Effective Leadership

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The term leadership has been defined in many ways according to Howard Gardner (1995). President Harry Truman, an infamous leader could lead people to do what they do not want to do yet like it (Gardner, 1995; cited in Parker & Begnaud, 2004). Eileen Ford from a well established modeling agency defines leadership as the “ability to convince people to do what you want them to do as if they have thought of it themselves“(Karns & Bean, cited in Parker & Begnaud, 2004).

Leadership guru Warren Bennis describes leadership as “those who make a contribution makes a difference in the organization, thus giving meaning to his or her work” (Czarnecki, 2010). Leadership occurs when one tries to influence the behavior of an individual or group (Bennis & Nanus 1995; cited in Morley, Moore, Heraty, Gunnigle).


Early leadership theories were called universalism theories because studies focused on universal characteristics of good leaders – which are the personality traits or styles that make leaders effective ( Brain, 2002).

Trait theories suggest that certain individuals possess innate or in born characteristics that can be assigned to leaders and non leaders. Trait theory also suggests that personal qualities such as” physical” factors, for example, height, personality and other features such as extroversion, intelligence and communication skills are also a key feature of this theory (Guy, 2010).

Further research led to behavioral theories examining the behavior of effective leaders rather than their personal characteristics on the grounds that the secret to good leadership is in ones actions (Brain, 2002).

Modern research tends to lead to contingency theories, which emphasis the relationship...

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