Discussion #1: Leadership
There have been many definitions of leadership offered over the years, and much research to try and determine what makes a good leader. A definition provided by Northouse (2013, p. 5) is as good as any: Leadershipis a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.
Broadly speaking, there are two main groups of theories. One holds that leaders are born; that there are certain characteristics some people have that make them leaders. This is called the Traits Approach. Unfortunately, there is little agreement on what these traits and some sources suggest dozens, but intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability seem to lead the way.
The second camp believes that people can learn to be leaders by working on certain skills — the Skills Approach. These skills can be broken down into three areas: conceptual skills; technical skills; and human skills.
Check out the following short clips of some of the greatest leadership speeches in modern history as supplemental sources for these discussions. Select at least two, no more than three of the four topics for response.
(Kennedy, 4 min)
(Animal House, 3 min)
Question: Are leaders born or can individuals learn to be leaders?
Major Anxiety; Where have all the leaders gone?
According to the economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
Another, more cynical source, defines a leader as someone who finds a parade and then runs to get in front (author unknown). Finally, heres another: Leadership is a gift. It is given by those who follow (Gen. Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff, USAF).
There is general agreement that America is facing a number of anxieties (which I will not list). The major political parties do not seem to be able to reach a consensus in addressing these anxieties. Using the readings as references (your response may be your opinion, but if you use concepts or material from one of the authors, give them proper credit,otherwise its plagiarism), respond to this question and the topics below.
Question:Do you agree or disagree with Galbraith? What is the major anxiety in the U.S. at this time?
Main Topic 1.2~Trait or Process
The readings use terms liketraitandprocessin discussing leadership. What is the difference? (Cite your source) Which do you believe is more predominate in leaders?
Main Topic 1.3~ Where have the leaders gone?
In years past we had Washington, Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, King, et al. Are there any leaders of their dimension out there today? If so, who are they? Are they leaders because of their traits, skills, style, or situation?
Main Topic 1.4~Leaders & Managers
Is leadership and management the same thing? Are managers leaders by default?
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