Philosophy Of Management Leadership Essay

1805 words - 7 pages

Writings by Sun Tzu on military leadership, Plato’s and Aristotle’s (Plato’s intellectual competitor and student) work questioning ‘who should rule us’, philosophy by Castiglione and others work jointly summarise classical leadership. In order to capture what can be said of today’s leadership with regard to classical writings on leadership one must question whether leadership is a changing phenomena over time or rather, whether there is a single "best" leadership style that suits all leaders in all situations over time. There are more studies on leadership today than previously and leadership is being researched by a wider range of people than before. Today’s writings offer a different analysis of leadership from classical writings because some classical writings were written by leaders themselves and therefore, often bias. There is a relationship in some behavioural patterns between classical and contemporary leaders in terms of military leadership, the use of rhetoric in learning leadership skills and lastly, of leaders extending their framework of control causing conflicts occurring that, with the help of others, could otherwise have been avoided.
To begin, one must define leadership. The way individuals become leaders and what their role is as leaders will be considered in this essay in a comparative form, relating classical with contemporary leaders. There are two forms of classical leadership which set classical leadership writers such as Plato, Aristotle and Castiglione apart. One leadership style assumes leaders learn leadership skills and the other that leadership skills are something some are born with and therefore those with the inherited skills will naturally lead. Contemporary research on power by Raven and French (1959), found there to be two ways an individual gets power (Boddy, 2002). Their research implies there is legitimate power and reward power. Leaders with legitimate power assume authority from their job title. Reward power is the ability of the leader to reward in hope to get the reward of power in return. Drawing from classical leadership research, one would assume George Bush, the present president of the United States, to have gained power through legitimate power. As will be argued later, Bush “capitalized on the base of power the job itself gave him” . It is interesting to question whether gaining power through the job title itself is healthy, or rather, whether the individual leader should own the characteristics of leadership before being assigned as leader.
The “Great Man Theory” holds that leaders are “born to lead and emerge to take power in any situation” (Bratton, 2005: 152). The way leadership is studied has shifted over time. Some classical philosophers wrote on the either side of the nature/nurture debate of leadership. Later, research started looking into the actions of leaders, then shifting onto situational leadership styles and later research questioned the characteristics leaders’ should possess....

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