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Describe psychological theories of leadership

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  • Essay length: 1791 words
  • Submitted: 11/07/2002
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University Degree Management Studies

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Describe psychological theories of leadership

Leadership is the process whereby one individual influences other group members towards the attainment of defined group or organisational goals (Yukl & Vanfleet 1992). Often the leader of a group is the one who holds a particular title e.g. manager or head teacher. There are such things as informal leaders. Thus a group leader can emerge and be a person with no title or status. Those leaders emerge because they possess characteristics that the group members value.

The Universalist Theories of Leadership all focus on one thing; that leaders have key characteristics in common. Psychologists believe people with these key traits will always emerge as leaders and be successful regardless of the situation.

The Great Man- Woman theory is another explanation of leadership. This theory states that great leaders posses key traits that set them apart from most human beings. The theory also contends that these traits remain stable over time and across different groups. Therefore it suggests that all great leaders share these characteristics regardless of when or where they lived and their precise role.

In the Trait Approach psychologists have tried to identify specific traits that leaders posses.

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