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How Leadership Develops Leaders


Leadership is often exemplified as the practice of social authority in the course of which an individual can procure the assistance and support of other people in order to fulfill a common objective shared by them. Some of the most important qualities in a leader are: a strong drive in his leadership approach, Honesty, Integrity and Self-reliance, Leadership motivation, cognitive competence and awareness about the business settings.

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Often, in the organizational culture there is a false tendency to perceive leaders in a typified persona. Leadership may and surely does emerge in several diversified profiles and forms. Effective and first rate leaders do not adhere to a conventional template. One of the most prominent names amongst leaders of the modern business arena is that of Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s approach towards his businesses and his leadership style proves that theoretical expertise single-handedly is not sufficient enough to widen the scope of leadership. The most preeminent method in order to nurture leadership qualities it is to practically implement it in all circumstances even if it involves a degree of risk.

It has been often noted in the past that if a prospective leader is not completely dedicated to the aspirations of becoming a leader, teaching them leadership skills and nurturing them as future leaders would be a misuse of time, money and other important resources.

However, when an individual steps into a new leadership position, or displays greater potentials in terms of how they manage the workforce, and they exhibit an inherent enthusiasm to build up and acquire new skills, then it’s in actuality feasible to provide these individuals with an opportunity to enhance and nurture their leadership skills. In this research paper we attempt to look at the various aspects of leadership qualities and how it can facilitate the development of prospective leaders as well as individuals in current leadership roles.


Leadership is one of the most significant facets of the organizational framework. In order to develop a point in this dissertation the concept of Leadership should be clear to the reader. Thus we set out by defining what is meant by leadership. Leadership is often illustrated as the practice of social authority in the course of which an individual can procure the assistance and support of other people in order to fulfill a common objective shared by them.

Various experts put forward a definition encompassing the concept of followers which states that Leadership is eventually about constructing an approach for individuals to put in their effort in order to make something extraordinary happen. As per various researchers, psychoanalysts and various other professionals, Leaders must shoulder three most significant responsibilities. (Hiatt 2003) The Leader must take care of the welfare of those he leads. The leader or the prospective leader must craft out a social framework in which his people possess a sense of security and finally, that this leader must present his followers with a certain way of thinking and a set of ideals.

There are various theories associated with the concept of leadership. One of the most prominent amongst them is the trait theory which attempts to typify the behavioral aspects and personality inclinations related to efficient leadership.

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As per supporters of this theory, the foremost leader qualities include: Drive– A wide-ranging expression which incorporates accomplishments, impetus, aspiration, vigor, persistence and capacity to come up with innovative ideas; Leadership motivation– the aspiration to go in front, but not to perceive authority as the ultimate force; Honesty, Integrity and Self-reliance– qualities that are coupled with psychological firmness; and finally, cognitive competence and awareness about the business settings. Although it is less substantiated characteristics such as charm, ingenuity and flexibility are often associated with Leadership values. (Hargreaves & Fink 2003)

Often, in the organizational culture there is a false tendency to perceive leaders in a typified persona. Leadership may and surely does emerge in several diversified profiles and forms. Effective and first rate leaders do not adhere to a conventional template. However, it is essential to accept the fact that individuals nurturing their leadership proficiencies often experience a setback on account of their or other people’s perception of a leader’s appearance.

In such cases it’s vital to realize that the approach of a leader is not only entirely individualistic but also has to be developed with conviction, strong willpower and fortitude by the individual aspiring to assume the role of a leader. In addition, leadership qualities will be accepted in different manners by each of the individuals they are going to lead. One may receive unconditional support from some, while others may put forth an understanding attitude.

That, obviously, will be as a result of the leader’s capability to recognize the needs of his subordinates. Furthermore, not all leaders acquire the heading of a great leader in terms of the people around them acknowledging their leadership grade. Scores of leaders get no ‘public’ acknowledgement, but have only their individual contentment of a job well done.

So, to address the issue of “Leaders are born, not created” it may be said that, one cannot force someone to assume a leadership role if he doesn’t wish to be seen in that role. It’s not like the unenthusiastic individual who reluctantly steps into the shoes of a leader and discovers that things are not so bad after all. If a prospective leader is not completely dedicated to the aspirations of becoming a leader, teaching them leadership skills and nurturing them as future leaders would be a misuse of time, money and other important resources.

