Leadership Essay

2751 words - 12 pages

PJ Labuschagne
Turnitin score: 9%

Part One:
The question has always been: What makes a good leader? Does a leader have a great personality or do the circumstances of the situation dictate who is going to be the leader and who the follower (Cherry, 2015). Can one learn to be a leader?
(Core leadership theories, 2016) found that one can learn to be an effective leader, as long as one understands the various approaches to leadership. There are many leadership theories but all are rooted in four core theories:
1. Trait theory:
This theory assumes that certain people inherit leadership qualities and that this makes them better equipped to be leaders. Certain ...view middle of the document...

Similar to participative theory.
iii) The laisses-faire leader – this leader allows the members of a team to make the decisions which can be a very effective leadership style if the team is capable. If not, the leader could be seen as lazy. (Core leadership theories, 2016).
Two other behavioral theories are the transactional and transformational theories:
Transactional leaders are given power to evaluate, correct or train subordinates when a certain outcome is not reached and reward the subordinates when the outcome is achieved (Management library).
Transformational leaders motivates the group/subordinates to be effective and efficient. This leader is highly visible and focusses on the big picture and is surrounded by group members who can focus on the details (Management library).
3. Contingency/situational theory:
This theory is based on the premise that the leadership style depends on the situation. Different situations, different leadership styles, e.g. if quick decisions need to be made, which leadership style would be best (Core leadership theories, 2016).
4. Power and influence theories:
These theories are based on how the leaders would get things done by using power and influence. Included in this category, is French and Raven’s Five Forms of Power. Three types would be of positional power (legitimate, reward and coercive) and two of personal power (expert and referent). With reference to this model, personal power is the better choice and that this power is mostly garnered by being an expert (Core leadership theories, 2016).

Another theory based on power and influence is the transactional theory. Here, we see people doing things for a reward and as this is not the best choice of leadership style, it can be effective as it gets things done (Core leadership theories, 2016). This theory is similar to the management theory based on reward and punishment (Cherry, 2015).

Perhaps the most ideal, and recent leadership theory, is the leader-member exchange theory. This type of leader is transformational and the focus is on the relationship between the leader and the follower. Even though the performance of the group is the focus, the leader would also want the individual to reach his full potential (Van Breukelen, Schyns and Le Blanc, 2015).
But are these theories applicable to Africa and South Africa in particular?

Part Two:
Africa is different to the rest of the world. What makes Africa unique is the fact that different historical traditions were fused together into one common history as a result of colonialism. All African societies need substantial socio-economic development (Fourie, van der Merwe and van der Merwe, 2015). It can be argued that the continued challenges in Africa are due to the lack of responsible leadership and due to the fact that Africa and South Africa in particular have unique issues that need to be dealt with.
“…Africa’s failures have come about largely as a result of frequent leadership...

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