1. Do you consider trait theories provide an important insight into leadership?
Although this subject has been studied for years, in my opinion trait theories do provide an insight to the leadership issues, but of course, not the greatest. According to the trait theory, the broad dispositions compose the personality. The main focus of the trait theory in comparison to other theories is the differences between individual personalities. The leader has a unique combination of different traits and this theory helps us to understand what actually the leader consists of.
For example, some studies of the trait theory demonstrate why the person is effective in a certain top position and give an analysis of his/her effective performance.
2. As a researcher how would you establish if those traits are fundamental to the effectiveness of the leader?
Basic traits that are fundamental for effectiveness of a leader are: emotional stability, defensiveness, integrity, good technical skills and specific knowledge, good stress tolerance, strong efficiency orientation, (high motivation, high work standards, etc.). strong socialized power orientation, ability to influence other people, concern about the reputation of the company’s products or services
Leaders also have a high self-confidence, real believe in their ideas, strong initiative skills, readiness to overcome obstacles, ability to gather the information from different sources and then analyze it, good verbal (and presentation) and non verbal communication skills, etc.
Besides it, leaders really need to have an ability to form networks and coalition, to manage group processes and build the team spirit. Leaders have to be able to correctly analyze events and make a distinction between reliable and unreliable information in order to make the right decisions.
Waddel, Cummings, Worley (2011) Organizational Change, Development & Transformation (Aisa Pacific 4th Edition), Cengage Learning, South Melbourne, ISBN 9 780170 185950.