However, when an individual steps into a new leadership position, or displays greater potentials in terms of how they manage the workforce, and they exhibit an inherent enthusiasm to build up and acquire new skills, then it’s in actuality feasible to provide these individuals with an opportunity to enhance and nurture their leadership skills. Each individual can build up their capability to lead, in any sphere of life, provided they have the will to do so. When a person is devoted to, and puts their leadership potential into application in all aspects of their life, then they surely can widen their own prospects as a leader.

Having said all of that, the existence of born leaders cannot be denied. They are the individuals who are looked up to by the others. Even at a very early age they show signs of being eager to be observed and heeded, are open to risks and firmly stand for their believes, morals and values. They possess a certain personality and people oblige them by hearing out their views. They have an attitude of wanting to accomplish certain objectives and bring others beside with them.

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They seem to be comfortable in the limelight even when it’s a tight spot to be in and have a ‘vision’ for the fraternities they lead. However, even born leaders ought to sharpen up and nurture their leadership talents. Just like all others, to grow and develop in life, they too have to practice, and put their vision into application. (Dierickx 2006)

When an individual enters the professional world, ideally, his growth and development course becomes the responsibility of the organization he is a part of. Organizations look to nurture leaders for the future. No individual becomes an outright leader at the onset of his career. Even with all willingness and inherent quality of a leader, an individual is a follower of another leader at the onset. The most significant lesson a follower, who aspires to be seen in the role of a future leader, learns is that no matter what his objectives are, he can’t acquire all by himself.

To be a successful and efficient leader one has to realize and acknowledge the fact that support of those an individual leads is of the essence under all circumstances. Followers need to realize who or what has backed and enthused them in the course of their progression, and what sustenance they still require to get accomplish their objectives. They should make a personal list of the leadership paradigms, and reflect on the persona those individuals possess that inspire, enthuse and attract them.

They have to be taught to understand their own beliefs and morals and more importantly analyze themselves in the perspective of the others. Individuals need to realize that exceptional leadership necessitates much more than just being remarkably good at their trades. It entails inventive judgment, generating optimistic, constructive and inspirational influences and perhaps most significantly the ability to encourage others. Followers should nurture their aptitude to reflect and take steps that are ‘out of the box’ and are should believe in their actions even if they lie outside the conventional grid of ‘right’ ways of doing things.

Future leaders have to be competent enough to recognize the requirements of the upcoming time and craft an original leadership framework, instead of merely adhering to traditional leadership styles. The way of life of the future would be one where transformation and originality are the order of the day. The followers need to be taught that divergent thinking and identifying prospective requirements go alongside each other in becoming a successful leader of tomorrow. (Cameron & Green 2004)

To develop a business venture or to improve one’s career, one must have a grip over certain fundamental proficiencies in administration and leadership. These fundamental proficiencies include forecasting, resource management, delegation, interactive capability, decision making and the capacity of dealing with various problems. Effectual teamwork is an additional indispensable leadership feature in the contemporary arena of leadership skills. However, perhaps most notably, leaders must possess a knack for delicately tackling problematic issues which is frequently known as ‘tactical proficiency’.

These skills involve shouldering responsibility, real time decision-making, achieving set goals and recognizing strong and weak aspects of team-working. It is an easily recognized verity that most individuals in leadership roles in an organization have exceptional problem solving expertises that have matured with experience. Nevertheless, one must bear in mind that each and every individual possesses such abilities.

Each individual utilizes such skills in varying degrees on an every day basis to make sure that their objectives are adequately accomplished. However, all employees do not exploit these dexterities to their fullest extent under work conditions where they are most vital since and can straightforwardly influence the upshot of a certain task. Good problem solving techniques at work embarks on the correct approach to an issue, affirmative view of the circumstances and concentrating on the actual central part of a problem.

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While no institution of executive education can bestow a person with effective problem solving expertise requisite in a real work situation, leaders gradually gain confidence in their roles by accepting accountability for their actions and applying real dedication to all the responsibilities assigned. The momentum of tactical abilities and the merit of solutions reveal the one’s essence as a leader.

Public speaking is an aspect which ranks very high in the list of requirements that contemporary leaders need in order to flourish in the professional world. It is also one of the most horror-ridden activities for a major portion of the entire populace. However, public speaking skills are very essential in today’s business arena and is a skill every efficient and successful leader possesses. However, nothing comes as easily as is perceived by ordinary people when they hear their leaders talking and interacting.

