The Psychodynamic Approach


Trait Theory




Example of both the Psychodynamic and Trait Approach

Situations including the trait and psychodynamic theories would be someone making unconscientious decisions based on their personality. For example, someone who very social is more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger than a shy person because their unconscious psychological process is telling them to do so. These processes explain why we make certain decisions, rational or not.


Both the trait theory and psychodynamic approach are subjective. The trait theory does not have a certain set of traits but rather a long list that a leader could have to influence individuals. Many researchers have tried to come up with lists of traits, but so far there has been no definite set of traits that defines a leader. The psychodynamic theory is subjective in that there is not much research to prove it credible. It is hard to prove that someone’s behavior is affected by their unconscious. Something that cannot be tested is much less credible.

What is the Trait Theory?

The trait theory focuses on characteristics and attributes of leaders and how these influence followers. According to this theory, traits can not be inherited. People are born with them.  While there is no definite list of traits a leader needs to have, the theory shows that leaders are “gifted” because they possess special traits. Some of these include dominance, intelligence, and motivation. Organizations can use this theory to decide what kind of people will have exceptional qualities for a certain job. Traits are intuitively appealing and have been considered credible due to the many years of research.

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