Evaluating Historical Views of Leadership Paper

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Evaluating Historical Views of Leadership
Chris Arbuckle
University of Phoenix
Leadership Theories and Practice
April Flanagan
September 06, 2014
Evaluating Historical Views of Leadership
How does a civilization attain the most effective leadership? More importantly what is considered effective leadership and who developed the theories surrounding it? These questions are debated through the ages of postmodern and modern civilization. Bass (1974) wrote that, "from its infancy, the study of history has been the study of leaders" (Wren, 1995, p. 50). Four of the godfathers of what is considered modern leadership theory are Plato, Aristotle, Lao-Tzu and Machiavelli. Over the course of this analysis, the leadership theories of each of these titans will be evaluated. Each view contains commonalities and disparities which offer conflicting perspectives on the complex topic of leadership throughout the ages of modern society. The goal is to broaden these views with critical evaluation, vetted scholarly sources and well-reasoned judgments. The conclusion arrived at will offer heighten awareness at the age old highly debated question; what is effective leadership? Plato vs Aristotle

Plato and Aristotle were both titans of Greek thought during the fourth century BCE Athens, and both shared similar experience and backgrounds. Partly this was because Plato was Aristotle’s teacher. Takala the author of Plato on Leadership states “Ancient Greece (400 B.C.) has been regarded as the home of systematic administrative thinking; it has been seen as the place where the Western administrative thinking was born” (Takala, 1998, p. 787). This fact cemented Plato’s title of godfather of modern leadership theory that presented a systematic political and administrative model linking what life could be in an ideal state (Takala, 1998). There are many parallels in Plato’s rhetoric that mirror contemporary leadership debate. The most glaring is the emphasis on...
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