The Transactional Nature Of Relations Between Leaders And Followers

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You can probably think of at least one individual who inspired you to be a better person, someone who recognized your potential and served as a mentor to you. Whether that person was a parent, teacher, coach, clergyperson, or supervisor, he or she was a leader who had a profound impact on your growth and development. There is a tremendous amount of literature dedicated to the discussion of leadership. The earliest research focused on the traits, skills, and styles of the leader. Over time, researchers considered the context of the situation and how to motivate followers. But it was not until fairly recently that researchers began to explore the transactional nature of relations between leaders and followers. This paper will review…show more content…
Despite a large body of literature to support it, the trait approach was open to criticism for its ambiguity, its subjectivity, the difficulty associated with identifying leadership traits without considering situational factors, and for its inability to describe how leadership traits affect outcomes (Northouse, 2013). One of the main problems of the trait approach is that traits are largely fixed, which seems to suggest that those born without these desirable traits will never be effective leaders (Northouse, 2013). Skills Approach The skills approach to the study of leadership moved beyond innate characteristics and showed that knowledge and abilities may be learned and developed to make a person a more effective leader (Northouse, 2013). Katz (1955) argued that effective leadership depends on technical, human, and conceptual skills that are very different from personality traits (as cited in Northouse, 2013). Mumford, Zaccaro, Harding, Jacobs, and Fleishman (2000) expanded on this concept by formulating a skill-based model of leadership that examined the relationship between a leader’s competencies and the leader’s performance within an organization (as cited in Northouse, 2013). Problem-solving skills, social judgment skills, and knowledge are competencies that serve as the most important aspects of the model (Northouse, 2013). Mumford et al. (2000) propose that these competencies are
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