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What Factors Make an Effective Leader, and Whether Being an Effective Leader Means Being Morally Good

Autor:   •  September 7, 2016  •  Essay  •  2,925 Words (12 Pages)  •  401 Views

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There has been much discussion and debate about the concept of leadership. From early managerial theories written at start of the 20th century, such as those by Frederick Taylor (Grachev & Rakitsky, 2013; Taylor, 1911), to modern concepts and ideas, the conception of what it takes to be an effective leader and the ethical issues surrounding effective leadership have come into question (Harvey & Riggio, 2011). This essay aims to discuss the various factors and styles that may contribute to being an effective leader, and to question whether or not being an effective leader means being a morally good person.

Before discussing the many theories and concepts surrounding leadership and what makes an effective leader, it is important to first define what leadership actually is. As it is such a broad and debated topic, finding an unambiguous definition of leadership is challenging. Leadership is defined by the Oxford Dictionary to be “the action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do this” (Oxford University Press, 2015). Although practically efficient, this definition is fairly open ended: What are they leading towards, and how are they carrying this out? Using these questions, our definition can be further developed; a leader aims to achieve significant organisational goals (Thory, 2012), and must create an environment for people in which they can effectively attain them (Furnham & Pendleton, 2012). Therefore for the purposes of this essay the definition of leadership can be classified as: The ability to lead a group of people or an organisation, by the creation of positive conditions in which people can effectively attain organisational achievements.

The study of effective leadership is not a modern one, with theories and styles continually being developed and debated. Traditional leadership styles focus primarily on the traits and behaviours of the individual themselves. Early trait theory such as the “Great Man” theory suggested that there were a specific set of traits attributed to great leaders, and through the study of these it was possible to predict who would ultimately make an effective leader (Furnham & Pendleton, 2012). However, the study of Trait Theory eventually came to a standstill as conflicting ideas and concepts surrounding it were brought forward, with no study seeming to find a strong correlation between a particular set of traits and effective leadership.

However, modern leadership theories tend to focus less on the leader themselves, and more on the style of leadership they employ within their organisation. In order to keep up with the ever-changing economic, technological, demographical and social environment, these “post-heroic” leaders must understand that the power-based, authoritative approaches often utilised during traditional times no longer create a successful leader, and must be more relationship based and collaborative,


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