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The trait theory of leadership underscores that people are born with inherited trait. These traits are suited for purposes of leadership. These traits were identified during a series of researches. Attention was then shifted to finding people who bear these traits so that they could effectively take over leadership. The theory was developed at a time when there were diverse opinions about traits. It was assumed that inherited traits were less important than lessons learnt from others; situations and the classroom.
The science of genetics however has taught the world that there are those characters that are inherent in certain individuals. Such traits are what make a person to be unique. They form the basis of characterizing an individual. It is possible for example to finds a person who is quiet. It is also possible to meet a very noisy person. These people differ in terms of traits. This is what the early researchers about the trait theory put into perspective and concluded that certain persons were born to be leaders. Others do not have leadership qualities in them a thing (Surhone, Timpledon, and Marseken, 2010).
The traits are as below:
Adaptability to situations
This involves the ability to adapt to different kinds of environment. Such an individual depicts good leadership skills in the sense that he can work in different types of environment. The individuals can cope when there is too much work. He is able to perform even when things are hard. The individual can also be moved from one station to the other without it affecting him or her.
Alertness to the social environment
A leader should be alert in all that he does. This involves being aware of him or herself at all time. Such a leader is not swung by moods. He is able to work whenever it deems necessary. The leader is such alert and cautious that it is difficult to trick or coax him into doing the wrong thing (Ewen, 2003).
A good leader must be ambitious. He or she must be able to focus on the future and know that he will surely succeed. Such an individual is always on the move to achieving greater success. This is applicable in business since most businesses are going concerns. The business also has potential for growth and as such, it is important for the business leaders to see far. That is being ambitious.
A good leader must be able to work well with other persons. He or she must always make decisions aimed at the general good of everyone but not just to fulfill his dreams. He or she must also relate well since without this failure will certainly come. This is applicable in business in the sense the management of the business must be able to cooperate with the employees.
A leader must be decisive. He must be able to make decisions that are firm. He or she must not be swayed into believing things that are false. Businesses require individuals who are firm and decisive. Taking risks requires people who are decisive and thus is application in business.
Leaders should be persons that can be relied upon by other people. They are people who make decisions that affect the work environment. They therefore need to be dependable so that the decisions they make can be relied upon. In business employees need to be confident with their bosses and as such the leaders must be persons who are dependable.
Leadership requires dominance. It is important that one’s opinion counts. People must be able to look upon the leader as the decision maker. The leader must therefore have to have some degree of control so that this is awarded to him. In business it is important for the business to have dominance in the market. This helps it in fighting competition.
A good leader must be energetic. He or she needs to be healthy in mind and physically too. Such individuals work extremely hard to see the organizations that they work for succeed. The leaders should be in a position to wake up early and report to work on time. In business, energy is very relevant. A person without energy cannot perform well. Taking an example of a marketer, it is important for him or her to be energetic so that he can effectively market whatever products he is marketing (Ewen, 1998).
This is a quality common for those people who are focused. Such individuals work with goals. They know where they are headed and thus will not give up despite the stumbling blocks along the way. In business, leaders must be persistent. They must not give up on an idea simply because it did not bear immediate fruits. They must be persons that can try again and again.
A leader must be self-confident. He or she must be the kind of person who believes in himself. Such people know they are able and so will do anything possible to achieve their goals. They therefore do not fear when things do not head in the right direction. Sigelman, and Rider (2008) state that, ‘they remain focused and confident that things will work; (p, 108).
Tolerance to stress
It is very important to be able to manage stress. This is because in life, stress always comes. Business managers have others responsibilities on their shoulders apart from the business. These responsibilities at times cause stress to them. They must be in a position to control such stress so as to succeed in business (Surhone, Timpledon, and Marseken, 2010).
Willingness to assume responsibility
Leadership comes with responsibility. It is important that a leader realizes he is responsible and accountable to different stakeholders. He or she must not shift blame when things go wrong over what is solely his responsibility. In business, everyone has a role to play. Leaders in business must be responsible for all their actions without blaming others.
The theory also identified the following set of skills:
A business person must be clever. He or she is able to research and understand what the market currently offers. The leaders must also be witty enough to understand their customers well. The ability to deal with the customers is what determines if a business will succeed or not.
Business persons are creative people. To be a good leader means achieving results. These results are determined by the ability of business leaders to be creative over and above their competitors. They must be able to differentiate their products in a tactful way that will appeal to customers (Ewen, 2003).
Diplomacy and tactfulness
Diplomacy is the ability of a person to deal with other people in a nice and welcoming way. This is very relevant in business. This is because business deals with customers. Dealing with customers requires skill since they possess different characters.
Fluency in speech
A good leader must be fluent. This is because leadership involves a lot of communication. In business, the management is supposed to sell the business image in the public domain. The managers are therefore supposed to deliver fluent speeches on the same so that customers can come in. Fluency is also important when the leaders communicate to their juniors. It gives the leaders a high level of command.
A good leader must be organized. He or she must be able to plan his activities well so that there is no mix up. In business, organization is important. Leadership must follow some line of command so that policy making is effective.
A good leader must be persuasive enough. He or she must be able to convince the public why it should prefer the products they are offering. Such leaders lead to high sales volumes.
Social skillfulness A good business person must be able to interact effectively. Interaction of the business with the environment is what sees it to the next level (Carr, 2004).
There were traits that leaders would rely upon to succeed or fail. These were:
This describes the ability of a person to be confident, calm and composed even in times of emotional turmoil. This trait is important in business since for a business to succeed the leadership of the business must be excellent. It is important that the management exercises high levels of emotional stability. This is to ensure the business stands at all times and that it continues to be a going concern. There are times when there is a crisis in the business. This could be when the business is making loses instead of the expected profits. There could also be challenges relating to supplies and deliveries.
Sometimes, raw materials lack completely and this causes tension since the management has to find alternative ways and means to meet the demand for commodities. This often results into tension especially where the image of the business is under threat and if the competitors are still performing. Such situations call for drastic measures. The management of the business needs to be very stable emotionally during such times. The employees at this time are left to look upon the management for decisions that will lessen the crisis. The management therefore needs to reassure the employees that things are fine. This can only be achieved if it is stable emotionally (Surhone, Timpledon, and Marseken, 2010).
It is important that leaders learn to admit mistakes that they have done. Admitting a mistake is better than shifting blame to other persons. This is because after admitting the mistake, the next course of action is usually to find a solution to the problem. This avoids time wastage. This time may be used in engaging in constructive activities which will lead to business success. Admitting mistakes also helps in preventing wrangles which may erode good relations within organizations. Such wrangles may cause unnecessary tension at the expense of important engagements (Ewen, 2003)
A leader must also have good interpersonal skills. This is important in business since businesses involve dealing with customers. Customer satisfaction and business image are two things that go together. It is important that leaders learn to work well among themselves and with their juniors Good interpersonal skills also encompass the ability of an individual to persuade others. This is important especially where the management is charged with the responsibility of making ideas. These ideas must be sold to the employees and customers. There has to be clear interpersonal skills so that the ideas are effectively marketed.
It is also important to have intellectual ability. This refers to a person who is sharp minded and bright. Such leaders are known for their prowess in being creative and as such contribute a lot towards the success of the business. On this note, it is important that leaders be intelligent people who can predict future trends. Ewen (1998) notes that, ‘this intelligence should be seen even in other fields’ (p. 181). A leader who is all rounded will be in a better position to make policies that impact positively on the business he or she is managing. Such a person may also advice the board on important issues.