How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
People are born with inherited traits.
Some traits are particularly suited to leadership.
People who make good leaders have the right (or sufficient) combination of traits.
Early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Attention was thus put on discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders, but with the underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders.
Stogdill (1974) identified the following traits and skills as critical to leaders.
McCall and Lombardo (1983) researched both success and failure identified four primary traits by which leaders could succeed or 'derail':
There have been many different studies of leadership traits and they agree 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.
Paradoxically, the research into twins who were separated at birth along with new sciences such as Behavioral Genetics have shown that far more is inherited than was previously supposed. Perhaps one day they will find a 'leadership gene'.
Stogdill, R.M. (1974). Handbook of leadership: A survey of the literature, New York: Free Press
McCall, M.W. Jr. and Lombardo, M.M. (1983). Off the track: Why and how successful executives get derailed. Greenboro, NC: Centre for Creative Leadership
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