This entry marks the first of a few entries on leadership theories. The idea is to present a few different theories on the topic, and allow readers to take what pieces they like from each. No one theory is definitively right or wrong, or even comprehensive in nature, but they each allow some insight into what makes a good leader.
This entry is going to talk about trait theory, which is based on a very simple concept: leaders possess certain traits. This line of research and discussion gained momentum around WWII, as there was an interest in what made a good military officer or leader. Initially, traits were very straightforward; being tall, strong, attractive, having a deep voice and other similar items were considered beneficial for leadership. These traits certainly help cast a good first impression, however, it is quite obvious to see that they do not carry muster much beyond that without the good to back them up.
Trait theory has since that point developed into more of a personality inventory. Tests like the Myers-Briggs and NEO-PI identify the personality traits of an individual, which help indicate what roles the individual would be well suited for, including leadership. Many organizations use this for incoming employees, team building, role distribution, and other purposes, and with some level of success. It is a good tool. However, most leadership experts will tell you in isn’t necessarily a great test of leadership.
The next few entries will discuss some more leadership theories that will help better uncover the sort of leader an individual might be.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below or email me at adrayson@SportPerformanceU.com.
SPU's Alex Drayson writes the SPU Football Performance Blog.