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Leadership style is the combination of traits, skills, and behaviors leaders use as they interact with employees (Lussier

& Achua, 2004). In order for one to favor a leadership style, one must understand where the leadership styles originated. Researches indicated that certain characteristics or traits are inherent in leaders (Murphy, 2005).
The Great Man Theory Early study of leadership often focused on those who were already great leaders such as Gandhi and Churchill. They are examples of great men influencing their times for good. According to Bass (1990), Napoleon who said he was born to lead, expressed his feelings about the importance of leadership in his quip that he would rather have an army of rabbits led by lion than an army of lions led by rabbits. Napoleon statement triggered the researchers back in 1940, to proffered leaders as possessing and maintaining certain traits. These traits were based on physical and personality characteristics as well as intelligence and interpersonal skills (Steers, Porter, & Bigley, 1996). Marquis & Huston (2000) allied the Great Man Trait Theory with that of the Aristotelian philosophy, which indicated that leaders were born and not made and depending on the need a leader would surface. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Great Man Theory was highly popular. It was developed out of the idea that certain traits determine good leadership. Northouse (2004) stated that Great Man Theory asserted that leadership qualities were inherited, especially by people from the upper class. The traits were recognized as necessary for effective leaders were ones that were already inherent in the person, such as being male, being tall, being strong, and even being Caucasian. However, Great Man theory according to Slater and Bennis in one of their post in the Harvard Business Review argued that it is popular foil for so-called superior models. Slater and Bennis (1991) argued that, such great man become outmoded and dead hands on the flexibility and growth of the organization. Under the new democratic

model, the idea presented by the Great Man theory is of relatively little significance. A paper written by Eckmann (n.d) as well reported that the theory research was conducted by featuring with mostly male leaders during the early studies and nearly all of the researchers were also male. Gender issues were not on the discussion table when the Great Man theory was proposed. Most leaders were male and the thought of Great Woman was generally in areas other than leadership. In conjunction to that, it created a golden opportunity for an androcentric (culture that treats male as default

gender) bias in the early leadership literature. That leads to the evolution of Great Man
Theory into Trait Theory in the early 20th century.

Trait Theory Early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Trait is used widely to refer to peoples general characteristics, including capacities, motives, or patterns of behavior. Attention was thus put on discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders, with the underlying assumption that other people that also be found with these traits, could also become great leaders. Traits such as height, weight, and physique are heavily dependent on heredity, whereas others such as knowledge of the industry are dependent on experience and learning. Stogdill (1974) believed this because the research showed that no traits were universally associated with effective leadership and that situational factors were also influential. For example, military leaders do not have traits identical to those of business leaders. Stogdill also identified the following traits and skills as critical to leaders: Traits Adaptable to situations Alert to social environment Ambitious and achievementorientated Clever Conceptually Skilled Creative Diplomatic and tactful Skills

Assertive Cooperative Decisive Dependable Dominant and have a high desire to influence others Energetic Persistent Self-confident

Fluent in speaking Knowledgeable about group task Organized Persuasive Socially Skilled

Table 1, as stated in Leadership Theory Article, retrieved from www.changingminds.org, on 30th November 2013. Since Stogdills early review, trait theory has made a positive comeback, though in altered form. Recent research by Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991) stated that, by using variety of methods, Traits Theory proves that successful leaders are not like other people. The evidence indicated that there are certain core traits which significantly contribute to the leaders success. Later in 1983, McCall and Lombardo also researched both success and failure identified four primary traits by which leaders could succeed or derail. The findings are tabulated below: Trait Emotional stability and composure Admitting error Good interpersonal skills Calm, Particulars confident and predictable, particularly when under stress. Owning up to mistakes, rather than putting energy into covering up. Able to communicate and persuade others without resort to negative or coercive tactics. Intellectual breadth Able to understand a wide range of areas,

rather than having a narrow area of expertise.

There have been many different studies of leadership traits that had been agreed off only in the general saintly qualities needed to be a leader. For a long period, inherited traits were sidelined as learned and situational factors were considered to be far more realistic as reasons for people acquiring leadership positions.

References Kirkpatrick, S.A., & Locke, E.A. (1991). Leadership: Do traits matter?. Academy of Management Executive. University of Maryland. Vol 5. No.2 Kouzes, J.M., & Posner, B.Z. (2007). Leadership Theories and Styles. IAAP 2009 Administrative Professionals Week Event. Retrieved from http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/theories/leadership_theories.htm, on 30th November 2013. Stogdill, R.M. (1974). Handbook of leadership: A survey of the literature, New York: Free Press Smith, C. (2005). Servant Leadership: The leadership theory of Robert K. Greenleaf. Info 640- Mgmt. Of Info. Orgs