It is all the result of tremendous hard work and countless hours of practice. In order to be a good orator, aspiring leaders must clearly understand their beliefs and things they are going to put forward in front of their audiences. They need to understand the psyche of the audience and put their dialogues accordingly. Enthusiasm and confidence are key features in this context. Audiences need to feel connected with the leader while he is speaking and the leader should speak in a manner which doesn’t require the audiences to make explicit efforts to pay attention to what the lead is saying. Public speaking skills are awfully significant for a leader as this quality alone has the potential to either raise the leader to great heights or snatch away his status of a leader. (Bissell 2002)

Literature Review

In this research paper we first take a look at the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership theory, which is one of the most well accepted leadership theories in the real industry. The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership theory is a situational leadership theory crafted by Paul Hersey, and Ken Blanchard. They produced a framework of situational leadership in the late 1960s in their publication titled Management of Organizational Behavior that facilitates one to scrutinize the requirements of the circumstances and then assume the most suitable leadership approach. It has been established as a popular theory amongst professional managers and leaders over time given its simplistic approach, and for the reason that it successfully works in most situations for most leaders. (King 2002)

The framework is based on two elementary concepts; leadership style, and development level.

The authors typified leadership style in relation to the extent of direction and guidance that the leader endows their followers with. They classified all leadership styles into four behavioral forms, which they marked as S1 to S4:

  • S1: Directing/Telling Leaders describe the responsibilities and duties of the ‘follower’ explicitly, and oversee their activities closely. Assessments and judgments are undertaken by the leader himself and declared. Thus in this case communication is principally unidirectional.
  • S2: Coaching/Selling Leaders still describe responsibilities of the adherents, but take inputs from the follower as well. In this case too the authority of taking decisions rests with the leader. However, communication is a much more interactive and bidirectional.
  • S3: Supporting/Participating Leaders communicate everyday decisions, such as job allotment and processes, to the adherents. The leader assists and participates in the decision making process, but the follower involvement is considerable.
  • S4: Delegating Leaders are still implicated in decision making and problem-solving processes, but more authority remains with the follower. The followers come to a decision in which case and how the leader will be drawn in. (Becker 2003)

Amongst these leadership styles, neither is regard as most advantageous or preferred for all leaders to implement. Successful leaders have to be flexible, and should adjust themselves as per the demands of the situation. Nevertheless, every leader is likely to have an individualistic style, and while implementing situational leadership he must understand his style inherently.

Coming to the second keystone, as per the authors, the most appropriate leadership approach depends on the individual or group which is being led i.e., the followers. Blanchard and Hersey expanded their representation to encompass the Development Level of the followers. They affirmed that the leader’s selected approach has to be derived from the extent of competency and dedication exhibited by his followers. They classified the potential development of followers into four points, which they marked as D1 to D4:

  • D1: Low Competence, High Commitment – In this case, the followers usually are deficient in the precise skill set necessary for the job available. Nevertheless, they express eagerness to be trained and enthusiasm to accept guidance.
  • D2: Some Competence, Low Commitment – Followers may possess some applicable expertise, but would not be able to accomplish a job without proper direction. The job or the conditions may be unseen to them or they may lack experience.
  • D3: High Competence, Variable Commitment – Followers are experienced, skilled, and competent, but possibly do not have the confidence to accomplish the task alone, or the drive to do it perfectly or within the stipulated timeframe.
  • D4: High Competence, High Commitment – Followers are experienced at the work in hand and are at ease with their own capability to execute the job well. At times, they may perhaps be more capable than the leader himself.

In this theory, Development Levels are also situational. An individual may be in general capable, self-assured and motivated in their sphere of work, but would still fall into Level D1 when confronted, for example, with a job involving a certain skill set they don’t have in their repertoire. For instance, several managers fall into the D4 category when tackling the routine administration of their divisional operations, but slip into categories D1 or D2 when faced with a susceptible employee “issue”. (Barney 2006)

According to the recommendations of this model, the leadership approach (S1 – S4) of the leader must be aligned with the development level (D1 – D4) of the follower. In addition, it is recommended that the leader must be flexible and adaptable, rather than the follower. In order to utilize situational leadership comprehensively, a leader must be skilled in how to maneuver efficiently amongst a variety of leadership approaches and should also be competent enough to recognize and identify the development level of his subordinates.

Succession management is the practice of identifying primary requirements for intellectual aptitude and leadership across the organization in due course of time and getting individuals ready for current and upcoming job responsibilities called for by the organizational demands. This concept is often confused with workforce management. However, one must understand that the two concepts differ considerably.

