The trait theory postulates that leaders are born rather than made. It emphasizes nature over nurture. Most research on trait theory is coalesced around the qualities of distinguished leaders compared to non-leaders or followers. Trait approach focuses on the type of people that become leaders, and this process provides organizations with information on the qualities to look for when selecting leaders for different positions of leadership (Conger& Riggio, 2012, pp. 12).
Style approach focuses on the behavior of leaders rather than personal traits of leaders. Style approach posits that since a leaders behavior can be changed, and. therefore, there is need to train leaders on the right leadership qualities. Stogdill et al worked on leadership style with a focus on consideration and initiating structure and define them two styles as follows: The consideration style is where leaders show concern for their subordinates so as to earn their trust and, as a result, improve response and promote camaraderie (Conger& Riggio, 2012, pp.14).
Initiating structure is a style where leaders define closely and clearly their expectations of subordinates in accomplishment of designated schedules. Some researchers have suggested that a combination of both consideration and initiating structure was the best leadership style. Korman in his study observed that the two styles were plagued by inconsistent results. He suggested that the effectiveness of the two types of leadership behavior was situation wise contingent. that is, what worked well in some situations failed in others (Gill 2012, pp. 63).
Proponents of the contingency approach emphasize on the situational factors when defining leadership. They tend to specify situational variables that moderate the effectiveness of different leadership approaches.