Proponents of trait theories believe that a leader is “born.” They often describe leaders in terms of their personal characteristics, such as “charismatic” and “driven.” Behaviorists believe leadership can be taught, or nurtured, by providing the necessary skills to an individual to be an effective leader.
There are no universal traits that predict in all situations. Traits predict behavior more in “weak” situations than in “strong” situations. The evidence is unclear in separating cause from effect. Finally, traits do a better job at predicting the appearance of leadership than in actually distinguishing between effective and ineffective leaders. These limitations have led researchers to look in other directions.