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The psychology of leadership theories: trait or learned?

Insight Article - October 8, 2018

Leadership Development

Researchers claim that over the past 60 years approximately 65 different classification systems have been established to help delineate the elements of leadership.1

The trait perspective on leadership suggests that individuals are born with specific characteristics that differentiate them from non-leaders. Statements such as “She is a natural leader” support the trait theory that effectiveness is an innate quality that separates leaders from others. These distinct features may be evident when physically meeting someone, while other leadership attributes are not as noticeable until you interact with that individual.

Leaders do not exist unilaterally without others to influence. This confirms the mutual need for synchronization to ensure that the full leadership process transpires. Influence and the ability to steer others toward a vision is an essential element of leadership. Leaders use their passion and energy to engage others so that they believe in the group’s common goal.

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About the Author

Marcella M. Pyke RDH, MHS, FACMPE

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