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Leadership trait can be defined as the inbuilt patterns of individual characteristics that depict varying character differences and further reliability leader effectiveness across a range of organizational or groups situations. A successful leader is always associated with traits like, integrity, commitments to growth, readiness to take risks, responsible, pragmatism, vision oriented, self-assured hardworking, emotionally intelligent, ability to engage others in work, industrious and optimistic characteristic.
The characteristics possessed by an individual are very important in determining what kind of a leader on can make. Personality and intelligence are some of the traits that one can have. The term personality implies the uniqueness of an individual that is responsible for the constant ways of thoughts, sensation and behavior. There are numerous different types of personalities most of which are not appropriate for a leader. A successful leader is identified with certain traits as extraversion, agreeableness, emotional stability, openness to new constancy, and conscientiousness and hardworking.
The term extraversion refers to the characteristic of one having the associative traits of being talkative, always having the urge to appear on stage, self-assured and energetic. Some with this kind of trait always thinks of dominance over his or her fellows. Being agreeable has a meaning of being ready to lend others your ears, being considerate, pleasant, trusting and appreciative. Extroverts have the ability to have more associates than introverts. Being highly agreeable makes one to have more friends as this creates a cool environment for association. Emotional stability, the degree to which a person is cool even under tight conditions and able to handle tough situations, is necessary for success in a leader. A leader who is open to new changes in the experiences is ready for success. This is due to the fact that he or she will innovate the staff by proving to be insightful and providing them with imaginative ideas and wide areas of interest to work on. The last personality, conscientiousness and hardworking is also necessary. This implies one having the qualities to plan and achieve through being organized. This trait is very important as it carries the weight of other traits such as integrity, pragmatism, vision-orientation, responsibility, commitment to growth and enthusiasm.
The level of leader intelligence is an important factor in determining the kind of a leader one is. A high degree of intelligence is needed for one to become a successful leader. Super leaders are not born bright, but, aim to become bright (Goleman, 1995). A leader should be able to determine the vision of a business as he or she is the foundation of a viable business advantage. He or she should be able to read the moods of a business and determine what is best for the team. Helping the team to connect to their personal goal should be an aim as it results into a highly competitive business. The most important kind of leadership intelligence for a successful leader is the emotional intelligence which combines competencies. It describes the ability of a leader to be self-aware, have social skills like giving the attractive responses, be empathetic, motivate others and lastly be able to self-manage oneself. Furthermore, successful leaders are willing to learn and take risks as long as the end result is to favor the business.
There are various theories and studies that discuss leadership traits. Amongst them are the Trait theory, Behavioral theories, “The Great Man” theory, Situation Theories, Contingency Theories, Relationships Theories, Management Theories and Participation Theories.
The Trait theory basically suggests that: at birth, leaders have certain personalities associated with proficient leadership. This implies that traits are naturally part of someone from birth. This theory assumes that leaders are born and not made. It could be true for some leaders who are have developed the leadership characteristics from their childhood, but is still questionable. Some leaders realize their potentials when grown up. This theory identifies potential leaders.
The second theory is the Behavioral theory that suggests that upcoming leaders can be trained to become effective leaders by training them into the leadership preparation competencies. After the training, they can become the best witnessed leaders. It is based on the belief that leaders are made through training and exposure and not birth. It notes that the leadership capabilities can be arrived at by learning and not through inheritance. The theory is easy to develop and eases the assessment of leader’s actions and success. While the Trait theory advocates on identifying potential leaders, this theory advocates on the behaviors that lead to a successful leader.
Theory X and Y is a Trait theory proposed by Douglas McGregor in the 1960. This theory compares two groups of individuals. X is viewed to dislike work, work on subjection to strict conditions, always want to be directed, dislike responsibilities and has a feeling of safety at work. Y has the qualities that are contrary to those of X that are needed for successful leadership. X is attributed to hard and low level work as Y is attributed to solving complex tasks and high ranks. This theory tends to prove that leadership is born of personalities that one has.
Basing on the Contingency theories, I propose Exposure Theory. In this theory, I suggest that, great leaders are produced as a result of exposing oneself to an environment with the required leadership. Those individuals who are born in families of high profile leaders and those who naturally associate with proficient leaders make good leaders by learning to emulate their style. The unexposed remain to be wishers of leadership but have no way of acquiring the traits due to the fact that they cannot learn into it. Some individuals have the ability to make good leaders but lack the forums to learn. On education and exposure to the environments, they excel.
Leadership is what you make it. One who aspires to be a leader and works towards achieving this goal is more likely to be one than a leader-wisher. Becoming a successful leader means having the characteristics traits like intelligence, personalities and other quality leadership skills.