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Trait Theory of

Course Objectives

Leadership studies on
What is Trait
and Trait
Trait Theory Exploring Personality Approach
behavioral Approach
Trait Theory Synopsis theory

Leadership studies on
What is Trait
and Trait
Trait Theory Exploring Personality Approach
behavioral Approach
Trait Theory Synopsis theory
What is Trait theory?

Scholars taking the trait

approach attempted to identify
physiological (appearance, height, Successful leaders definitely have
and weight), demographic (age, interests, abilities, and personality
education and socioeconomic traits that are different from
The trait model of leadership is
background), personality, self- those of the less effective leaders.
based on the characteristics of
confidence, and aggressiveness), Through many researches
both successful and unsuccessful -
intellective (intelligence, conducted in the last three
and is used to predict leadership
decisiveness, judgment, and decades of the 20th century, a set
effectiveness. The traits are
knowledge), task-related of core traits of successful leaders
compared to assess their
(achievement drive, initiative, and have been identified. These traits
likelihood of success or failure
persistence), and social are essentially seen as
characteristics (sociability and preconditions that endow people
cooperativeness) with leader with leadership potential
emergence and leader

© Management Excellence Center

Definition of Trait theory

e t ra it s are
S om
ul ar ly s u ited to
Leaders possess leadership
t certain key
rs are b orn, no
Leade personality traits
made which identify them
as natural leaders

a ke g ood
e o p l e wh o m r i g ht
P t h e
a d e rs have aits
le n o f t r

© Management Excellence Center

The Great Man Theory

• The trait approach of leadership began with the Great Man theory

• The Great Man theory is a philosophical theory that aims to

explain history by the impact of “great men”, or heroes with
certain characteristics
• The Great Man theory assumes that great leaders will arise when
there is a great need

Thomas Carlyle (1795 – Researched the traits and Scholarly followers of the Great
1881): Scottish writer, leadership of such men as Man theory today would study
essayist, and historian who Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the lives of such men as Sir
wrote the book Heroes and Shakespeare, Martin Luther, Winston Churchill, Franklin D.
Hero Worship Napoleon Bonaparte, etc. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and
Adolf Hitler from the Second
World War
© Management Excellence Center
The Trait Theory
Three questions that guided trait theory research prior to World War II:

a re t h e common
Which g all great
n d er l yi n
traits u

Can we
leadersh predict p
ip poten eople’s
of these tial o
appropr n the basis
iate trai
t s?

l e lear n to become
Can peop aders?
effective le

© Management Excellence Center

Identification of core traits

Self-confidence: Belief in one’s

self, ideas, and ability

Cognitive ability: Capable of exercising

Honesty and integrity: good judgment, strong analytical
trustworthy, reliable, and open abilities, and conceptually skilled
Leadership motivation: an
intense desire to lead others to
reach shared goals
Achievement drive: High level Knowledge of business: Knowledge of
of effort, high levels of industry and other technical matters
ambition, energy and initiative
Emotional Maturity: well adjusted, does not
suffer from severe psychological disorders.

Others: charisma, creativity and flexibility

© Management Excellence Center


Leadership studies on
What is Trait
and Trait
Trait Theory Exploring Personality Approach
behavioral Approach
Trait Theory Synopsis theory
Strengths of Trait theory


It is naturally pleasing theory

It is valid as lot of research has

validated the foundation and basis
of the theory.

It serves as a yardstick against

which the leadership traits of an
individual can be assessed.

It gives a detailed knowledge and

understanding of the leader
element in the leadership process.

