Ralph Stogdill Trait Theory | Leadership Traits Theory and Skills
Trait–based leadership Theory is based on the idea that great leaders have certain character traits that others don’t have and that all successful leaders are born leaders. Between 1930-1948, Ralph Stogdill analyzed data from over 100 leadership related studies and was the first to challenge the Trait–based theory Model.
Leadership Traits Approach
The leadership traits approach was one of the first systematic attempts at studying leadership. Traits were studied to figure out what made a leader great. This approach had lots of interest because of how it explained the influence of these traits on leaders.
The theories developed was called great men theories because they focus on identifying the natural qualities and characteristics that great leaders had.
For example, Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln, etc.
It was said that everyone was born with these traits, but only the great men possessed them, which separated the leaders from the followers.
Ralph Stogdill Trait Theory
Ralph Stogdill was an important person for the trait approaches and was considered a leader in leadership research. Ralph completed his bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology at Ohio State University in 1930.
He studied clinical psychology as a doctoral student from 1931 to 1934 and received his Ph.D.
He remains very active on the Ohio State campus, where he was a member of Ohio State Leadership Studies. He became an associate director of the Leadership studies and then a research associate.
Then he became a business organization professor in 1960, and in 1968, he was a professor of management sciences in psychology and the director of leadership studies.
Ralph’s first article, leadership, was called Personal Factors associated with leadership, a literature survey.
This was a turning point not only in his career but also in the study of leadership.
Ralph Stogdill challenged the traits approach in the mid-20th century by suggesting that an individual leadership trait, a leader in one situation, might not be a leader in another situation.
Stogdill First Survey
Stogdill had two surveys, and the results from the surveys make it more helpful to understand how individuals’ trades contribute to the leadership process.
The first survey consisted of 124 trait studies between 1904 and 1947. The survey used traits studies that resulted in eight leadership traits that had an average person with a leadership role that made them different from an average group member.
The eight traits consist of;
- Self Confidence
Stogdill Second Survey.
StogDill’s second survey consisted of another 163 studies between 1948 and 1970. This survey was positive traits that connected with leadership.
Leadership Characteristic Traits List
Those ten characteristics were;
- The drive for responsibility and task completion
- Vigor and persistence and pursuit of goals
- Risk-taking and originality, and problem-solving.
- Drive to exercise, intuitive and social situations.
- Self-confidence and sense of personal identity.
- Willingness to accept consequences of these consequences of decisions and action.
- Readiness to absorb personal stress.
- Willingness to tolerate frustration and delay
- Ability to influence another person’s behavior
- Capacity to structure social interaction systems to the purpose of hand.
Five Major Leadership Traits
Five major leadership traits resulted in a century of research on the traits approach.
Major Leadership Traits List
Those five traits are;
Intelligence for leadership is defined as a trait that contributes to a leader’s achievement of complex problem-solving skills and social judgment skills.
Intellectual traits are a leader’s ability to use reason in this positively related to leadership. There was a study conducted that results showed leaders tend to have higher intelligence than non-leaders.
Having higher intelligence made them better leaders because of strong verbal ability and perceptual ability, and reasoning.
It was also shown that it could be difficult for leaders with higher intelligence to communicate with a follower because their ideas would be to advance for the follower to understand
An example would be Steve Jobs. He was the CEO and founder of Apple, and it’s a good example of a leader whose intelligence was a key trait.
Self-confidence is defined as the ability to be certain about one’s abilities and skills or be defined as the leaders’ beliefs in oneself and their abilities.
Self-confidence can include other traits in oneself, such as a sense of self-esteem and self-assurance, and one believes that they could make a difference.
This affects leader because it ensures oneself that how they’re influencing others is positive and correct.
For example, it’s Steve Jobs, because people tended to doubt him when he would tell them about his ideas on devices that he wanted to create, but he always believed in himself and did what he wanted.
Determination is to find is the desire to get the job done. Determination has a few characteristics that help describe it: intuitive, persistence, dominance, and drive.
An individual determination will assert themselves, be proactive, and have the capacity to persevere even when things are challenging.
An example of determination is Dr. Paul Farmer, who was determined to Secure Healthcare and eliminate tuberculosis from Third World countries. He started traveling and studying at a young age, where he got an education and founded his charity.
Integrity could be defined as the quality of honesty and trustworthiness or a leader, ethical standards, and abilities.
To be truthful, individual integrity will take responsibility for one’s actions, inspire confidence, and other individuals they could be trusted, they’re dependable, they’re worthy, and they’re worth loyal.
Integrity has been questionable in a big factor in our society.
It could be defined as the leader’s tendency to seek out pleasant social relationships and or a leader’s ability to create pleasant relationships with others.
An individual with sociability has qualities such as that they’re friendly throughout going there courteous.
They have good interpersonal skills, tactful, diplomatic, and sensitive, carrying two others’ needs.
An example would be Michael Hughes, who is a university president. He likes to walk around campus, eat meals in the dining facilities and write personal letters to individuals to congratulate them on their success.
He can also interact with students, staff, and faculty at a personal level and established good relationships with everyone around him.
Five Big Leadership Personality Factors.
Along with the major five leadership traits, there are five significant personality factors.
These factors include;
Neuroticism is the tendency to experience fear, sadness, embarrassment, anger, guilt, and distrust.
Individuals high in neuroticism have a more difficult time dealing with stress. Low neuroticism was the fourth most strongly associated with leadership.
The tendency to be assertive, active, and talkative. These individuals like excitement and they’re optimistic and cheerful.
This factor was most strongly associated with leadership.
Openness is defined as openness to experience. All these people are curious and willing to explore new ideas.
This usually means that they could be associated with an individual who isn’t, has an imagination, and is open-minded to working in new or different ways.
This factor was the third most strongly associative leadership.
Agreeableness is the tendency to be sympathetic and helpful with others. They’re helpful with others and believe others will be Justus helpful to them in return, and this factor was only weaken associated with leadership.
The tendency to be purposeful, strong-willed, punctual, and reliable. They will engage in an active process of planning, organizing, and carrying out tasks.
It also reflects the extent to which a person is dependable, obedient, and achievement-oriented.
This factor was second most strongly associated with leadership.
So how does this approach work?
It focuses more on the leader and not on followers or the situation, making this trait more straightforward.
This approach is mainly concerned with what traits a leader has and who has those traits.
This approach also focuses more on how important it is to have a leader with a certain set of traits because that is central to the leadership process.
It suggests that an organization will work better if the individual in charge has designated leadership profiles. An organization will be specific on characteristics and traits important to them and use it to find the right individual to fit their needs.
This approach is used personally to have an idea of their strengths and weaknesses and develop awareness and development and how they fit into their work environment.
Leadership Traits Approach Strengths and weaknesses.
Just like individuals, the straight approach had its strengths and weaknesses.
For its strength.
- It was intuitively appealing.
- It was a century of research to back it up.
- It’s more conceptual in nature.
- Delimits a definitive list of leadership traits
- Fails to take situations into account
- Fails to look at traits and relationship to leadership outcomes.
- It is not a useful approach for training and development for leadership.