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Leadership Approach Paper: Trait Approach
Michelle Engle
LDR/531
1/12/13
Michael Ventrone

Leadership Approach Paper: Trait Approach
The trait approach examines traits that cause specific behaviors. It was one of the earliest styles used to research leadership.   It was once assumed that certain abilities such as energy, intuition, foresight, and persuasiveness, were the key to managerial success (Yukl, 2010).   In the 1930’s and 1940’s, hundreds of trait approach studies were conducted to reveal the leadership traits found only in natural leaders (Yukl, 2010).   The researcher’s goal was to find significant correlations between the characteristics of individual leaders and leader success, without considering explanatory processes.   Unfortunately, this research failed to provide traits which guaranteed leadership success.   The purpose of this paper is to review the strengths and weaknesses of the trait approach.
Weaknesses
Failure of the research performed in the 1930’s and 1940’s was due to the lack of attention to other variables that could explain the causal effects of traits on outcomes (Yukl, 2010).   It failed to acknowledge the outcome of situations and the affect that situations have on leader’s behaviors, as certain situations call for specific leadership traits.   The research on what traits made a leader was subjective.   As a result, this approach failed to provide a definitive list of leader traits (Smith, n.d.).  
Strengths
Though the trait approach has weaknesses, it appeases our belief that leaders are special and have extraordinary traits. It displays leaders as being "gifted" due to their special talents (Smith, n.d.). Because the trait approach’s sole purpose is to focus on leadership, its results on the leadership process are detailed. This approach can also be easily used to evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses (Smith, n.d.).
Implications
The trait approach offers constructive information on leadership.   It can easily be used...

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