© Management Excellence Center

Weaknesses of Trait theory


There is bound to be some subjective

judgment in determining who is regarded as
a ‘good’ or ‘successful’ leader
The list of possible traits tends to be very
long. More than 100 different traits of
successful leaders in various leadership
positions have been identified. These
descriptions are simply generalities
There is also a disagreement over which
traits are the most important for an
effective leader
The model attempts to relate physical traits
such as, height and weight, to effective
leadership. Most of these factors relate to
situational factors

© Management Excellence Center

Managers can utilize the
The trait theory gives information from the theory to
constructive information about evaluate their position in the
leadership. It can be applied by organization and to assess how
people at all levels in all types of their position can be made
organization stronger in the organization.
They can get an in-depth under-
standing of their identity and the
way they will affect others in the This theory makes the
organization manager aware of their
strengths and weaknesses
and thus they get an
understanding of how
they can develop their
leadership qualities

© Management Excellence Center

Stogdill’s list of traits and skills

Leadership traits Leadership skills

• Adaptable to situations • Clever (intelligent)
• Alert to social environment • Conceptually skilled
• Ambitious and achievement oriented
• Creative
• Assertive
• Cooperative • Diplomatic and tactful

• Decisive • Fluent in speaking

• Dependable • Knowledgeable about group task
• Dominant (desire to influence others)
• Organized (administrative ability)
• Energetic (high activity level)
• Persuasive
• Persistent
• Self-confident • Socially skilled
• Tolerant of stress
• Willing to assume responsibility

© Management Excellence Center

The Army and Leadership
Leadership is not a term that’s easily or simply
For decades, scholars, business leaders, and
organizational researchers have continually refined
the definition of leadership—based on their findings
and experience, and the latest real-world models
and situations. The variety of their theories about
leadership stems from leadership’s
multidimensional nature.
In its continual search for improvement and for the
most efficient and effective leaders, the Army also
began to reevaluate its application of leadership
principles. The Army drew on several contemporary
leadership theories from business and academia to
develop its own leadership framework and
definition of what leadership entails.
Today, the Army defines leadership as influencing
people by providing purpose, direction, and
motivation, while operating to accomplish the
mission and improve the organization

© Management Excellence Center

Relationship among leadership variables

Leader traits Leader Influence attitudes Performance
and skills behaviors processes and outcomes


© Management Excellence Center

Behavioral theory
Researchers define
As the questions about how behaviors as observable Trait theory assumes
to measure traits continued actions, which makes that a leader is born
to challenge trait theory, measuring them more with specific traits Your actions—what
researchers began thinking scientifically valid than that make him or her you do—define your
about measuring behavior trying to measure a human a good leader leadership ability
personality trait

While you can’t easily measure Behavioral theory Behavioral theory, on

confidence or loyalty in a contains some very the other hand,
person, they noted, you can different assumptions assumes that you can
define a behavior or a set of from trait theory learn to become a good
behaviors that seem to embody leader because you are
the trait not drawing on
personality traits
© Management Excellence Center
Two key studies

Both trait and behavioral theory contained significant limitations. But

two important studies in behavioral theory at the University of
Michigan and the Ohio State University became famous in the next
generation of leadership research. These studies identified two key
behavioral categories—orientation toward task and orientation toward

© Management Excellence Center

The Michigan Studies
The Michigan studies, which began in the late 1950s, found three
critical characteristics of effective leaders

First, they identified task-oriented behavior in managers who did

not do the same types of tasks as their subordinates. This group of
managers spent time planning, coordinating, and overseeing their
subordinates’ execution of tasks

A second type of leader exhibited relationship-oriented behavior.

These managers concentrated on the task results, but also developed
relationships with their subordinates. They were supportive and
focused on internal rewards as well as external rewards

The third style of leadership was participative leadership. Here, the

manager facilitated rather than directed, working to build a
cohesive team to achieve team results rather than focusing on
© Management Excellence Center
The Ohio State Studies

The Ohio State studies also

examined leaders’ task versus
people orientation. These
studies dubbed task-oriented
behavior “initiating structure,”
and people-oriented behavior

© Management Excellence Center

Managerial studies
The leadership grid


Country club Team

management management

Middle of the road

CONCERN management

Impoverished Authority-
management compliance

© Management Excellence Center

Leadership styles and their key characteristics

Country Club Management—These

managers exhibit a high concern for
people and building a friendly
environment. They have a lower
concern with the task and with
getting things done
Middle-of-the-Road Management—These
leaders have minimal focus on people and
task. Their main concern is preserving the
status quo. They do what must be done,
but do not set high standards or raise the bar
for performance
Authority-Compliance Management—These managers
have a high concern for task and emphasize productivity
and efficiency at all times

