LEADERSHIP THEORIES 1**Leadership itself, has been accompanied throughout time, by numerous theories, all claiming to answer the question, Are leaders born or made? Those who accept the verdict, that leaders are born and not made, maintain, “… that there are certain inborn qualities such as initiative, courage, intelligence and humour, which altogether pre-destine a man to be a leader … the essential pattern is given at birth” (Adler, 1991, p. 4) Two leadership theories which concentrate on this point, are the Great man/great woman and theTrait theories. The great man/great woman theory, accordingly to Wrightsman, involves its followers believing that major events, both nationally and internationally, are influenced by those persons in power. “A sudden act by a great man could, according to this theory, change the fate of the nation” (Wrightsman, 1977, p. 638) The trait theory expands further on this conjecture, by concentrating on the personal characteristics of the leader. The theory, which until the mid-1940s formed the basis of most leadership research, cited traits believed to be characteristic of leaders, the list of which grew in length over the years, to include all manner of physical, personality and cognitive factors, including height, intelligence and communication skills. However, few traits emerged to conclusively differentiate leaders from non-leaders. The traits an individual has may, increase the probability that a person will become a leader, though whether such leadership is guaranteed, is uncertain. Nevertheless, it can be seen to be true that some people are more likely than others to assume leadership positions. “The research on trait theories of leadership has shown that many other factors are important in determining leader success, and that not everyone who possesses these traits will be a leader” (Adler, 1991, p. 267) 2)*As interest in the trait approach to leadership declined, research…
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