The Seed of Leadership Resides Within

Leaders are made over time not born. Every person on earth has the potential to lead effectively buried inside.

Peter Northouse PhD defines leadership as someone having influence on a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. The trait approach began in the early 20th century to determine what made people leaders (Northouse, 2010). Researchers believed that people were born with traits that separated leaders from non-leaders. Over the years this extensive research listed many traits but there are 5 major leadership traits that stood out being intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability.

Intelligence contributes to a leader’s problem solving and social judgment skills. (Northouse, 2010). Leaders with self-confidence have high self-esteem and self-assurance; influence. Leaders who have determination show initiative, persistence, dominance, and drive to complete tasks. Leaders with integrity have a high level of honesty and trust that gives others confidence in them. Leaders who have the final trait of sociability are friendly, outgoing, and have compassion towards others (Northouse, 2010).

Pawar and Eastman (1997) recognize that there is a renewed interest in the concept of leadership due to changing patterns of organizational life and social expectations in the workplace. Due to this shift, organizations now feel the need to become more flexible and or client centric, which requires different authority rather than the one typical in bureaucratic organizations, Rayner and Smith (2005). Noted management and organizational expert Laurie Mullins (2005, p. 366) sees leadership skill being important for those attempting to “get things done through other people” rather than just simple managerial instructions coming from higher level of hierarchy.

There are examples of leadership throughout scripture but not many follow the leadership trait pattern described by Northhouse. It could be said, based on Northhouse, that Moses, David, Elijah, Samuel and others may not have had traits that positioned them for leadership. In my mind those traits are the starting point but “if you have the desire, courage and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience” (Jago, 1982).

The seed of leadership matures over time.


Jago, A. G. (1982). Leadership: Perspectives in theory and research. Management Science, 28(3), 315-336.

Mullins, L. (2005). Management and organizational behaviour (7th ed.). Harlow, England: Prentice Hall/Financial Times.

Northouse, P.G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice, 5th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Powell, Raymond M (12/22/2006). “Lines of excellence: executing a balanced organizational vision.”. Air & space power journal (1555-385X), 20 (4), p. 63.

Pawar, B.S. & Eastman, K.K. 1997. The nature and Implications of contextual influences on transformational leadership: A conceptual examination. Academy of Management Review.

Rayner, C., & Smith, D. (2005). Managing and leading people (2nd ed.). London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.


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