Leadership in Historical Context Robert R. Watson Robert Morris University
Over the past two decades , there have been enormous and rapid changes in legal, political, and social realities that affect the ability of organizations to function efficiently. Business corporations, and educational institutions of all types, health care agencies, international initiatives, and governmental entities on all levels are but a few of the organizations struggling in this unprecedented era of rapid change. The future success of these and other types of companies may well depend on their ability to select and train employees flexible and adaptive enough to lead them through the challenges of the modern world. The essence of management is inevitably quite indispensable from an organization view point. The personnel which come under the umbrella to articulate, assimilate and manage the entire team of professionals are called Leaders. The main prospective of this study is to pen down the opinions about the leadership in historical context. The approach that I have used to complete this paper is quite straightforward, as first we will define a little bit about the leadership and then shift the gears towards the main theme of this paper.
Bass describes the word “leadership” as a sophisticated, modern concept. He argues that in previous times, words meaning head of state, chief, or king were commonly used to differentiate the ruler from the general population, and that the word “leadership” did not appear until the 19th century in English writings. It has only been in the middle part of the 20th century that the word leadership has been incorporated in other modern languages. In this short period of time, however, many definitions of leadership have been developed to address the many different aspects of life and situations in life to which it may pertain (Goleman, D 2004), As one of the competent authorities of this field, Northhouse, G (2006) after making a comprehensive literature review on ‘leadership' concludes, “there are currently almost as many various definitions of leadership as there are several persons who have attempted to explain the concept. Nevertheless, the notion of leadership remains ambiguous. Commenting on this view, Burns (1978) states that “leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomenon on earth”. Nevertheless, there is a necessity to explain it in order to obtain a complete understanding. Although there are several definitions of leadership, each definition has contrastive focus on leadership. Leadership according to Rudolph, W Giuliani, (2002), is a “behaviour of an individual…directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal”.