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Leadership History and Evolution

Every century has an example of a capable leader that influenced many people. However, various leaders differ significantly from each other from one period of time to another. For example, history knows Alexander the Great as a conqueror and a warrior. His personal qualities highlight him as a determined and smart leader. However, his leadership is firmly associated with his military capabilities (Worthington, 2014). His ability to lead an army is considered to be his main qualification. In fact, many leaders of the ancient times were praised for their wins in battles.

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While one’s military abilities remain one of the most significant points of leadership to this day, the evolution of leaders brought new important qualities into the light. For example, Peter the Great, the first emperor of Russia, was famous not only for being a strong leader but also for promoting change and modernization. His leadership strategy included promoting new relationships with other countries and strengthening a bond with Europe.

Peter’s style of leading the country differs from Alexander’s approach. According to Walter and Scheibe (2013), an emperor does not focus on conquering new territories as much as on maintaining existing ones.

Finally, leaders of the 20th and 21st centuries are changed as well. They also differ from each other, depending on the time period and location. For example, Winston Churchill is considered one of the most famous leaders of the 20th century. According to Gibson and Weber (2015), Churchill’s qualities include decisiveness, self-improvement, and confidence. Moreover, his communicational skills are also highlighted by many theorists.

His ability and desire to promote peace is more important than his capability to go to war. Thus, while many qualifications stayed the same for every leader, including one’s commitment and perseverance, some actions, and traits such as the ability to maintain peace and encourage innovation became more strongly associated with strong leadership.


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Gibson, M., & Weber, R. J. (2015). Applying leadership qualities of great people to your department: Sir Winston Churchill. Hospital Pharmacy, 50(1), 078-083.

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Landis, E. A., Hill, D., & Harvey, M. R. (2014). A synthesis of leadership theories and styles. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(2), 97-100.

Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Walter, F., & Scheibe, S. (2013). A literature review and emotion-based model of age and leadership: New directions for the trait approach. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(6), 882-901.

Worthington, I. (2014). Alexander the Great: Man and god. New York, NY: Routledge.

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