Trait Approach: Strengths and Weaknesses


The trait approach suggests that individual personalities are composed by broad dispositions. In terms of leadership, the approach supports that people who are leaders share certain sociological, physical and psychological which contribute to their effectiveness. Some of the sociological personalities are education level and class. Examples of physical personalities include height and colour.


The approach has been under use, research and testing since 1920s. It has shown truth that possessing certain traits shapes an individual role as a leader. Certain traits predict leadership success. Companies can use the approach to get potential role players for different leadership positions in the company as well as grooming young workers for top leadership positions. The traits approach also provides a deep understanding and knowledge about what different people do to become successful in their fields of leadership.


Although the approach has its strengths, some of the weaknesses are that the approach mostly focuses on the individual leader while ignoring the need of the led or even other situational needs and dynamics. Also, it focuses on physical personalities which may not even affect the qualities of a good leader. Height or colour may never be associated with leadership success. Trait approach also identify those with the potential for a leadership position, it fails to accommodate that having the said personalities is not a direct guarantee for an individual to succeed in that particular position. Not all traits identified in a leader may be of help or importance in the execution of a specific task or in all tasks. Gill also argued that the amount of a certain trait may be controversial. Consider that in most cases, the psychological personality of a leader should be above average, but they may not still be the best in that field.

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