Great Leaders in the History of New York

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Sheila Joseph

DNY Leadership Assignment

November 10, 2010

Great Leaders in the History of New York

“The very essence of leadership is its purpose. And the purpose of leadership is to accomplish a task. That is what leadership does-and what it does is more important than what it is or how it works.” This quote by Colonel Dandridge M. Malone, shows that leadership needs to be focused on what it accomplishes instead of just being leadership for leadership’s sake. To me, a leader is simply someone who has a mind of their own; someone who sets their own path instead of following another’s.

Early leadership theories focused on what qualities and traits really set leaders apart from followers. Subsequent theories look at other variables. For example, skill level and situational factors. The great man, trait, influence, behavioral, reciprocal, and social are six of the most common leadership theories developed from the late 1800’s.

“You’re a natural born leader.” This is a statement that has been said thousands of times. However, are people actually ‘born’ to lead? The Great Man theory suggests that great leaders possess certain traits that are inherited through birth. Earlier leadership was considered as a quality found in males and therefore the theory got its name. It is assumed that in times of need, a great man will arise. This theory portrays leaders as heroic and mythic characters destined to rise to leadership when necessary.

Like the Great Man theory, Trait theory of leadership assume that people inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. Trait theories often identify certain characteristics or personality types shared by leaders. Traits are considered to be naturally part of a person’s character from the time they are born. From this standpoint, leadership trait theory assumes that people are born as leaders or not as leaders. Since certain traits are associated with leadership, if...
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