Trait Theory of leadership behaviour

The trait theory emphasises that leaders are born and not made. The traits are inherent- personal qualities. This theory assumes that leadership is function of these traits.

Some of the traits include intelligence, understanding, perception, high motivation, socio-economic status, initiative, maturity, need for self- actualization, self assurance and understanding of interpersonal human relations.

The existence of these traits became a measure of leadership. It holds that the possession of certain’ traits permits certain to gain positions of leadership.


Leadership implies activity movement and getting the work done. The leader is a person who occupies a position of responsibility in coordinating the activities of the members’ of a group. Hence it is not possession of some traits but a pattern of personal characteristics bearing a relevant relationship to the goal of the followers that makes a leader.

The leadership must be conceived in terms of interactions-for one to lead-and for others who want to be led.

The trait theory of leadership suffers from lack of conclusiveness and over simplification. The critics have charged that the theory focuses attention only on the leaders and disregards the dynamics of the leadership process. Also the theory ignores the situational characteristics which may result in emergence of a leader.