Impoverished Management—These managers take a lazy

approach to leadership. They have little regard for people or task
and are very poor managers

Team Management—These leaders are the most effective

managers. They are highly focused both on people and task and
they maintain high performance standards
© Management Excellence Center

Leadership studies on
What is Trait
and Trait
Trait Theory Exploring Personality Approach
behavioral Approach
Trait Theory Synopsis theory
The Functionally Autonomous Central Traits
Gordon Allport was born in Indiana, the youngest of four boys.  As a child he felt
different from others, both in his childhood play and his interests.  After high
school , he followed his older brother Floyd through the same educational path. 
They went to the same undergraduate program, both attended Harvard for
graduate school, and both majored in psychology.  Floyd made a name for
himself in social psychology, but Gordon felt like an outsider in this arena.  
Gordon was interested in personality, and at the time, personality was not a
formal sub-discipline of psychology and it certainly was not as fashionable as
social psychology.  It is likely that Gordon followed his brother through school in
an attempt to find himself.  He reported feeling different from others, including
his older brother.  This feeling, however, might have helped him succeed in his
chosen profession.
He completed his doctorate, began studying personality.  It is said that he was
the first professor to teach a college level course on personality theory, a course
that today is required by nearly all undergraduate psychology majors. 

© Management Excellence Center

The Functionally Autonomous Central Traits

Allport is considered a trait theorist as he believed that every person has a small
number of specific traits that predominate in his or her personality.  He called
these a person's central traits.  While these central traits share in the make-up of
personality, he also argued that occasionally one of them becomes an apparent
dominant force.  He called this a person's cardinal trait
Both the central traits and the occasional cardinal trait are environmentally
influenced.  As a child develops, specific behaviors and interactions become a
part of the individual's personality.  As the person grows, these traits become
functionally autonomous.  In other words, they become so much a part of the
person that they no longer require whatever it was that caused it to develop.

© Management Excellence Center

Personality Factors
Raymond B. Cattell entered the field of psychology almost against his own better judgment.  After working in
a hospital during World War I, he decided that understanding human behavior and interaction is the only way
to get beyond the irrationality of the times.  While a graduate student at London University, he was hired as a
research assistant to Charles Spearman, a mathematician studying the quantification of intelligence

Spearman, a well known name in the field of intellectual assessment, developed a mathematical formula
known as factor analysis.  This statistical technique allows one to take raw data and determine groupings of
data.  In other words, if you and many others took a general test that had both math and English questions, a
factor analysis would likely determine that there were two factors or groupings on this test.  Imagine the
power of this technique for lesser understood concepts such as intelligence and personality

By developing questionnaires and tests consisting of personality characteristics, and analyzing data from
report cards of students, evaluations from employees, etc., Cattell applied this new statistical technique.  In
1949, he published his findings in an assessment device known as the 16PF.  According to Cattell's research,
human personality traits could be summarized by 16 personality factors (PF) or main traits. 
He described these 16 traits on a continuum.  In other words, everybody has some degree of every trait,
according to Cattell.  The key to assessment is determining where on the continuum an individual falls

Let us see the 16 traits in the next slide

© Management Excellence Center
Cattell's 16 Personality Factors
Abstractedness Imaginative versus practical
Apprehension Insecure versus complacent
Dominance Aggressive versus passive
Emotional Stability Calm and stable versus high-strung
Liveliness Enthusiastic versus serious
Openness to Change Liberal versus traditional
Perfectionism Compulsive and controlled versus indifferent
Privateness Pretentious versus unpretentious
Reasoning Abstract versus concrete
Rule Consciousness Moralistic versus free-thinking
Self-Reliance Leader versus follower
Sensitivity Sensitive versus tough-minded
Social Boldness Uninhibited versus timid
Tension Driven and tense versus relaxed and easy going
Vigilance Suspicious versus accepting
Warmth Open and warmhearted versus aloof and critical

