Leadership can be described as the process of enabling other individuals to comprehend and negotiate on what requires to be done, how to handle a task in addition to combining efforts to achieve the agreed-upon objectives (Summerfield, 2014). In other words, leadership can be viewed as a process, entails having the ability to influence others, leadership occurs in the presence of followers, it includes a goal or goals and that the goals are common among the leaders and followers. Yukl (2006) states, The very act of defining leadership as a process suggests that leadership is not a characteristic or trait with which only a few certain people are endowed at birth. Defining leadership as a process means that leadership is a transactional event that happens between leaders and their followers. It is often perceived that some leaders are born while others are made with respect to the qualities that one exhibits (Daft, 2014). The analysis puts into view whether leadership is something that can be taught or is an attribute that some are born with. From an analytical perspective, leadership can be viewed as an aspect that can be taught rather than be viewed as a trait that an individual is born with.
The fact that leadership is viewed as a process implies that it is an aspect which is taught rather than a natural attribute in individuals. There exist statements such as he is a born leader and leadership is in her blood to mean one's trait determines leadership (Germain, 2012). The trait aspect puts into view that adequate leadership is accompanied by attributes that include values, personality, skills in addition to motives. The approach implies that there are individuals who are natural leaders and that they exhibit unique attributes when compared to others. The trait perspective highly differs with the view that leadership is a process (Germain, 2012). It is important to note that the process in leadership implies that the followers affect leaders and that leaders also affect the followers. The effect may be either negative or positive depending on the relationship between a leader and his or her followers (Lussier & Achua, 2015). In other words, leadership is an interactive process whereby particular goals guide the interaction. The process involved in leadership implies that the interaction is available for everyone and not a few people who are assumed to be born with the skill. It also implies that leadership is not limited to a single individual who exhibits formal power in a team (Hackman & Johnson, 2013). Leadership as a trait means that it is inherent in certain people and that adequate leadership skills are limited to few individuals who exhibit unique knowledge and skills which they are born with (Antonakis, 2017). Some of the traits include the ability to speak eloquently, have unique features such as body type and height and exhibiting an extroverted personality. When leadership is viewed as a process, it implies that the whole approach is contextual in addition to the view that every person has the capability of exercising adequate leadership. In other words, leadership can be comprehended by every person and that it is an observable aspect with respect to the conduct exhibited by leaders (Antonakis, 2017). Therefore, the fact that leadership is viewed as a process implies that it is an aspect which is taught rather than a natural attribute in individuals.
People learn adequate leadership skills through training and observation. The behavioral theory indicates significant perspectives on leaders being made rather than being born. The theories present the view that leaders can be nurtured in addition to being taught on how to exercise adequate leadership skills (Antonakis & House, 2017). The observation comes into view whereby followers look up to the leader when it comes to behavior and the decision-making process and try to emulate the leader when conducting their activities (Antonakis & House, 2017). It is important to note that the theory mostly focuses on the actions of leaders rather than their innate attributes (Dinh et.al, 2014). Through observation and teaching, individuals can learn to exhibit adequate leadership skills. In the current world, there are plenty of educational subjects that factor in the aspect of leadership and management. The assumption is that, for people to exercise adequate leadership skills, they require guidance on how to lead other people for them to be effective (Dinh et.al, 2014). Therefore, the view that people learn adequate leadership skills through training and observation implies that leadership can be viewed as an aspect that can be taught rather than be viewed as a trait that an individual is born with.
Theories such as the great man theory and the trait theory have been used to indicate the view that leaders are born and not made (Allio, 2012). According to the great man theory, the ability to lead is inherent and hence natural rather than socialized. The theory depicted leaders as influential and heroic and expected to arise when their leadership skills are needed. It is important to note that the emergence of the theory was mainly associated with the masculine quality and hence its name (Allio, 2012). Giulio (2015) states, This theory suggests that these great men were somehow naturally skilled and would change the world in some way. The trait theory views leaders to exhibit certain qualities and values. Some of the qualities include; self-confidence, motivation, achievement, honesty, drive, integrity, responsibility, cognitive ability, interpersonal skills, and influence (Colbert et.al, 2012). It can be perceived that the essence of both the great man and the trait theories is that they indicate the potential associated with adequate leadership. The theories enable organizations to easily recognize the people that may contain certain leadership skills such that the skills can be improved (Allio, 2012). Nonetheless, critiques argue that some people with the qualities mentioned above cannot be viewed as leaders and that there are situations that company heads may perform adequately and fail in some. The basic assumption is that other factors, apart from the inherent qualities apply when it comes to adequate leadership. The theories can also be viewed as subjective as they focus more on the traits and set aside other important considerations (Allio, 2012). Therefore, leadership cannot be approached as an aspect that is inherent but rather an aspect that includes development and training.
As stated earlier, the analysis puts into view whether leadership is something that can be taught or is an attribute that some are born with. From the analysis, it can be perceived that leadership can be viewed as an aspect that can be taught rather than viewing it as a trait that an individual is born with. Leadership plays a central role in the achieving of goals and objectives in any given institution. One of the highlighted factors that supports leadership to involve being taught rather than being a trait is the fact that leadership is viewed as a process. Also, people learn adequate leadership skills through training and observation. Therefore, leaders are made rather than being born.
Allio, R. J. (2012). Leaders and leadership: many theories, but what advice is reliable? Strategy & Leadership, 41(1), 4-14.
Antonakis, J. (2017). The nature of leadership. New York: Sage publications.
Antonakis, J., & House, R. J. (2013). The full-range leadership theory: The way forward. In Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead 10th Anniversary Edition (pp. 3-33). New York: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Colbert, A. E., Judge, T. A., Choi, D., & Wang, G. (2012). Assessing the trait theory of leadership using self and observer ratings of personality: The mediating role of contributions to group success. The Leadership Quarterly, 23(4), 670-685.
Daft, R. L. (2014). The leadership experience. New York: Cengage Learning.
Dinh, J. E., Lord, R. G., Gardner, W. L., Meuser, J. D., Liden, R. C., & Hu, J. (2014). Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 36-62.
Germain, M. L. (2012). Traits and skills theories as the nexus between leadership and expertise: Reality or fallacy? Performance Improvement, 51(5), 32-39.
Giulio, J.V. (2015). Are leaders born or made? PSM310 Leadership and Business Acumen. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270684591_Are_leaders_born_or_made.
Hackman, M. Z., & Johnson, C. E. (2013). Leadership: A communication perspective. New York: Waveland Press.
Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2015). Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development. New York: Nelson Education.
Summerfield, M. R. (2014). Leadership: A simple definition. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, 71(3), 251-253.
Yukl, G. (2006). Cases in Leadership. New York: Sage Publications.
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