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Leaders and Leadership: pantheon of leaders, persons, injustice

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Part three of this book deals with the theme of Leadership and the related concepts of Power and Authority
which have been among the most broadly, occasionally intensely, debated and always challenging and
intriguing subjects for analysis from antiquity to our times. From the writings, among others, of Plato
and Aristotle to present day theoretical schemes and research findings, Leaders and leadership continue
to fascinate philosophers, scholars and researchers from all social, behavioural and economic sciences
and continuously elude definitive answers concerning the perennial 'who, how and why'.

A quick bibliographic search on the subject will immediately reveal that the number of textbooks, popular
books, articles in scientific -academic journals and popular magazines covering the concepts of Leadership
number literally dozens of thousands and keep increasing. This quick search will unveil the reality that
most books and articles start simply asking "what leadership is" or "who is, or what makes a leader" and
contain the germane hypothesis relating to 'nature and nurture' in seeking the answer to the time old
question if "leadership is a hereditary ability or it is acquired through education and life experiences".

This section will take a brief look at the 'Great Man' theories keeping in line with the historic fact that
women were not included in the leadership discussions of ancient philosophers of the 5th century B.C.,
the so called 'golden century of Pericles' Athens. Women leaders were not in the focus of interest of
dozens of thousands of Masters' and doctoral dissertations for most of the 20th century. We will briefly
look at the realities of the 20th and 21st centuries and the current emphasis on searching for small group
leader-managers, leaders in the rungs of middle management and for C.E.O.s for large scale global
corporations and organizations.

The reference to the concept of 'leader-manager' requires a brief clarification. Indeed, while the term
Leadership was eminent in philosophical discussions and treatises from antiquity on to modern times,
early in the 20th century, with the advent of large scale industrial enterprises and organizations, the term
'management' made its appearance coming to the forefront of many academic discussions and research
efforts. In this respect, most textbooks and popular books, academic researchers and free lance journalists
seem to concur on the idea that the writings of Fayol (1916) who identified the functions of management
as 'planning, organizing, directing, staffing, and controlling' still hold true having kept their validity in
time and the emphasis on the 'leader-manager' became an urgent reality through the vast and historically
unprecedented development of large scale enterprises and organizations.

Some of the various representative theoretical schemes will be presented in this section without fully
covering the rich gamut of theories appearing in academic bibliography but, hopefully, will aid the readers
to understand the processes involved in the evolution of Leadership theories from antiquity to modern
times. Closing these remarks it should be noted that currently literally hundreds of undergraduate,
master and doctoral programs on leadership are offered by hundreds of Universities in North America,
Europe and elsewhere in the world.

If one would attempt to select and mention just a few truly outstanding names in the very long lists of
persons who rightfully deserve a place in a symbolic-historical 'Pantheon of Leaders' recognized and
accepted on a worldwide basis then, admitting that the following list surely does injustice to others not
included here, this list would include: Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Hannibal, Genghis Khan,
Napoleon, Eisenhower, McArthur, Montgomery, Rommel in military affairs; Moses, Buddha, Mohammed
in religious affairs; Lincoln, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill, Ghandi in political affairs; Rockefeller, Vanderbilt,
Rothschild in finance; Ford, Sloan, Iacocca, Honda, Agnelli in the automotive industry; Bezos (Amazon),
Brin & Page (Google), Dell (Dell computers), Gates with Allen and Ballmer (Microsoft), Jobs (Apple),
Zuckerberg (Facebook) in the I.T. world; Bloomberg, Malone, Murdoch, Newhouse, Turner, in the Media.

Starting the discussion the perpetual question comes immediately to mind 'who is really the person
called a leader?' Attempting to answer this question Stogdill (1974) was keenly succinct, and perhaps
somewhat ironic, when he wrote that there exist numerous definitions of leadership, almost as many as
there are philosophers and scientists who deal with and try to define the concept of leadership. Warren
Bennis (1959) had been even more caustic, but not far removed from reality, when he had remarked,
prior to Stodgill, that:

'Of all the hazy and confounding areas in social psychology, leadership theory undoubtedly contends
for top nomination…. Probably more has been written and less is known about leadership than about
any other topic in the behavioural sciences.' (pp. 259–260)

More recently Yukl (2002, p. 2) has noted that: 'The term leadership is a word taken from the common
vocabulary and incorporated into the technical vocabulary of a scientific discipline without being
precisely redefined.'

