This question has plagued critics for some 30 years, and writers who specialize in leadership issues are firmly divided on the issue. The real question is what kind of leadership are we talking about, for there are many kinds. There is a quality leader, a strategic leader, as well as other types. A connection also exists between leadership and management (Schein, 1993).
Strategic management is the name given to the most important, difficult and encompassing challenge that confronts any private or public organization: how to lay the foundation for tomorrow's success while competing to win in today's marketplace. It can be said that there are two kinds of leaders--those who are born and those who are made (Sch˜n, 1983). But at the same time, there are many kinds of businesses today, and a "born" leader might be ineffective in some and effective in others.
All leadership is making a choice between situations. Do I hire more employees, or give the present ones overtime? The situational leader would be able to deal with making sure that there is a constant awareness of what business the company is really in. This also suggests that the organization must establish clear and defined, yet flexible goals.
The "born" leader, on the other hand, might not be able to cope with the speed of change today. "As economies move to an information age of complex technologies global markets, intense competition, and turbulent, constant change, managers everywhere are struggling to cope with failing organizations" (Senge, 1990, 34).
This leads to the question of what kinds of companies a born leader would best manage and what kind a developed leader would manage. This would place a higher value on diverse personalities in the workplace and may lead critics away from pejorative stereotypes and toward Total Quality Management. The stereotypical born leader is typically a conformist who follows standard operating procedures to the let...