© Management Excellence Center

The OCEAN of personality
Many different researchers, from different schools of thought have studied the aspects of personality
and several interesting similarities have evolved.  While different theorists may use different
terminology, five factors or personality traits have shown up in a rather consistent pattern

Openness to experience refers to the

O dimension ranging from outgoing,
C liberal, interested in new things, and
imaginative to reserved, conservative,
E traditional, and conforming
Conscientiousness refers to the continuum
A ranging from organized, careful, and
determined to careless, and weak willed
Extroversion refers to a person who prefers group
N activities, group sports, large gatherings, lots of friends
and acquaintances, loud music, and social endeavors
Agreeableness represents the extremes of stubborn
versus easy going or suspicious versus trusting
Finally, neuroticism refers to the dimension of emotional stability. 
Someone high on neuroticism would exhibit an instability in his or her
emotions, interactions, and relationships

© Management Excellence Center

Application of Trait Theory
One of the most obvious applications of understanding human traits is our
ability to then measure these traits.  We've discussed some of the assessment
devices based on trait theory: The Thematic Apperception Test, 16PF, and tests
designed to measure the OCEAN personality.  Most of the assessment devices
that result from trait theory are self-report type tests

If you are taking a test for a sales job and asked questions
regarding your level of extroversion/ introversion, is it likely that
you might lie or stretch the truth a little to get the job?  If you
are an introvert, you may feel this would hinder your chances. 
So instead, you respond positively to the extrovert questions
such as "I prefer social activities to solitary activities, " or "I enjoy
being the center of attention" 

One assessment device that has attempted to address

these issues is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
Inventory.  The MMPI-2 consists of 567 item to which a
test taker responds either true or false.  The response
styles or factors have been determined based on
statistics and depending on how you respond, you will
fall on a continuum of an increasing number of traits

© Management Excellence Center


Leadership studies on
What is Trait
and Trait
Trait Theory Exploring Personality Approach
behavioral Approach
Trait Theory Synopsis theory
Theory X and Theory Y
Theory X Theory Y
Humans inherently dislike People view work as being
working and will try to as natural as play and rest.
avoid if they can Humans expend the same
amount of physical and
mental effort in their work
as in their private lives

Because people dislike Provided people are

work they have to be motivated, they will be
coerced or controlled by self-directing to the aims
management and of organization. Control
threatened, so they work and punishment are not
hard enough only the mechanisms to
let people perform
Job satisfaction is key to
Average employees
engaging employees and
want to be directed
ensuring their

© Management Excellence Center

Theory X and Theory Y
Theory X Theory Y

People do not like People learn to accept

responsibility responsibility and seek
responsibility. Average
humans, under proper
conditions, will not only
accept, but even naturally
seek responsibility

Average human are clear People are imaginative

and unambiguous and and creative. Their
want to feel secure at ingenuity should be used
work to solve problems at
Shop floor, mass Professional services,
manufacturing, knowledge workers,
production workers managers and

© Management Excellence Center

Theory X and Theory Y
Theory X Theory Y

Conducive to

Large scale efficient Management of

operations professionals;
participative in
complex problem-
solving techniques
Management style

Authoritarian, hard Participative, soft

management management

© Management Excellence Center

Continuum of leadership behavior – McGregor’s theory

Subordinate centred
Boss centred

Use of authority by

Area of freedom by

• • • • • • •

Makes and Seeks Presents ideas Presents Presents Define Permits

announces decision and invites tentative problem, gets limits; asks subordinates
decision questions decision suggestions, group for to function
subject to makes decision within
change decision superior
defined limits
© Management Excellence Center
Significant leadership traits

