Essay on Characteristics And Traits Of A Leader

Essay on Characteristics And Traits Of A Leader

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Up until this point, much of the focus has been centered on defining effective leadership from characteristics and traits that have been identified through research and behavioral science, but what do the followers have to say about the leader’s characteristics and traits? Furthermore, what makes someone want to follow a leader? Thus, there are five specific traits or characteristics a leader must display before being followed, and the first characteristic or trait is honesty (Shead, 2016). While people desire to follow an honest leader, honesty is the key trait that allows the leader to influence others besides power; however, leaders have very few opportunities to demonstrate honesty, especially in large organizations (Shead, 2016). Therefore, the best way for a leader to display honesty is through courage, humility, and the ability to admit mistakes in front of others (Shead, 2016).

Following honesty, the second most sought after quality in a leader, centers on whether or not the leader is visionary or forward-looking (Shead, 2016). No one wants to follow a leader who is not visionary; hence, great turmoil arises between leader and follower when the leader lacks both vision and strategy (Yukl, 2010). In many instances, leaders who lack vision suffer the effects of several interrelated problems that include: poor communication, the inability to be forward-looking, and the unwillingness to share the vision with others because of fear (Shead, 2016). Fear, at times can be a legitimate concern in leadership, principally when the leader’s credibility is at stake over a failed project; however, fear is an impediment to mutual accountability, honesty, and trust between leader and follower (CCBS, 2016), because of fear, leaders...


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...rated ability to use certain task-oriented and relational-oriented behaviors that may be dependent on a situation, or simply the desire to accomplish a specific task or goal; furthermore, a leader may also be defined by power along with power’s use or misuse. According to many followers, the most desirable leadership traits are honesty, forward-thinking, competency, inspiration, and intelligence (Shead, 2016). Amongst the follower defined leadership traits, honesty was identified as the essential leadership quality that causes people to follow a leader; thus, the courage to admit failure is the most reliable sign that a leader is honest and accountable to the follower (Shead, 2016). Ultimately, in behavioral science a leader is defined by effectiveness, and, unfortunately, behavioral science is still attempting to define effectiveness by a single leadership trait.

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