A Multistage Model of Leader Effectiveness: Uncovering the Relationships between Leader Traits and Leader Behaviors

Kate Ashley LaPort

Advisor: Stephen Zaccaro, PhD, Department of Psychology

Committee Members: Seth Kaplan, Michelle Marks

Buchanan Hall, #D101
December 04, 2012, 03:00 PM to 11:30 AM


The purpose of the current study was to respond to appeals in the literature for a better understanding of (1) the mechanisms through which leader attributes translate into leader effectiveness, (2) the relationships among the determinants themselves, (3) which types of traits (i.e., cognitive, social, personality, motivational) are important for predicting leader behaviors and leader effectiveness, and (4) how conceptualizing traits at the pattern level may complement existing variable-approach knowledge of determinants of leader effectiveness. Specifically, this study proposed and tested a multistage model of leader effectiveness in a sample of U.S. Army team leaders, squad leaders, and platoon sergeants who were rated on leadership behaviors and effectiveness by their subordinates. Findings indicate support for (1) the role of four types of traits (i.e., cognitive, personality, motivation, and social) in predicting leader behaviors and effectiveness and (2) a multistage model wherein distal leader traits influence the development of more proximal attributes such as social intelligence and motivation to lead, which in turn impact ratings of leader effectiveness through their manifestation on leader behaviors. Implications are discussed for future research.