Leadership Essay

911 WordsSep 14, 20154 Pages
Measurement of Leadership The systematic social study of leadership continues to evolve, allowing progressively better understanding of what a leader is supposed to have or be or do, and how to measure the multiple facets of this phenomenon. There have been numerous definitions and theories of leadership, especially by researchers and theorists during the systematic and scientific approach since the 1930's. During the earlier period of that systematic study, from 1930's to 1950, leadership was widely regarded as a 'gift' (Marland, 1972), that required certain traits. However, replication of studies supporting trait theory were rare, with little empirical support for personality trait theories, so the early leadership measures based on traits suffered poor psychometric properties (Stogdill, 1948). Subsequently, trait theory lost support, encouraging the development of alternative theories. To test the various leadership theories, researchers have used (and continue to use) questionnaires, various forms of election, nomination or ranking, observed leadership behaviour, and past leadership behaviour (Edmunds, 1998). The paper and pencil instruments to measure leadership tend to examine the leader or the followers or both, in terms of traits (Zaccaro, Foti, & Kenny, 1991; Fiedler, 1961), leader behaviour (Yetton, 1984), follower behaviour, situations (Yukl, 1988), interactions between leader and follower (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975), and charisma (House, 1977; Conger & Kanungo, 1987). A multitude of leadership theories followed trait theory, but far from superceding trait theories, have seemingly led back to include trait qualities. Revived interest in traits follows empirical support for a small number of traits (Bem & Allen, 1974), and particular traits seem to suit certain situations (Mischel, 1973). Trait predictability is now regarded as being a

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