In modern days the significance and role dramatized by the variables of 'heredity' and 'environment' in
endowing an individual with leadership qualities have been researched, among others, by Remus Llies
(2004) and Richard Arvey (2006) who went as far as assigning some percentages to hereditary factors
in shaping an individual's personality as a leader.

While preparing this book I noticed an interesting article published in volume 24, issue 1, February 2013
of 'The Leadership Quality Journal' on leaders and leadership. The content of this article lead me to think
of reversing the usual order of relevant questions which, up to now, gave priority to the classic 'nature vs.
nurture' debate. Authoring this article a team of researchers from the UK and USA collaborating in their
efforts rekindled the heredity and education aspects relating to leaders and leadership as they announced
the discovery of 'gene rs4950'. The five co-authors of the article titled 'Born to lead? A twin design and
genetic association study of leadership role occupancy' admitting that leadership as a skill remains true,
identified 'gene rs4950' as a genetically transmitted and inherited genotype passing leadership abilities
from parents to offspring. The international team of researchers found that the difference between
persons who occupy leadership positions and others who do not is due to the extent of about 24% to
purely genetic factors.

Be it as it may, the truth is that if you the reader were to ask today fellow students, or colleagues at the
private or public enterprise that employs you to give you their perception, their definition of the term
Leadership, you might receive as many and as varied answers as the number of persons you will ask.
Surely, a careful reading of the answers will help in cancelling out many that are basically similar in their
conceptual core but rendered in different wording. In such informal types of opinion polls, from the
variety of given definitions, a pattern usually emerges relating to the processes and dynamism observable
in Leaders, such as personality structure, character traits and behaviour exhibited in the modes of various
actions of those identified as leaders.

The concept of leadership appears to draw from, and is considered as a legitimate study subject in, a
number of scientific fields including, philosophy, history, political science, sociology, psychology, military
science and theology. I would like to call your attention to the fact that the concept of management is a
legitimate area of interest for most of the same scientific fields and, in the process, a gray area has emerged
concerning the similarities and differences between Leaders and Managers as persons, and Leadership
and Management as a process revealed by observable behaviour of such persons.

Bennis and Nanus (1985) considered leadership and management as two distinct concepts with leaders
being the persons who influence others and provide visions, while managers master routines and thus
accomplish prescribed activities. In their book they introduced a phrase, which has been widely quoted,
saying that 'Managers are people who do things right and Leaders are people who do the right things'.
Kotter (1990) argued that management and leadership are two different things with management
producing order and consistency and leadership producing change and movement.


  1. Communication is a universal phenomenon: system of 4 components
  2. Human Communication: scheme of human communication, defining
  3. Body Language: darwins contribution, intrigue of body language
  4. Mass Media & social media: stone inscription, printing process
  5. The Role of attitudes in human communication: defining attitudes
  6. The birth of a speciality: roots in antiquity, historic glimpse
  7. Publics, Public Opinion and its moulders: historical evolution, term
  8. Rhetoric, Persuasion and Propaganda: rome, love, definitions, variety
  9. Corporate Communication & Responsibility: corporate communication
  10. Press releases, special events and sponsorships: PR specialist
  11. Leaders and Leadership: pantheon of leaders, persons, injustice
  12. Leadership, Power, Authority & Charisma: events, political, financial
  13. Leadership research at the Universities of Iowa, Ohio & Michigan:
  14. Modern theories of leadership in Private and Public Enterprises and Or
  15. Instead of an epilogue: Women leaders remain under a glass ceiling:
  16. References: Bibliography
  17. The Author: Dr Georgios P. Piperopoulos, sociology, psychology