The leader trait perspective is perhaps the most venerable intellectual tradition in leadership research. Despite its early prominence in leadership research, it quickly fell out of favor among leadership scholars. Thus, despite recent empirical support for the perspective, conceptual work in the area lags behind other theoretical perspectives. Accordingly, the present review attempts to place the leader trait perspective in the context of supporting intellectual traditions, including evolutionary psychology and behavioral genetics. We present a conceptual model that considers the source of leader traits, mediators and moderators of their effects on leader emergence and leadership effectiveness, and distinguish between perceived and actual leadership effectiveness. We consider both the positive and negative effects of specific “bright side” personality traits: the Big Five traits, core self-evaluations, intelligence, and charisma. We also consider the positive and negative effects of “dark side” leader traits: Narcissism, hubris, dominance, and Machiavellianism.
The Leadership Quarterly – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2009
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