More Original
sociable Aggressive (creative) Popular Humorous

Intelligent and Responsible and Able to take

persistent Alert Insightful self-confident initiative

Effective leadership often relies upon certain traits held by the leader. Overall, individuals
within leadership roles tend to differ from group members in several important ways. These
leadership traits are important, but it should be noted that individuals do not become
leaders solely because they possess certain traits. More accurately, the traits a leader
possesses need to be relevant to the situation in which the leader is performing. So
leadership effectiveness is based upon the working relationship between the leader and
other group members
© Management Excellence Center
Individual Differences Framework (IDF)
• Genes
• Race/Ethnicity
• Gender
Heredity Individual

and skills

Environment Leadership
styles and
• Culture/Education
• Parental Influence
• Physical Environnent

Leadership can be defined relatively straightforwardly as influencing people towards a

shared goal; in this definition, every leader is still unique. What makes every leader
special is a combination of factors, including demographic, physical, psychological and
behavioral differences
© Management Excellence Center
Individual characteristics – the four categories
d a stable set of
er e Value
a l it y is consid ; these specific s
Pe rs on
a racteristics gh they may prefe are stabl
ica l c h ren e, lo
phys ta ble, altho
u by pa ces that a ng-lastin
re s
feature s a
ra d ua lly over time rents r g
, upb e shaped beliefs or
evolve g r i ng i n e
g and arly in life

Abilities a
natural or
nd skills c
an be defi a vi or is the final
acquired t
n ed a s a
rs h ip st y le and be e w o rk. These
something lent for do L e a de F fr a m
. Ability is
natural an
m po ne n t of the ID d e b y th e leader
co a
stable d n a l choices m hip style and
and chang ; skills are acquired are p e rs o
of leaders
e with trai t h e t y p e co r d in g to the
ning and as to it a c
experience io r t h e y will exhib
beha v

© Management Excellence Center

Five-Factor Personality Model and Leadership
Personality is a main component of a leader’s personal characteristics and
plays a significant role within the Individual Differences Framework
The tendency to be sociable Agreeableness
and assertive and to have The tendency to be accepting,
positive energy conforming, trusting and

Neuroticism Openness Conscientiousness

The tendency to be The tendency to be The tendency to be thorough,
depressed, anxious, informed, creative, organized, controlled,
insecure, vulnerable, insightful, and curious dependable, and decisive
and hostile
All leaders exhibit each of these personality factors to some degree, and
it appears that having certain personality traits is associated with being a
more effective leader
© Management Excellence Center
Leadership trait exercises
What leadership traits do I feel I exhibit strongly? List the top 5
____________ , _____________, _____________, ___________, ____________

Consider the statement “You cannot train leaders to develop ability, but you
can train for leadership skills; therefore, recruit and hire leaders with specific
abilities and then train them to exhibit the desired skills.”
What specific abilities do you feel are important (or would you recruit for) for
volunteers to have within your group or organization?

____________ , _____________, _____________, ___________, ____________

What specific leadership skills do you consider important to train volunteers for
within your group or organization?
____________ , _____________, _____________, ___________, ____________

© Management Excellence Center


Leadership studies on
What is Trait
and Trait
Trait Theory Exploring Personality Approach
behavioral Approach
Trait Theory Synopsis theory
Stogdill’s 10 leadership characteristics

1. Drive for responsibility and task completion;

2. Vigor and persistence in pursuit of goals;
3. Risk taking and originality in problem solving;
4. Drive to exercise initiative in social situations;
5. Self-confidence and sense of personal identity;
6. Willingness to accept consequences of decision and
7. Readiness to absorb interpersonal stress;
8. Willingness to tolerate frustration and delay;
9. Ability to influence other people’s behavior; and
10.Capacity to structure social interaction systems to
the purpose at hand

© Management Excellence Center

Studies of leadership traits and characteristics
Stogdill (1948) Stogdill (1974) Kirkpatrick and Locke
Intelligence Achievement (1991)
Alertness Persistence Drive
Insight Insight Motivation
Responsibility Initiative Integrity
Initiative Self-confidence Confidence
Persistence Responsibility Cognitive ability
Self-confidence Cooperativeness Task knowledge
Sociability Tolerance

