Essay on Military Leadership
"Great Man" Theory
The Great Man theory was highly popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. The mythology behind some famous leaders such as Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander the Great and Mahatma Gandhi helped contribute to the idea that great leaders are not made, but born. Great Man theory states that the capacity for leadership is inherent and hereditary. This theory often portrays great leaders as heroic, mythic and destined to rise to leadership when needed. This term "Great Man" was used because leaders were only men and leadership was a predominantly male quality, especially in terms of military leadership (Wheeler, 2000).
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the great man theory transitioned into the trait theory. This theory assumed that the qualities and traits of leaders are different from the qualities and traits of people who are not able to lead. This combination of specific qualities then enables those people who have them to become good leaders. For example, traits such as courage or self-confidence are all characteristics that could potentially be associated with great leaders. Ralph Stogdill, a Professor of Management Science and Psychology at Ohio State University, internationally known for his research and publications on leadership and organizations has studied this theory. He has concluded that such