The notion that good leaders can learn skills through a dynamic learning experience is supported by other researchers; for example, Rodd (2006, p.13) proposes that practitioners within the Early Years profession can become leaders through ‘demonstrating increasing competence’ and by developing the personal skills necessary to become a leader. [Accessed 7 September 2019]; Available from: https://
Daly and Byers (2004, p.7) suggest that good leaders will also ensure that employees have the opportunity for training and professional development which in turn may help them to become good leaders.
A problem with both trait theories and contingency theories is that they appear to focus on the characteristics of the leader and do not consider the characteristics of, the interactions with, or the role of, subordinates.
Contingency theory does not explain why some leaders are better in certain situations than other leaders and also how organisations deal with a mismatch between leaders and certain situations (Northouse, 2013, p.129).
Even early theorists such as Taylor (1911, p.7) argued that good leaders are not born and required systematic training instead of being reliant on ‘some unusual or extraordinary man’.
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It is further argued by Zaccaro (2007, p.10) that because being a good leader is complex there is probably an interaction of the leader’s characteristics as well as an interaction with the variables present in different situations and contexts.
Theories such as Fiedler’s contingency theory (Fiedler 1967, cited in Northouse, 2013, pp.123-125) were developed primarily with leaders in the military and focused on how compatible the characteristics and style of the leader were with a specific situation.
Thus, ‘effective leadership is contingent on matching a leader’s style to the right setting (Northouse, 2013, p.123).
According to Zaccaro, (2007, p.6) trait theories are not able to explain how leaders’ characteristics adapt to different situations and contexts and thus a major criticism of trait theories is that they do not consider the wider context of culture, society or the interactions with the characteristics of subordinates (Zaccaro, 2007, p.7).
Examining the characteristics of good leaders implies that leaders innately possess certain personality traits although it could be suggested that some good leaders can learn through experience (Bryman, Collinson, Grint, Jackson and Uhl-Bien, 2011, p.78).