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Bass’s article, “Concepts of Leadership: the Beginning” stuck out to me most out of the readings. Besides learning a definition for leadership, we read about how leadership’s definition has evolved through history.

One quote that stuck out to me was, “the study of leadership rivals in age the emergence of civilization, which shaped its leaders as much as it was shaped by them.” This reminded me of the podcast, because professor Bezio talked a little bit about people learning from example scenarios in history. I believe leaders learn from previous leaders mistakes, or even their strengths, and then lead a certain way because of that to an extent.

The other thing that stuck out to me was how generalizations of leadership are still being found today. This reminded me of how professor Bezio said in her podcast that the great person theory has been disproven. Many people who have the qualities of a great leader, never lead anything in their life. I found these two points to tie together in the sense that, while some may have certain principals for a what a leader needs, many common people can share these qualities as well.

Along with that, Bass wrote about West Point’s fundamental principal today which is, “by first serving as a follower, a leader subsequently can  best understand his followers.” This was interesting because it goes along with the fact that common people can be leaders and there are untold histories about them that need to be shared. Through the concepts of leadership from an early time that Bass discusses, we can see how there is no set definition or generalization of what a leader must have. With history, we can learn what worked and what didn’t and where to go from there; evidently, leadership’s definition is still changing today.

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  1. William Coben William Coben

    Olivia, I am interested in your point about Professor Bezio’s Podcast, and the mention of the great man theory. It is quite common to hear leaders being “born with it” or always having that ability to lead, but it is so interesting that those sayings aren’t valid and don’t hold true. While i do believe great leaders have inspiring personality traits along the lines of being personable and getting along with people, those traits are developed at young ages, but are not inherited through birth, which really does disprove the great man theory. I would point out though, that while many common people have the “traits that a leader needs to posses,” so to speak, leaders are leaders for a reason, and they attract and inspire people more than the average joe, hence the title leader as well as a group of common followers.

  2. Kayla O'Connell Kayla O'Connell

    I also agree with your statement saying that leaders learn from previous leaders mistakes, or even their strengths. In order to create a just form of leadership, taking history into account is crucial. It is what we learn from our past that will create a better tomorrow!

  3. Annie Waters Annie Waters

    I really love your emphasis on the importance of “commoners” in leadership scenarios. Truly, a following base will likely provide much more impact to a social movement than any one particular leader. Considering Dr. Bezio’s explanation of historiography, I wonder how Bass’s presentation of leadership philosophies might differ if drawn from accounts of history that were more holistic as opposed to its financially driven glorification of singular figureheads.

  4. Sophia Picozzi Sophia Picozzi

    I was also struck by the quote that mentioned how leadership was influenced by civilization and greatly influenced the civilizations and communities that they were leading in. It’s important to think of leadership in the context of these cultures and not overlook the profound impact followers and the public have on leaders. A leader is nothing without their followers!

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