Traits and skills theories as the nexus between leadership and expertise: Reality or fallacy?



The assumption that effective leaders differ in some identifiable and fundamental ways from other people is still a large part of mainstream industrial-organizational psychology. Based on a research review on the trait theory of leadership and the concept of expertise, this article finds a convergence between leader and expert traits. Results suggest that leaders and experts may share similar characteristics, with expertise encompassing skills theory. Implications for performance improvement and human resource developers are discussed.