Oprah Winfrey as a Contemporary Leader

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Born in rural Mississippi into a broken home, Oprah Winfrey challenged her circumstances and developed into an actress, producer and highly influential host of the award-winning The Oprah Winfrey Show. The power of media enabled her to enlighten millions of viewers and develop into a “global media leader,” while her accomplishments and philanthropic endeavors have established her as a respected leader in the public eye.4 Oprah’s various skills and traits qualify her for both leadership theories, the trait and skill approach.

In trait approach studies, the most important traits were intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability.2 Oprah’s first illustrations of leadership come from her personality traits that assisted her in achieving her goals. As an unwanted child raised by her grandmother, Oprah experienced a childhood of unstablility and molestation by male relatives.3 Hurt, she turned rebellious and moved in with her father as a teenager.3 Then, Oprah’s true leadership traits were exhibited as she excelled in school and was able to pursue her dream of working with media. She started in broadcasting, but her passion for sharing her emotions with people led her to talk shows.4 Considering the trait approach, Oprah’s intelligence in the classroom, optimism and determination were traits that helped her succeed as a leader in developing into the producer and host of her top-rated talk show.

Furthermore, leadership traits described by the five-factor personality model apply to Oprah because she is extremely extraverted with a welcoming, relatable personality and values interacting with all people.2 I believe she also exhibits conscientiousness for she has expanded her empire gradually requiring thorough planning to build her company, producing movies and TV shows, multiple charitable foundations, a magazine, a radio channel and a website.1 Other leadership qualities include openness, low neuroticism, and agreeableness and I believe...
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