Leadership: The Leadership Theory And Trait Theory

818 Words 4 Pages
There are many theories to suggest what makes a good leader, but leadership is a broad term. For decades, it has accumulated many different definitions describing what makes a perfect leader of a group or an organisation. According to Howell and Costle (2001, p.4) leadership is a process used by an individual to influence group’s members towards the achievement of group goals, where the group members view the influence as legitimate. The leadership theories that this assessment will compare and contrast are the Great Man theory (1840), the Trait theory (1974), the Contingency theory (mid 1960s) and the Situational theory (1977). Each theory presents different ideas about how a leader is made, as well as how they become effective leaders.
The Great Man theory and Trait theory are solely based on the personalities and characteristics of a person. The Great-man theory was first of many theories to describe a type of leadership style; in 1840, Thomas Carlyle popularized this theory and stated that “leaders are born not made”. This theory was asserted from the behaviours of military figures in the 1800s (Leadership-Central 2013) and politicians as they were seen as the most dominant figures in society. Carlyle’s’ idea submits that leaders are pre-wired to be born with the traits of being an
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The idea behind this theory was to avoid being in one style mind-set. The duo proposed that leaders should learn to adapt from different situations, this is mainly due to industries and markets demanding for diverse leadership styles encourage and motivate followers. Moreover Bass and Stogdill‘s’ (1990) idea of the Situational leadership was always favoured in the United States, they wrote “situationalism was always favoured over the theory that leaders are born and not made”. Stodgill (1975) believed that a successful leader is a product of the situation, but cannot be inherited from a previous

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