Leadership traits, motives and characteristics
In understanding leadership, it’s important to have a clear understanding of traits, characteristic, and behaviors
of leaders. Traits are very closely related to how we perceive others to be leaders for example if we see a confident and
charismatic person we perceive them to be good leaders. Effective leaders must have cognitive skills, relationship with subordinates and personality traits and characteristics. (DuBrin&
Ireland, page 270).
Effective leadership Traits
Leadership traits are
stable patterns of behaviours and consistent internal states that explain a person’s behavioural tendencies. A leader
needs to have Self-confidence Emotional Stability, Sense of humour, enthusiasm, warmth, high tolerance for frustration, self-awareness,
self-objectivity, trustworthiness, dominance, extroversion, and assertiveness. How determining which set of traits and characteristics
are important will depend on the situation. For example enthusiasm may be more important to a sells manager than a stock manager.
Listed below are the traits
and characteristics that are associated with leadership efficiency
Self confidence. Leaders need to believe in their leadership skills and ability to achieve
objectives. Self confidence also instils confidence among the subordinates. In a group members will follow a leader who is
confident and who seems to know what they are doing, while a manager who is not confident but tries to act confident will
be seen as working under pressure (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272).
Assertiveness. A leaders needs
to be straightforward in expressing their opinions, feelings, demand and attitude, as it helps them to attain their objectives. This may include demanding high performance
from workers and correcting them on their mistakes (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272, avoiding
Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm helps
a leader build good relationship with his group members, as employees perceive it as a reward for doing something right. Enthusiasm
may be expressed verbally or nonverbally though handshakes, or touching (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272).
Power Motive. Power motive
leaders spent a lot of time thinking in how to alert the thinking and behaviour of others, act with vigor and determination,
and care bout their personal standing with those around them. This is very important as it show that the leader is keen on
influencing others (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272).
Achievement. This refers to a strong desire to achieve things for their own sake. In the attempt
to finish and get things done on time acts as a force for innovation.
Sense of Humour. A sense of
humour relieves boredom and tension. A sense of humour can also defuse hostile situations. It also makes the leader more approachable
(DuBrin& Ireland, page 270).
Leadership motive are the reasons or what drives individuals to be leaders this are:
This is the need to control other people, be responsible
for them and influence their behavior. Leaders are also motivated by the need to control resources. This is also a key motivator
Drive & Achievement
Individuals become leaders because the get Joy in accomplishment for its own sake. They are
usually thinking of how to do a job better and how they can progress in their career. The need for achievement or to excel
in their work place is because they are interested in the monetary reward that come with it.
Strong Work Ethic
There are people who generally belief
in dignity of work. This type of people end up being leaders as a result of their strong work ethics. This type of leaders
believe that a group task is worthwhile, and hence gain the support for the leadership position.
Tenacity This is the Wilful Determination of a leader to
achieve something, usually there might be a problem that is persisting at the time and they have the urge to solve it.
In order to be an effective leader one must have Cognitive traits. These are mental abilities
and knowledge. Five cognitive skills that are particularly important are knowledge of the task/Business, creativity, insight
into people and situation, openness to new experience, and farsightedness and
Knowledge of the
Knowledge of the task/ Business is important as they are the skills required by a leader to
complete specialised task. Its known that Intelligent leaders make more effective plans, strategies, and decisions than to
less intelligent ones. It would be very hard for leader to gain subordinate respect if they if they don’t understand
the technical details of their work
Leaders should posses an effective problem solving ability or intelligence. Creative of a leader
also give the organisation a completive advantage age.
Insight into People
Effective leaders must have the ability to read staff and the situation. This comes in handy
when it comes to assigning jobs or choosing group leaders.
Farsightedness and conceptual thinking
This is the ability to think in abstract terms, i.e. to being able to simplify complex situations
and determine the correct solution. A farsighted leader is one who can set long term goal that they need to achieve and know
where they want the organisation to be in future. This also gives guideline to the members on the way forward.
Openness to Experience.
A effective leader should show willingness to experiment with unproven methods and approaches.
The leader should be open to the subordinates suggestion, and encourage group work as this motivates the members and feel
part of the successes.
Strengths and limitation to the Trait approach
Trait approach has convincing evidence that leaders possess personal characteristics that differ
from non-leaders, it also provides a criteria for leadership selection and can help persons prepare for leadership responsibility
Limitations This approach may not hold as different situations will need different traits hence we cant determine which traits
are absolutely needed. Ambition is a good trait for a leader but determining how much is enough is very had. The trait approach
create an image of an ideal leader hence this may discourage potential leaders from pursuing leadership roles.