Pros and Cons of Trait Based Theories

Pros of trait-based theories are that they attempt to explain and investigate how traits are related to strong leadership skills for training and coaching. According to Mumford, Zaccaro, Harding, et al., “leadership emerges from the combined influence of multiple traits.” I agree with this view and feel that in order to be a good leader people need to possess a wide array of traits such as ambition, integrity, emotional stability, honesty and charisma. Some people may possess some of these traits but may have other negative traits such as dishonesty, poor motivation and a lack of approachability that may overshadow any quality leadership traits they demonstrate. Trait based theories help leaders understand the importance of possessing strong core values and well-rounded traits that research shows builds successful leadership.

I believe one con to trait-based theories is that these theories may put limitations into people’s minds that are hiring or making promotion decisions. Management may view the idea that only certain traits make a good leader causing them to over look strong candidates for management and leadership positions simply because an applicant appears to lack certain traits on the first impression. As well, some people may feel they do not have all of the traits mentioned in the articles and they will shy away from working toward long term management goals or applying for leadership positions just because they are quiet or may not fell they have as much creativity as they view others to have.


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