The Real Leadership Crunch

By Sweeney, Catherine | The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

The Real Leadership Crunch


Sweeney, Catherine, The Christian Science Monitor


Since Confucius and Plato, scholars have theorized about how humans lead. Leadership is everywhere - in business, government, and even the home. And yet, as historian and noted leadership scholar James MacGregor Burns has noted, "Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth."

In a presidential election year, our thoughts turn naturally to leadership. Our world has grown so complex, so interconnected, that we need leaders who can engineer consent and cooperation to make necessary changes that will improve our communities, nation, and world.

"Never in our history have there been more massive demographic changes, greater differences in socio-economic well-being, and such alarming environmental and social challenges," says John Parr, past president of the National Civic League. "And never before has there been such a lack of confidence in the abilities of our leaders and institutions to address these challenges."

However, effective leadership is going on all the time in our communities at the grass-roots level.

So what's missing overall? I believe it is the identification and explicit training of future leaders. It is time for colleges and universities to formally prepare students to be leaders. And it's time for the media to acknowledge that it can be done. Schools prepare accountants, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, historians, poets, journalists, scientists, mathematicians, and novelists.

But, by and large, they leave the study and practice of leadership to chance.

Of course, higher education has always presumed to educate tomorrow's leaders. But in the first half of the 20th century, only a small percentage of Americans attended college and they were often - by virtue of birthright - already destined for leadership roles in society. Thus it was an easy claim to make.

It is not so easy today. A far larger cohort of citizens attend college than was the case a half-century ago. How many of them will become effective leaders? Not enough, I fear, although the potential is there.

Until 80 years ago, only isolated scholars gave much attention to the characteristics of effective leaders and the process of leadership. More recently, leadership has become a subject for serious scholarship.

Since World War II, thousands of studies and books have been published about leadership processes. From this body of knowledge, and from some older sources, has grown the awareness that leadership can be taught.

In other words, the question of whether leaders are born or made has been answered. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Real Leadership Crunch
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.