According to Kelly (1974), this theory aims to categorize the personal traits—such as ones related to the physical, psychological, and mental—that are connected to effective leadership. Research linking different qualities to a leader’s success is the foundation of trait theory. There is a long number of qualities that can be used to characterize an effective leader. A broad classification of six categories of traits is given below
- Physical characteristics of the leader, such as age, height, and weight.
- Background traits include experience, mobility, social rank, and education.
- Intelligence: ability, judgment, knowledge.
- Aggression, vigilance, dominance, decisiveness, zeal, extroversion, independence, self-assurance, and authoritarianism are all traits of the personality.
- Task-oriented characteristics: achievement need, responsibility, initiative, persistence.
- Social traits include tact, diplomacy, popularity, cooperation, prestige, and the capacity for supervision.
Some people believe these features to be reliable predictors of effective leaders, although there may not be much agreement if you compare leaders according to different physical personalities and intellectual traits. Some findings point out the fact that leaders are intelligent individuals. However, they offer no indication as to whether or not leaders are more intelligent than or comparable to their subordinates. Once more, some of the personality characteristics overlap. Therefore, you should use caution when attributing a personality trait or any other quality to effective leadership. You must ask the question; who is a successful leader? Is he far superior physically? Is he far brighter? Is he more mature as a person? Is he more driven to complete his task? Does he show his supporters more respect? Some traits may describe a successful leader but predicting successful leaders based on traits alone is not a correct approach. The work done by the leader is significantly influenced by the followers. Trait theory utterly disregards the people who follow a leader and the circumstances that contribute to their success. Secondly, we should also weigh in our mind, which of the objectives, ‘confident’ or ‘independent’ or ‘intelligent’ is relatively more important in becoming a successful leader. You may observe one or all of the above traits as important in a successful leader whereas your friend may feel that an enthusiastic, aggressive, and authoritarian person is a good leader. To be more objective, the traits of the person as well as the demands of the situation together determine the effectiveness of the leader.