Mann (1959) Zaccaro, Kemp and Bader (2004)

Intelligence Lord, DeVader, and
Cognitive abilities Motivation
Masculinity Alliger, (1986)
Extroversion Social intelligence
Adjustment Intelligence
Coscientousness Social-monitoring
Dominance Masculinity
Emotional stability Emotional
Extroversion Dominance
Openness intelligence
Conservatism Agreeableness Problem solving
© Management Excellence Center
Major leadership traits
ce or
Intelligen s
te l le c t ual ability i
in ated to con Self-
ve ly re l Self-confidence is another
positi fid
nce en
ce trait that helps one to be a
l lig leader

is a
Sociability on to

a de r ’s i nclinati
e k o u t pleasant
i al r e lationships m i nation is
so c D et e r
the desire one

get the jo

and inclu


s th e such as in
Integrity i nesty y persistenc
ho rit
quality of Int
e g a nc e, and
d t rust w orthiness d o mi n
an drive

© Management Excellence Center


Leadership studies on
What is Trait
and Trait
Trait Theory Exploring Personality Approach
behavioral Approach
Trait Theory Synopsis theory
Case Study 1: Choosing a new director for R&D


Sandra Coke is vice president for research and development at Great Lakes Foods
(GLF), a large snack food company that has approximately 1,000 employees. As a
result of a recent reorganization, Sandra must choose the new director of research

The director will report directly to Sandra and will be responsible for developing and
testing new products. The research division of GLF employs about 200 people

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 1: Choosing a new director for R&D
The choice of directors is important because Sandra is receiving
pressure from the president and board of GLF to improve the
company’s overall growth and productivity

Sandra has identified three candidates for the

position. Each candidate is at the same managerial
level. She is having difficulty choosing one of them
because each has very strong credentials


Alexa Kelsey
Smith Metts

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 1: Choosing a new director for R&D
Sandra talking
about Alex’s

Alexa Smith is a long-time employee of GLF who started part-time in the

mailroom while in high school. After finishing school, Alexa worked in as
many as 10 different positions throughout the company to become
manager of new product marketing. Performance reviews of Alexa’s work
have repeatedly described her as being very creative and insightful. In
her tenure at GLF, Alexa has developed and brought to market four new
product lines. Alexa is also known throughout GLF as being very
persistent about her work: When she starts a project she stays with it
until it is finished. It is probably this quality that accounts for the success
of each of the four new products with which she has been involved

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 1: Choosing a new director for R&D
Sandra talking
about Kelsey

Kelsey Metts, who has been with GLF for 5 years and is manager of
quality control for established products. Kelsey has a reputation of being
very bright. Before joining GLF, she received her MBA at Harvard,
graduating at the top of her class. People talk about Kelsey as the kind of
person who will be president of her own company someday. Kelsey is
also very personable. On all her performance reviews, she received extra-
high scores on sociability and human relations. There isn’t a supervisor in
the company who doesn’t have positive things to say about how
comfortable it is to work with Kelsey. Since joining GLF, Kelsey has been
instrumental in bringing two new product lines to market

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 1: Choosing a new director for R&D
Sandra talking


Thomas has been with GLF for 10 years and is often consulted by upper
management regarding strategic planning and corporate direction setting.
Thomas has been very involved in establishing the vision for GLF and is a
company person all the way. He believes in the values of GLF, and actively
promotes its mission. The two qualities that stand out above the rest in
Thomas’s performance reviews are his honesty and integrity. Employees
who have worked under his supervision consistently report that they feel
they can trust Thomas to be fair and consistent. Thomas is highly
respected at GLF. In his tenure at the company, Thomas has been involved
in some capacity with the development of three new product lines

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 1: Choosing a new director for R&D

o o se
oose ch
ch m to
o mt Wh

o o se
Sandra ch
m to

Alexa Kelsey
Smith Metts

The challenge confronting Sandra is to choose the best person for the newly
established director’s position. Because of the pressure she feels from upper
management, Sandra knows she must select the best leader for the new position

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 1: Choosing a new director for R&D

Based on the information provided about the trait

approach, which candidate should Sandra Coke select?


