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MGHB02H3 (268)
Chapter 9

Chapter 9 summary

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Management (MGH)
Julie Mc Carthy

Page 1 of 8 Questions and Exercises prepared by Alan Saks. I. What is Leadership? Leadership is the influence that particular individuals exert on the goal achievement of others in an organizational context. Although any organizational member can influence other members, individuals with titles such as manager, executive supervisor, and department head are in assigned leadership roles and are expected to exert formal leadership and influence others. II. Are Leaders Born? The Search for Leadership Traits Throughout history, social observers have been fascinated by obvious examples of successful interpersonal influence. The implicit assumption is that those who become leaders and do a good job of it possess a special set of traits that distinguish them from the masses of followers. Trait theories of leadership, however, did not receive serious scientific attention until the 1900s. A. Research on Leadership Traits During World War I, the US military began to search for those traits which would help in identifying future officers. Traits are individual characteristics such as physical characteristics, intellectual ability, and personality. While many traits are not related to leadership, research shows some traits are associated with leadership although the connections are not very strong. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the study of leadership traits, and a number of studies have shown that certain traits are closely linked to leadership including emotional intelligence and several of the Big Five personality dimensions (agreeableness, extraversion, and openness to experience). However, the usefulness of these findings and the trait approach is questionable. B. Limitations of the Trait Approach There are several reasons why the trait approach is not the best means of understanding and improving leadership. First, it is difficult to determine if traits make the leader or if opportunity for leadership produces the traits. Second, we have few clues about what leaders actually do to influence others successfully. Third, the most crucial problem of the trait approach to leadership is its failure to take into account the situation in which leadership occurs. However, traits are a precondition for certain actions that a leader must take in order to be successful. III. Lessons from Emergent Leadership Following the discouragement with the trait approach, psychologists began to investigate what leaders do in group settings. These studies concentrated on emergent leadership or the behaviours in which certain group members exhibit that cause them to become leaders. Two leadership roles were apparent. The task leader is a leader who is concerned with accomplishing a task by organizing others, planning strategy, and dividing labour. The social-emotional leader is a leader who is concerned with reducing tension, patching up disagreements, settling arguments, and maintaining morale. Both of these functions are important leadership roles. Thus, in general, leaders must be concerned with both the social-emotional and task functions. IV. The Behaviour of Assigned Leaders www.notesolution.com
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