Leadership Theories : The Great Man Theory Essay

1178 Words 5 Pages
Although we’ve had leaders and leadership throughout the human history, people haven’t always been as focused on examining the differences in leadership. The real boom in leadership theories started in the 20th century, when more focus began pouring in to solving the great mysteries of effective and good leadership.
Leadership theories are often categorised based on what the theory believes to be the defining trait or characteristic of the leader or the framework he or she uses. While there are a number of theories, the most popular theories include: the Great Man Theory, Trait Theories, Behavioural Theories, Contingency Theories, Transactional Theories, and Transformational Theories. Each of these categories has various leadership styles, which can slightly differ from each other, but nonetheless, belong to the core group. Let’s examine the theories and the assumptions they make about leadership.

The Great Man Theory

The Great Man Theory is among the oldest leadership theories and it evolved during the mid-19th century. The premise of the leadership theory was essentially the argument that great leaders are born with intrinsic traits. It argued leaders aren’t developed or taught, but you quite simply either have the qualities and characteristics to be a great leader or you don’t. Furthermore, as the name implies, the leadership theory assumed only a man would have these intrinsic qualities – females are not born to lead.
The theory became especially popular after Thomas…

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