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Historically, leadership played an extremely important role in the social and economic life of people because leadership contributed to the effective group management and lead groups of people to their common goals. In such a situation, leaders took the responsibility for a group of people, which they headed, and led the group to success through the organization of the group work and uniting group members in their mutual efforts to reach the group’s goals. Today, the role of leadership has become even more significant as social and economic relations have become more complex. At the same time, the progress of technologies and socioeconomic relations contributed to the growing importance of leaders in contemporary organizations because leaders can organize the work of their subordinates and help organizations to reach their goals successfully. On the other hand, requirements to leaders have increased consistently in recent years too because leaders should be capable to work effectively in diverse environment, while many organizations operate internationally in different socio-cultural contexts. Therefore, contemporary leadership maintains fundamental characteristics and requirements to leaders, which were developed in the past, but, today, leadership should also help leaders to cope with contemporary challenges they may face in their work to lead their subordinates and their organizations to success and to meet organizational goals effectively.
I. Leadership in the modern world
A. Theories of Leadership
In actuality, leadership has a diverse theoretical ground. To put it more precisely, in the course of the development of leadership as a theoretical concept, researchers (Wade, 2006) suggested different theoretical views on leadership and justification of the concept of leadership (Walton and Huey, 1996). They developed different theoretical frameworks, within which they attempted to explain the concept of leadership, the role and functions of leaders, their relations with subordinates and other important issues. At the same time, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that today, there is still no ideal theory, which provides explanation of leadership that would satisfy absolutely all researchers or theory, which all researchers would agree to accept as universal and absolutely true. In such a context, the analysis of different leadership theories may help to define the essence of leadership in the contemporary world. In this regard, it is possible to dwell upon the most significant and widely-spread leadership theories.
First of all, Great man theories imply that leaders are born not made (Brown, 2003). In such a way, Great man theories stand on the ground that individuals inherit their leadership inclinations and leadership skills, abilities and qualities cannot develop in the course of their development. In such a way, individuals inherit leadership but this theory is relatively limited because leadership is bound to the heritage denying the impact of social environment on the leader.
At the same time, Trait theories are close to Great man theories because they view leadership as inherited quality of individuals but these theories view leadership as inherited traits of character, which an individual can develop in the course of his or her life (Sullivan, 2004). Unlike Great man theories, Trait theories view leadership qualities not a characteristic of unique individuals but leadership qualities are attributed to individuals, who have a set of leadership traits of character.
Contingency theories stand on the ground that leadership depends on the individual’s environment (Maak and Pless, 2006). To put it more precisely, depending on the environment, an individual can develop certain leadership style. Contingency theories are quite different from Great man theories and Trait theories because contingency theories stress the role of the social environment of individuals under the impact of which they can develop leadership skills and abilities. For instance, individuals can develop leadership skills and abilities, if they have a leadership behavior pattern or when they have to take the lead to succeed in their personal or professional development. In such a way, the environment of individuals shape their leadership skills and abilities or, on the contrary, if individuals are deprived of leadership patterns of behavior, they lack leadership skills and abilities.