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1. Be proactive - the principle of selfawareness, personal vision, and
2. Begin with the End in Mind - the
Principle of Leadership and
3. Put First Things First - the
Principle of Managing Time and
Priorities Around Roles and Goals
4. Think Win-Win - The Principle of
Seeking mutual Benefit
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to
Be Understood - the Principle of
Empathic Communication
6. Synergize - the Principle of
Creative Cooperation
7. Sharpen the Saw - the Principle of
Continuous Improvement
The 7 principles of leadership operate on
4 Levels
1. Personal (Trustworthiness)
2. Interpersonal (Trust)
3. Managerial (Empowerment)
4. Organizational (Alignment)
These Lead to 6 Conditions of
1. Character

Maturity (COURAGE BALANCE with

Abundance Mentality
2. Skills
Planning & Organization
Synergistic Problem-Solving
3. Win-Win Agreement
Desired results
4. Self-Supervision
Control -> Plan -> Do
5. Helpful Structures and Systems
6. Accountability
THE 8 S's
1. Self
2. Skills
3. Systems
4. Strategy
5. Structure
6. Style
7. Shared Vision & Principles
8. Streams

7 Habits pp. 269-276; 4 Levels, p. 251; 6 Conditions of Empowerment, p. 197; 8 S's p.

183 Principle-Centered Leadership (1990)


1. Relativity - Fails to clarify the relative importance of various traits.
2. Interaction - Studies of X and Y (and other traits) are examples of
quest for Universal Theory of leadership. The two (3 or 9) trait type
models are not looking at interaction effects. Few field or lab
studies are manipulation task (imitating structure), power, or
interpersonal (consideration) to test interactive effects (Yukl, 1989:
3. Universalism - Universal theories hold that particular trait patterns
(i.e. concern for task and for people; need to achieve and need for
affiliation with social power) lead to most effective leader behavior
in any situation. Yet other (situationist) studies find that traits are not
universal; they depend on the situation.
4. Dialectic - Trants transform over time, and traits thought to be the
same across some species of leader are found to vary in important
ways. A dialectic theory of tratis would look at the evolution and
contraditions of tratis, even in the smae person (See dialectic
theory of leadership).
5. Cause & Effect - Does not separate cause and effect (e.g., Are
leaders ambitious or does being a leader lead to ambition?). Is it
cause or effect?
6. Cross-Cultural Patterns - Ignores cultural factors. What is
effective leadership in Japan is not as effective in Australia (though
some dispute this).
7. Positive Trait Bias - Studies of traits seem to exclude the
Machiavellian traits.

8. Interwoven Processes - Traits and situation and culture are

interwoven. The processes are dynamic over time, such that
continuing the same behavior given shifts in the market, culture,
and local will not be effective.
9. Complexity Theory - New models of complexity and chaos theory
suggest that leader skills, traits, behaviors interact with processes
that are subject to catastrophe and spinning into the abyss.
Leadership is interpenetrated with the dance of order and dynamic
interconnectedness of self-organizing systems (Wheatley, 1992).
10. Genealogy - I appears that each generation invents a set of traits
their leaders must absolutely possess for them to be recognized
and anointed as leaders. The traits of the Robber Baron, while still
respected must now be camouflaged in the mask Trust and
Spirituality to gain maximum effectiveness. No one cares how tall or
beautiful they are, such things matter little in an electronic age,
where morphing and simulation rule.
11. Ascent or Maintenance - Gouldner argues that trait research does
not discriminate between traits that facilitate ascent to leadership
versus those that maintain it (Gouldner, 1950 Studies in
12. Myers-Briggs- The archetype typologies of great leader traits do
not agree where to put leaders such as Washington, Lincoln, and
Roosevelt (to cite but a few).
13. Theatrics - If we take a theatrics view of leadership, then the
leader performs those traits that move the audience. The leader
does not move too far away from the roles the spectators expect to
see from their leader. Each generation, situation, country has its
own expectations about the traits that define leaders. Industrial
theatre broke with feudal, and postmodern theatre is trying to break
with modern; each characterizes leaders with different traits.


Should we select for dominance? "For example, `Do dominant individuals
become leaders or do they become more dominant after they have
successfully occupied a leadership position? If the first question
applies, then it makes sense to select individuals for leadership positions

with the dominance trait. If the second applies, then selection based on
the trait is meaningless. Unfortunately, the trait approach does not
answer this question" (Source).

More Critiques of Trait Studies

Critiques of Trait and other approaches - outline format

Boje, David M. (2000a) Theatrics of Leadership Model. Where Figures 1 and 2 are
Boje (2000b) Four Voices of Leadership.
Boje, David M. (2001) Myers-Briggs and Leadership.
Machiavelli, Niccolo (1518). Mandragola. See Mandragola: In Machiavelli: The Chief
Works and Others, ed. Allan Gilbert. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1965.
Machiavelli N, the Prince and the Discourses (translation by Luigi Ricci, revised by E R
P Vincent), Random House, New York, 1950
Yukl, G. (1989). Managerial leadership: A review of theory and research. Journal of
Management, 15: 251-289.
Life Colors - self -assessment