Introduction to the History of Leadership Theories

What you’ll learn to do: Describe the history of leadership as a topic inside organizational behavior

several origami boatsWe can all recognize a good leader when we see one, but defining what qualities and practices a good leader has can be difficult. In fact, the one thing that researchers seem to agree on regarding leadership is that they don’t always agree.

Are great leader defined by their accomplishments? Are leaders defined by the appraisal of their followers? Is nature or nurture the more important factor in determining leadership? Can leadership be learned, or is there a magical combination of trait, behavior and situation that allows leaders to rise to the occasion? Historically, in western civilization, we’ve struggled to answer these questions, and in the next few sections we’ll give you enough information that you can start contemplating these issues along with us.


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