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Trait Theory

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Meghan Murray

on 13 September 2015

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Transcript of Trait Theory

Trait Theory
Pamela Davis
Chainn Gahagan
Meghan Murray

history of the trait theory
- Began with an emphasis on identifying the qualities of great leaders in history
- Later the theory moved to a focus on the impact of situations on leadership and their traits
- Currently the Trait Theory emphasizes the critical role of certain traits in effective leadership
Movie Example
Movie: Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
Character Portrayed: Anakin Skywalker (5 yrs. old)
Locations: Tatooine and the Jedi Temple
Anakin and the Trait Theory
Terminology (Cont.)
Biblical Servant Leadership
MACE 5302 N1
Dr. Rick Gregory
Anakin and the Trait Approach (Cont.)
Leadership Identification
- more straitforward than other leadership approaches
- focuses exclusively on the leader, and not on the followers or the situation
- believes that having a leader with a certain set of traits is critical to having effective leadership
- Teaches that organizations will work better if the people in managerial positions have designated leadership profiles
- Organizations can specify the characteristics or traits that are important for particular positions
- The Trait Assessment can be used to measure a candidate's characteristics to determine if they will meet the organization's needs
- By selecting the right people for positions based on the Trait Assessment, organizations can be more effective
- Organizations can implement Trait Assessments to be used for both new candidates and current employees.
- New Candidates: Assessments can be created that describe the traits needed in a position in order for the employee to be successful
- Assessments can be used in the hiring and screening process to find qualified candidates
- Can be used to develop current employees:
- Trait assessments can be used for personal awareness
- Leaders can see how others in the organization view them
- helps managers determine if they have the qualities to move up in the organization
- Gives individuals a clear picture of what kind of leader they are and how they fit into the organization
- can be used to develop the needed leadeship qualitiies in individuals
- Intuitively Appealing
- consistent with the perception that leaders are special and gifted
- Century of Research to Back Up Assessments
- the breadth and depth of studies gives this theory a measure of credibility other approaches lack
- Highlights the Leader Component in Leadership Process
- Provides deeper and more intricate understanding of how the leader and their traits are related to the leadership process
- Has Given Us Bench Marks
- Identifies what traits we should have and whether those traits are best for leadership
- Can Be Used for Personal Awareness and Development
- Can help leaders understand their strengths as well as areas that need improvements
- Fails to delimit definite list of leadership traits.
- Although there has been over a century worth of research, most findings have been ambiguous and uncertain
- Subjective Determinations of Important Traits
- While one researcher may identify one trait as most important, another may identify a different trait
- Fails to Look at Traits in Relationship Outcomes
- has not tried to link leader traits w/ productivity or employee satisfaction
- Fails to Take Situations into Account
- It's difficult to identify a universal set of leadership traits in isolation of its context
- Not Useful for Training and Development
- Teaching new traits is not an easy process b/c traits are not easily changed.
Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn gains evidence as to the unique abilities of Anakin
- he can build anything at the age of 5 (cyborg, pod racer, etc.)
- only human who can pod race because of the speed needed to pilot
- Qui-Gon feels that the Force around Anakin is unusually strong
- Anakin's mother told Qui-Gonn that Anakin was born by the Force (never had a father)
- Medi-Chlorian count is off the charts -- higher than any known jedi in history

1) Trait Leadership in the 20th Century believed that people were born with innate qualities and characteristics, and that only the "great people" possessed them.
- Qui-Gon Jinn tells Anakin's mother that he is able to do these things because "he has special powers. He can see things before they happen. That is why he appears to have quick reflexes."
2) Stogdill (1948, 1974) stated that leaders are not average people.
- As Qui-Gon Jinn ponders over the unique skill set of Anakin, he concludes that he may be the "child of prophecy"
3) Stogdill's 1st survey stated that leadership traits must be relevant to the situation in which the leader is functioning. Leaders in one situation may not necessarily be leaders in another.
- Young Anakin is not a leader in anything he does. He is a slave who takes orders. He pod races. It wasn't until later, as Anakin trains in the Jedi arts, that he is regarded among the leadership because of his special abilities as a Jedi.
4) Stogdill's 2nd survey reveals that both traits and situational factors were determinants of leadership
- In the movie, it was necessary for Anakin to win a pod racing event in order to help his new friends from the Republic to repair their ship and to give his mother the resources she needed for the benefit of their home. Anakin would use his heightened abilities to overcome the dangers of this treacherous race to solidify the win.
5) Kilpatrick and Locke (1991) concluded that individuals can be born w/ these traits, they can learn them, or both.
- Although Anakin has these traits, training is necessary to harness the powers of the Force
1) The Chosen One
- High concentration of medi-chlorians, strong with the force, and destined to alter things forever
- Conceived by the Force
2) Force Sensitivity
- Condition where a life form possesses a natural connection to the Force
- Established at birth
- Training is most efficient in early childhood to harness the Force
- This ability is established as being "biological"
3) The Force
- An energy field created by all living things
- Disturbances in the Force can be felt when there is:
a) death
b) Suffering on a massive scale
c) In the presence of a powerful Jedi or Sith (Force sensitive users who utilize the dark side of the Force)
4) Medi-Chlorians:
- microscopic life form that lives in all living cells
- Live symbiotically with its host
- Life cannot exist without them
- We would not have knowledge of the Force without them
- They continually speak to us, telling us the will of the Force
- Quieting our minds (meditation) helps us hear them speak to us
Why Use the Trait Approach in Ministry?
Trait Theory
How the Trait Theory can be / is used in ministry
to discover one's spiritual gifts.
Spiritual Gifts Video
Example: Results of Meghan's Spiritual Gifts Test
Christian Organizations and Ministries that utilize the Trait Approach:
What is a Spiritual Gifts Survey?
Spiritual gifts surveys are often used in ministry to determine one's strengths and weaknesses in ministry.
- For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. - Romans 12:4-8
To better understand ourselves and how we can use our gifts for God
- Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 4:10-11

- Page, 2011 states that "spiritual gifts inventories are self-assessment tools that have been developed to help Christians identify which of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible they possess."
- People who take the test have to answer a series of questions, rating whether the statement in the question is true of themselves or not.
- The test then determines a person's gifts based on their answers to the questions. Some tests may also reveal the person's weaknesses as well.
- Many churches and Christian organizations (including DBU) offer Spiritual Gifts surveys for leaders and members to help them understand their gifts and weaknesses and to better equip them for ministry.
- Other organizations believe that the best way to discover one's spiritual gifts is through experience.
- The World Race, a world missions organization based in Georgia, states on their website that "We live in a spiritual, kingdom-of-God reality, in which the Holy Spirit distributes gifts for the work to which he’s called us. Therefore, our discovery of these gifts must be a spiritual experience itself."
- They also believe that the best way to measure one's spiritual gifts is through the Word of God.
Discussion Questions:
1. Should someone take a spiritual gifts survey before entering ministry? Why or why not?

2. Have you ever worked in an organization that utilized trait theory for its leaders and employees? What was the experience like?

3. Do you believe that certain people are born with leadership qualities while others are not? Is it possible for someone to be an effective leader even if they do not possess what most people consider to be the necessary traits of leadership?
- Northouse, Peter G. "Trait Approach." Leadership: Theory and Practice. 7th ed. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2016. 19-42. Print.
- Page, Sydney. "The Assumptions behind Spiritual Gifts Inventories." Disdaskalia (2011): 39-59. Print.
- "Spiritual Gifts." Worldrace.org. The World Race - Adventures in Missions. Web. 12 Sept. 2015. <http://www.worldrace.org/?tab=about&subtab=spiritual-gifts>.
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