Leadership theory and practice

This paper summarize and analyze three articles talking about leadership :

Allio, R. (2009) ‘Leadership – The Five Big Ideas‘, Strategy & Leadership, 37 (2) pp.4-12


Connell, J. Cross, B. & Parry, K. (2002) ‘Leadership in The 21st Century, Where Is It Leading Us?’, In: International Journal of Organizational Behavior, Available at: http://www.usq.edu.au/extrafiles/business/journals/HRMJournal/InternationalArticles/ConnellCrossParry2.pdf (accessed: 7/2/2014)

Livingston, J., (2003) ‘Pygmalion in Management‘, Harvard Business Review, 81 (1), pp. 97-106

The three articles cited in this paper are concerned with the leadership theories and practice. The main ideas in each article and a short summary of the content of the article are presented.

The first article is Allio’s article which could be summarized in the following:

  • There are main aspects in defining and researching the issue of leadership.
  • There are four areas that require more understanding and investigation to better identify the successful leader.
  • Five recommendations that every leader should follow to be successful.

Business Presentation

The article is explaining that although there has been a lot of research about leadership, there are only five major ideas in defining the effective leader. The real leader is not only doing the right thing but also perform his leadership with honesty, sincerity, and by following the principles. In another words, he should apply the good values and virtues. Furthermore, the style of the leader is his choice depending on many factors. It is believed also that there isn’t a single leadership model that is valid in all conditions and that the values of every society have a great role in defining the leadership style and that it changes with time. Moreover, the author thinks that the real leader should exercise power in bringing all stakeholders into one table where they participate in the decision making process and they develop a common plan of action. The management of change is the main talent that every successful leader should have. Nevertheless, it is argued that leadership could be acquired by training and developed by experience.

The author argues that there is a need for more research of the leadership because of its importance. The four main areas of research are the way of choosing leaders, the training programs of future leaders and also the followers, and the tools for evaluation of success or failure of leaders. At the end, the author recommends some ideas for successful leaders to comprehend. The first one is that leadership and moral goodness are synonyms. Secondly, the leader should have the ability to adapt to new conditions, and should be able to cooperate with all the stakeholders to achieve success. Finally, he should choose a leadership style that is suitable to his or her work environment and be in a continuous process of learning.

The article is pressing on the problem of defining leadership and the main characteristics of the leader which is obvious in most of the research about the leadership. It is clear that learning is essential in improving as a leader. The other notable issue is that cultural differences are playing main role in understanding how to lead people although we live in a more connected world.

The second article is Livingston’s article which includes the following main ideas:

  • The manager is responsible for her or his subordinates’ performance
  • The effect of the manager beliefs in his or her employees’ capabilities is shaping the future of young employees.
  • The matching of good managers with good employees is crucial to successful business.

Business area (1)

The author describes that what the manager thinks about his or her employees’ talents could be a prediction that accomplish itself. In another words, if the manager predicts good results from his or her subordinates, the performance of his or her subordinates is good remarkably and vice versa. Moreover, it is argued that the “Pygmalion effect” is essential element in the success or failure of the employees during their early years in work. He notes also that successful managers are good in choosing their employees. Furthermore, it is believed that there isn’t a bad employee but there is a bad manager.

From my own experience, I would find that the “Pygmalion Effect” is to some extent acceptable in revealing the reasons of success or failure of leaders and subordinates. The trust between the employee and his or her manager has a great influence on the performance of the business. It is clear that the first impressions define the relationship between the managers and their subordinates. I might add that success begins with a leader who has understanding of his own capabilities and his or her employees’ capabilities and knows how to use them effectively and how to develop them.

The literature about good leadership concentrates on what is a good leader and that supervising their subordinates is important for successful leadership. This article shows detailed explanation of how a good leader makes his own success by inspiring his or her subordinates and influencing them to unleash their potential.

The third article is by Julia Connell, Bernadette Cross, and Ken Parry which involves:

  • Literature review of leadership theories and definition.
  • The role of leaders in change and knowledge management.
  • The question of leadership in the 21st

Business area (2)

The authors are reexamining the research done on the definition of leadership and the theories of leadership. It is clear that there is no exact answer about what the leadership is and who the effective leader is. Additionally, the leader role requires more than just technical expertise. The author argues that it is evident from previous research that leadership is mainly related to the values and the culture of the community and not advancements in technology or economy. Moreover, it is believed that emotional intelligence has a major effect on the success of leaders. The transformational and transactional leadership are explained briefly. The ability of a leader to manage change and reorganize the processes and hierarchy of their business is proving the effectiveness of the leader as shown from the preceding research papers. It is equally believed that leadership should strengthen intellectual assets through highly skilled workers in a breath taking technological progress era. The importance of trust between the leader and their subordinates is found to be crucial to business success. The author concludes that it is clear that there is no a specific model of leadership which makes measuring it very difficult and that is a challenge in the 21st century.


The authors are clarifying that management of change and knowledge are very important in achieving the goals of the organizations. This issue is clear in many places in the rapidly evolved environment. The author main contribution to me is that emotional intelligence is required for effective leadership. However, the role of the emotional intelligence in the success of leaders is still a mystery. It is evident from previous research papers that emotional intelligence is more important for leaders in times of change.

It is clear that the definition of the leader is still very complex issue. There are many efforts to understand the qualities of the effective leader. Moreover, the ability of the leader to learn from his own experience and form others and improve the process of learning in his or her organization. One of the main determinants of the success of the leader is his or her capability to influence and motivate his or her employees in a positive way and to help them gain self-confidence. The understanding of the leadership is considered to be one of the eminent questions of the future.


The paper prepared by : THE PEAK Business Research Center ,

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