Topics: Leadership, Psychology, Situational leadership theory Pages: 5 (1513 words) Published: March 30, 2013
What is leadership?
According to Shockley- Zalabak (2009) Leadership is a process of guiding individuals, groups, and entire organization in establishing goals and sustaining action to support goals. What exactly is meant by leadership? There are literally hundreds of definitions about who a leader is and what is considered as leadership. Each definition may vary from one individual to another and may change from one situation to the other. For example we might call an individual a leader because of the persons’ election to the presidency of an institution. Other times we say he/she is not a leader because he/she does not exhibit leadership behaviors expected of the of a leader. In other words, we expected leadership from the legitimate position of the presidency, but when that president does not exhibit leadership behaviors, we say that the president is not a leader. According to Yukl, (2002). The definition of leadership is arbitrary and very subjective. Some definitions are more useful than others, but there is no “correct” definition. Leadership theories:

Theories are most useful for influencing practice when they suggest new ways in which events and situations can be perceived. Fresh insight may be provided by focusing attention on possible interrelationship that the practice has failed to notice, which can be further explored and tested through empirical research. If the result is a better understanding of practice, the theory –practice gap is significantly reduced for those concerned. (Hughes and Bush, 1991, p.234). The trait theory

This theory first surfaced in the writings of early Greeks and Romans and is prevalent today among those who believe that leadership cannot be developed. This theory assumed that leaders has innate traits that made them effective, great leaders were considered to be born with the ability for leadership, so it is either you have leadership qualities or you don’t . According to Shockley – zalabak (2009) theory of leadership, that leaders possessed innate traits that made them effective; is commonly referred to as the “great man” theory Leadership traits theory is the idea that people are born with certain character trait or qualities and since traits are associated with proficient leadership, it assumes that if you could identify people with the correct traits, you will be able to identify leaders and people with leadership potential. It is considered that we are born naturally with traits as part of our personality; this theory in summary believes that leaders are born not made Criticism

Researches were done to define traits or personality characteristic that best predict the effective leader. List of about eighty traits or characteristic were gotten but trait approach failed to define clearly a stable set of characteristic associated with effective leadership. Even the concept of what is effective remains open to question. This theory does not prove a comprehensive explanation to how leaders interact with followers and meet the needs of specific circumstances. While truly others can be born leaders, it is incorrect to generalize by saying that leadership traits are in born and unchangeable. It’s true many of our dispositions and tendencies are influenced by our personalities and the way we are born. However, most people recognized that it is possible for someone to change their character trait for the worse. Someone known for being honest can learn to be deceitful, the whole idea of saying someone was “corrupted” is based on the fact that people can learn bad traits. If people can learn character traits and become different from the way they were born naturally traits can be learnt as well. A person who is prone to being dishonest can learn to be honest. A person who avoids risks can learn to take risk. It may not be easy, but it can be done.

Leadership style approach focuses its attention on the leaders’ behavior. “Leadership...
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