Leadership is a phenomenon that has interested people for hundreds of years. One rather outdated explanatory approach still plays a prominent role in practice and the media in particular: The so-called Great Man Theory. In this blog we present what this theory is all about and why it is time to look for alternative approaches.
This CQ Dossier discusses the trait-based approach to leadership and reviews those personality traits that distinguish effective from ineffective leaders. The dossier also identifies key skills or competencies that are related to leader effectiveness and can be used by organizations for selection, promotion, and training.
The capability to lead and influence people is essential for success even beyond management. Professionals without a formal leadership role find themselves more and more often in situations where it is key to deliberately influence people, teams, divisions or the whole organization. Thus despite – or perhaps precisely because of its great relevance, leadership is often seen as something mystic. This impression is reinforced by a large number of popular business bestsellers about leadership, CEO biographies, and executive consultants who rely on individual experiences and anecdotal evidence when writing and talking about leadership. These sources generally provide only a limited informative value and therefore are of questionable use for the development of leaders and professionals.
This CQ Dossier focuses on the dark or destructive side of leadership and utilizes a trait approach in understanding destructive leaders. It summarizes the main personality traits that categorize destructive leaders, including narcissism, psychopathy, hubris and Machiavellianism.