Workforce management involves probing into issues relating to the association between the quantities and types of human resources accessible to do the existing work and the quantities and types of human resources required in order to accomplish the work in the future. The process model for succession and transition management involves certain explicitly ordered steps. These measures involve: Clarifying prospects and purposes; Identifying and describing the jobs to be executed; Building up Competency Models for intended jobs; Appraising existing competencies of the employees against the defined Models; Narrowing the Developmental Gap; and Reviewing Results and acknowledging/rewarding endeavors.


In order to address to the research question of ‘how leadership qualities develop leaders’, a qualitative approach was adopted. The primary means of data collection was a survey conducted across various organizations with a questionnaire being the data collection instrument. This questionnaire consisted of 10 question directed towards the employees and touched upon various leadership aspects. Key indicators in the questionnaire which were later taken into consideration for analysis were the following aspects:

  1. Effective decision making capabilities of the leader;
  2. Critical thinking competence of the leader;
  3. Problem solving abilities of the leader;
  4. Effectiveness of the leader in the role of a team leader; and
  5. Training the leader had received. (Wilson 2002)


Results indicated that decision making capabilities of a leader assumed tremendous significance in the individual’s capacity as a leader. It was observed that this aspect of leadership had several underpinnings associated with it. Leaders generally make a decision subsequent to a lot of deliberation and calculations relating to several pertinent issues. Successful leaders tend to gather as much information about the situation at hand. Subsequently, they analyze and weigh each option available to them. Pros and cons of each of the options are evaluated. After great amounts of contemplation effective leaders arrive at a decision and rightly so considering the remarkable influence it may have on the outcome of implement the decision.

Results also indicated that critical thinking capabilities of a leader have a profound impact on the effectiveness and extent of success of his leadership role. It is a well recognized fact that industry leaders and individuals in managerial roles project themselves as the think tank of the organization. However, the extent of success of the organization or the business in the market is largely dependent on their abilities to think clearly in tight situations and implement their vision for the organizations future.

Other aspects such as problem solving and team leading abilities of the leader were observed to emerge as most significant aspects in the contemporary arena of leadership traits. As discussed before, problem solving capabilities of a leader can have a considerable influence on the way an organization is administered. Thus one cannot count out the importance of such aspects of leadership. (Alchian & Demsetz 2007)

Finally, while analyzing the training aspects of leaders, it was noticed that all successful leaders nurtured their leadership skills at some point in time or continue to do so at present. However, it was also observed that some individuals, in spite of professional training had failed in leadership roles. This goes to show, one has to possess the basic willingness to assume the role of a leader and if one lacks this motivation no professional training can help him to succeed in his leadership endeavors.


Apart from all the qualities mentioned in this research paper, one must remember the importance of business ethics and its role in effective leadership. Ethical perspective is immensely critical and indispensable attribute of an effectual leader. Leaders must encourage his followers to build up a set of values and guiding ideology and publicize them for their customers and stakeholders to know. This has a positive impact on the business and also spreads a positive sense across the work environment. This is turn leads to better productivity of the employees.


Leadership is all about making things happen. It is the ability to motivate, control and direct people in the direction of a targeted objective. In the course of this research, we learned some of the most important features which form the foundations of an efficient and a successful leader. Amongst these the skills, those that emerged as the most notable, required and indispensable were the leader’s ability to take critical decisions, effectiveness in managing human resources in his team, problem solving competence, and innovation and flexibility in his approach. A key aspect that surfaced was that every individual has some qualities of a leader inherently. However, they implement such skills in varying levels across different situations which affect their willingness to assume the responsibilities and duties of a leader.


Alchian, A & Demsetz, H 2007, Production, information costs, and economic organization. American Economic Review, Vol. 62, Issue 2, pp 777-95.

Barney, J 2006, ‘Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage’. Journal of Management, Vol. 17, Issue. 4, pp 99-120.

Becker, G 2003, Human capital, Columbia U. Press, New York.

Bissell, B 2002, Resistance Change: Leadership, Ebsco publishing, Sydney.

Cameron, E & Green, F, 2004, Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change, Kogan Page Publishers, NY.

Dierickx, I K 2006, ‘Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage.’ Management Science, vol. 35, issue. 4, pp. 1504-1511.

Hargreaves, A & Fink, D, 2003, Sustaining Leadership, Ebsco publishing, Sydney.

Hiatt, J M 2003, Change Management: The People Side of Change, Prosci, London.

King, D 2002, Changing Shape of Leadership, Ebsco publishing, Sydney.

Wilson, D C 2002, A Strategy of Change: Concepts and Controversies in the Management of Change, Cengage Learning EMEA, NY.

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