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Exploring Leadership Qualities and Styles: Traits, Behavior, and Contingency Theories

May 18, 2023 | 0 comments

May 18, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

  1. Trait Theories

Traits are external behaviors that emerge from the things going on within our minds. It is these internal beliefs and processes that are important for effective leadership.

Trait theories argue that effective leaders share a number of common personality characteristics, or traits. Early trait theories said that leadership is an innate, instinctive quality that you do or do not have. However, this idea has been improved and what people can do to develop leadership qualities within themselves and others is used. Trait theories help in identification of traits and qualities, for instance, integrity, empathy, assertiveness, good decision-making skills, and likability that are helpful when leading others. However, none of these traits, or any specific combination of them, will guarantee success as a leader.


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  1. Behavioral Theories

Behavioral theories focus on how leaders behave. For instance, do leaders dictate what needs to be done and expect cooperation? Or do they involve their teams in decision-making to encourage acceptance and support? Based on the behavior of leaders, there are three types of leaders:

The Autocratic leaders  who make decisions without consulting their teams, the democratic leaders  who allow the team to provide input before making a decision and Laissez-faire leaders who do not  interfere

  1. Contingency Theories

The realization that there is no one correct type of leader led to theories that the best leadership style depends on the situation. These theories try to predict which style is best in which circumstance.

For instance, when an individual need to make quick decisions, which style is best? When you need the full support of your team, is there a more effective way to lead? Should a leader be more people-oriented or task-oriented? These are all questions that contingency leadership theories try to address.

Attributes of a good leader

Proactive and Reactive
The exceptional leader is always thinking three steps ahead. Working to master his or her own environment with the goal of avoiding problems before they arise.

Flexible or Adaptable
An effective leader will adapt to new surroundings and situations, doing his or her best to adjust. A leader will take into account all points of view and will be willing to change a policy, program, cultural tradition that is out-dated, or no longer beneficial to the group as a whole.

A Good Communicator
a good leader listens a lot and is willing to work to understand the needs and desires of others. A good leader asks many questions, considers all options, and leads in the right direction.

good leader treats others with respect will ultimately earn respect.

Quiet Confidence
a good leader is always sure of himself or herself with humble intentions.

Excitement is contagious. When a leader is motivated and excited about the cause people will be more inclined to follow.

a good leader work to consider all options when making decisions. A strong leader will evaluate the input from all interested parties and work for the betterment of the whole.


Utilize the resources available to you. If you do not know the answer to something find out by asking questions. A leader must create access to information.


An exceptional leader will recognize the efforts of others and reinforce those actions.
Evaluation of events and programs is essential for an organization or group to improve and progress. An exceptional leader will constantly evaluate and change programs and policies that are not working.

A leader is prepared for meetings, presentations, events and confident that people around you are prepared and organized as well?

Confidence and respect cannot be attained without your leadership being consistent. People must have confidence that their opinions and thoughts will be heard and taken into consideration.


An exceptional leader realizes that he or she cannot accomplish everything on his own. A leader will know the talents and interests of people around him or her, thus delegating tasks accordingly.

A leader should work to be the motivator, an initiator. He or she must be a key element in the planning and implementing of new ideas, programs, policies, events, etc.

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