by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 8/15/15.
My students read the classic book on leadership by Northouse, P. G. (2012). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. In this book there are dozens of ways (or theories) to look at leadership.
Sometimes students wonder if there “are any over-all or generally recurring elements in a leader?”
The answer is yes:
1-2) things leaders are born with (abilities/skills)
3-4) and things they develop (skills/behaviors)
5) through collaboration (relationships).
Let me explain why Northouse sees this.
Northouse sees running through the multiple theories of leadership, five (5) recurring qualities. In “Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practices” (Los Angeles: Sage, 2012:2-6) he explains how all leadership theories are really just looking at leadership as a pentagon of five sides. He thus weaves together five qualities of all leadership theories: traits, abilities, skills, behaviors and relationships. Here is my synopsis (with an example):
1. Trait: inherent qualities you are born with (2012:2-3), i.e. high energy and a quick mind.
2. Ability: natural capacity (ibid.), i.e. being naturally good at public speaking
3. Skill: a developed competency (ibid.), i.e. ability to put together a seminar
4. Behavior: what a leaders does with traits, abilities and skills (2012:2-6), i.e. creates popular speaking engagements.
5. Relationships: requires collaboration, i.e. organizes a speaking tour.
Thus, the trait-ability-skill-behavior-relationship pentagon describes how (in all theories) leaders lead by things they are born with (abilities/skills) and things they develop (skills/behaviors) through collaboration (relationships).
Each week I give my students a followup question.
It requires a response and will add significantly to their understanding (and their grade 🙂 So, if you are a student and reading tjhis, make sure you answer the weekly followup questions. Here is the first.
A. Describe some leadership quality you were born with and/or comes naturally: _________________________________
B. Describe how you have expanded it: _________________________________________
C. Using this foundation, how do you collaborate with others to use these qualities? ____________________________________
A. Describe some leadership quality you were born and/or comes naturally: high energy, enjoy reading and/or analyzing something.
B. Describe how you have expanded it: I spend a lot of time reading and researching about church growth and change.
C. Using this foundation, how do you collaborate with others to lead: I created a consulting firm to meet with church leaders and work with them through my analysis of their church.
Now, if you are a student share your response in the course forum. I am looking forward to good insights. Or if you are reading this wiki- for the resources, this makes a good exercise for your Sunday School class or small group.