In what ways is the trait approach helpful in this type of


In what ways are the weaknesses of the trait approach

highlighted inthis case?

Now, let us see another case study on Trait Approach

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround

Carol Baines was married for 20 years to the owner of

the Baines Company until he died in a car accident.
After his death, Carol decided not to sell the business
but to try to run it herself


Before the accident, her only

involvement in the business
was in informal discussions
with her husband over dinner,
although she has a college
degree in business, with a
major in management
Carol Baines

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround

Bain’s Company Office supplies

Baines Company was one of three office supply stores in a city with a
population of 200,000 people. The other two stores were owned by
national chains. Baines was not a large company, and employed only five
people. Baines had stable sales of about $200,000 a year, serving mostly
the smaller companies in the city. The firm had not grown in a number of
years and was beginning to feel the pressure of the advertising and lower
prices of the national chains

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround

For the first 6 months, Carol spent her time familiarizing herself with the
employees and the operations of the company. Next, she did a citywide
analysis of companies that had reason to purchase office supplies. Based
on her understanding of the company’s capabilities and her assessment of
the potential market for their products and services, Carol developed a
specific set of short-term and long-term goals for the company. Behind all
of her planning, Carol had a vision that Baines could be a viable, healthy,
and competitive company. She wanted to carry on the business that her
husband had started, but more than that she wanted it to grow

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround
Over the first 5 years, Carol invested significant amounts of money
in advertising, sales, and services. These efforts were well spent
because the company began to show rapid growth immediately.
Because of the growth, the company hired another 20 people



g s
s sin nes
se e
As ectiv
d Eff

Ad e
Advertising m Costs

The expansion at Baines was particularly remarkable because of another major hardship Carol
had to confront

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround

Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer a year

after her husband died. The treatment for her
cancer included 2 months of radiation therapy and
6 months of strong chemotherapy. Although the
side effects included hair loss and fatigue, Carol
continued to manage the company throughout the
Carol ordeal. Despite her difficulties, Carol was
successful. Under the strength of her leadership,
the growth at Baines continued for 10 consecutive
© Management Excellence Center
Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround
Carol Carol

Interviews with new and old employees at Baines revealed much about Carol’s
leadership. Employees said that Carol was a very solid person. She cared deeply
about others and was fair and considerate. They said she created a family-like
atmosphere at Baines. Few employees had quit Baines since Carol took over. Carol
was devoted to all the employees, and she supported their interests. Others
described Carol as a strong person. Even though she had cancer, she continued to
be positive and interested in them. She did not get depressed about the cancer and
its side effects, even though coping with cancer was difficult. Employees said she
was a model of strength, goodness, and quality

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround

At age 55, Carol turned the business over to her two

sons. She continues to act as the president but does not
supervise the day-to-day operations


The company is doing more than $3.1

million in sales, and it outpaces the other
two chain stores in the city

© Management Excellence Center

Case Study 2: A remarkable turnaround

How would you describe Carol’s leadership traits?

How big a part did Carol’s traits play in the

expansion of the company?

Would Carol be a leader in other business contexts?

© Management Excellence Center


• The traits approach gives rise to questions: whether leaders are born
or made; and whether leadership is an art or science.
• The trait theory gives constructive information about leadership. It
can be applied by people at all levels in all types of organizations.
• Managers can utilize the information from the theory to evaluate
their position in the organization and to assess how their position
can be made stronger in the organization.
• Traits theory makes the manager aware of their strengths and
weaknesses and thus they get an understanding of how they can
develop their leadership qualities.
• Traits are not responsible solely to identify whether a person will be
a successful leader or not, but they are essentially seen as
preconditions that endow people with leadership potential.

© Management Excellence Center