to distinguish between leader and non leaders, behavioral theories attempted to determine how different kinds of behavior affect the performance and satisfaction of the followers.

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