Role of context in leadership

HISTORICAL CONTEXTS OF LEADERSHIP

Leadership is a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. A leader is simply somebody whom people follow, or as somebody who guides or directs others. Organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal.

Studies of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behaviour, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence, among others. The search for these characteristics has been going on for centuries. Philosophers like Plato have writings exploring this question as does Plutarch, in their books Republic and Lives respectively.

They have tried to answer the question, “What qualities distinguish this search was the early recognition of the importance of leadership and the assumption is rooted in the characteristics that certain individuals possess.  The idea that leadership is based on individual attributes is known as the “trait theory of leadership”.

Many people have written books on leadership with some claiming that leadership is hereditary. In other words, leaders were born, not developed. Others claim that leaders develop from talents, skills and physical characteristics. Both of these views lent great initial support for the notion that leadership is rooted in characteristics of the leader.

Later researchers have come up with theories that claim that leaders can emerge across a variety of situations and tasks. In contrast to the traditional approach, the leader attribute pattern approach is based on theorists’ arguments that the influence of individual characteristics on outcomes is best understood by considering the person as an integrated totality rather than a summation of individual variables.