Chapter 9

Chapter 9 - Chapter9 I.WhatisLeadership context., executivesupervisor,andde

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Chapter 9 I. What is Leadership? Leadership  is the influence that particular individuals exert on the goal achievement of others in an organizational  context. Although any organizational member can influence other members, individuals with titles such as manager,  executive supervisor, and department head are in assigned leadership roles and are expected to exert formal  leadership and influence others. II. Are Leaders Born? The Search for Leadership Traits Throughout history, social observers have been fascinated by obvious examples of successful interpersonal influence.  The implicit assumption is that those who become leaders and do a good job of it possess a special set of traits that  distinguish them from the masses of followers. Trait theories of leadership, however, did not receive serious scientific  attention until the 1900s. A. Research on Leadership Traits During World War I, the US military began to search for those traits which would help in identifying future  officers.  Traits  are individual characteristics such as physical characteristics, intellectual ability, and personality. While  many traits are not related to leadership, research shows some traits are associated with leadership although the  connections are not very strong. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the study of leadership traits, and a number of studies have  shown that certain traits are closely linked to leadership including emotional intelligence and several of the “Big Five”  personality dimensions (agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience). However, the usefulness of these  findings and the trait approach is questionable. B. Limitations of the Trait Approach There are several reasons why the trait approach is not the best means of understanding and improving leadership.  First, it is difficult to determine if traits make the leader or if opportunity for leadership produces the traits. Second, we  have few clues about what leaders actually do to influence others successfully. Third, the most crucial problem of the  trait approach to leadership is its failure to take into account the situation in which leadership occurs. However, traits  are a precondition for certain actions that a leader must take in order to be successful. III. Lessons from Emergent Leadership Following the discouragement with the trait approach, psychologists began to investigate what leaders do in group  settings. These studies concentrated on emergent leadership or the behaviours in which certain group members  exhibit that cause them to become leaders. Two leadership roles were apparent. The 
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This note was uploaded on 04/13/2011 for the course BMOS 2180 taught by Professor Annett during the Spring '11 term at UWO.

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Chapter 9 - Chapter9 I.WhatisLeadership context., executivesupervisor,andde

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