Thursday, January 12, 2012

Advancements In The Development Of Basic Leadership

Some leading thinkers claim that there have been no major advancements in the development of basic leadership in the last 200 years. Even though there appears to be no clear cut, definitive definition of leadership, to suggest that no significant strides in development have transpired over the course of two centuries is too critical a statement. Leadership, along with what determines the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of individual leaders, is an ever-changing and evolving term that is contingent upon contextual settings, situations, current perceptions, and followers' characteristics. As these variables have changed over time, so has the workable definition of leadership and the qualities and traits effective individual leaders should possess. Leadership development should not be measured in terms of whether or not norms have been established over time, as for every leadership opportunity there exists a different setting, context, and follower constituency. In addition, current research suggests that effective leaders must evolve with, and adapt to, the times (e.g., the 21st century.) This signifies progress. As noted in Wren (1995), a 21st century SuperLeader maximizes "the contributions of others through recognition of their right to guide their own destiny" (p. 213) all for the betterment and good of the workplace. In addition, recent developments based on research suggest 21st century leaders will need to find "ways to bring out the best of people through trust, respect, listening, inspiration, setting the example...nourishing...mentoring...recognizing creativity and genius, harnessing talent...and even having fun" (Wren, 1995, p. 460). This research exemplifies recent developments and advancement of basic leadership. In addition, Clawson (2006, Appendix) outlines the development of various leadership theories and approaches that have been developed over time (trait, behavior, power and influence, situational, charismatic, and transformational) and add credence to the proposition that there have been significant developments in basic leadership, even if this list simply represent theories.

Clawson, J.G. (2006). Level three leadership: Getting below the surface. (3rd ed.). [Adobe Digital Editions version]. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Retrieved from

Wren, J.T. (1995). The leader's companion: Insights on leadership through the ages. New York, NY: Free Press.

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