Individual Differences and Traits and Their Impact on Leadership Practices

Essay by LatifahUniversity, Bachelor's December 2007

download word file, 12 pages 5.0

Throughout the history leaders have always played crucial roles in wars, revolutions, demonstrations, protests and other important events. It is probably known by everyone that without a charismatic, ambitious and effective leader, who is able to attract the attention of people, to persuade and to make people follow them, none of these events would achieve any result. What is more, even a small group of people very often is not able to organise themselves without a leader who would guide them, give instructions and orders, supervise and monitor, and if necessary punish or award. In today's quickly evolving business environment more and more emphasis is being made on leadership. Moreover, lots of importance has always been given to the individual characteristics of leaders. Successful leaders are believed to have some certain individual traits that make them different and that help them to become successful. Long lists of such traits can be provided, however none of them represents the fully truly picture.

In this essay there will be discussed individual difference characteristics that distinguish individuals from one another and how these differences impact leadership practices. The main question of the essay is: are there any certain traits which make leaders effective and successful? Examples of some successful leaders and organisations will also be provided.

To begin with, there are three major individual difference characteristics that can affect the leadership style of a person: personality, values, and abilities and skills. Further all these aspects will be discussed more precisely, however the emphasis will be made on personality and values.

Personality is a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions, motivations, and behaviors in various situations. Personality is largely determined by either genetics or heredity, or by environment and experiences, or both. (4)...