Sheila Joseph DNY Leadership Assignment November 10, 2010 Great Leaders in the History of New York “The very essence of leadership is its purpose. And the purpose of leadership is to accomplish a task. That is what leadership does-and what it does is more important than what it is or how it works. ” This quote by Colonel Dandridge M. Malone, shows that leadership needs to be focused on what it accomplishes instead of just being leadership for leadership’s sake. To me, a leader is simply someone who has a mind of their own; someone who sets their own path instead of following another’s.Early leadership theories focused on what qualities and traits really set leaders apart from followers.
Subsequent theories look at other variables. For example, skill level and situational factors. The great man, trait, influence, behavioral, reciprocal, and social are six of the most common leadership theories developed from the late 1800’s. “You’re a natural born leader. ” This is a statement that has been said thousands of times. However, are people actually ‘born’ to lead? The Great Man theory suggests that great leaders possess certain traits that are inherited through birth.Earlier leadership was considered as a quality found in males and therefore the theory got its name. It is assumed that in times of need, a great man will arise.
This theory portrays leaders as heroic and mythic characters destined to rise to leadership when necessary. Like the Great Man theory, Trait theory of leadership assume that people inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. Trait theories often identify certain characteristics or personality types shared by leaders.Traits are considered to be naturally part of a person’s character from the time they are born. From this standpoint, leadership trait theory assumes that people are born as leaders or not as leaders. Since certain traits are associated with leadership, if you can identify people with the correct traits, then you will be able to recognize a leader or someone with leadership potential.
John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and John Pierpont Morgan are three men who are closely linked. They exemplified both Great Man and Trait theories of leadership through their work in transforming New York’s economy.John D. Rockefeller, one of the most respected and valued leaders in history, is a fine representation of Great Man and Trait Theories. Among his many accomplishments, Rockefeller helped transform the economy of New York. He revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of modern day philanthropy. In his years of business, one of the things that pushed Rockefeller to success was his strong leadership abilities.
His influence is what Rockefeller is most remembered for. At that time, all those around him wanted to follow him.People wanted were inspired to do more than they thought they could.
He was a great example of leadership because he was a professional who had good character and above all, a good sense of business. Even his competitors joined him and found that they achieved greater success just by following Rockefeller. This man was the guiding force behind the creation and development of the Standard Oil Company, which grew to dominate the oil industry and became one of the first big trusts in the United States.
When New York’s economy was going downhill, John D. Rockefeller had a great impact in remodeling it.He once said, “I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity,” and that’s exactly what he did. Andrew Carnegie, another Captain of Industry, is also an honorable representative for Great Man and Trait Theories. At a young age of thirteen, Carnegie started his first job changing the spools of thread in cotton. He then went on to work at the Ohio Telegraph Company as a messenger.
He was the definition of a hard worker, thus rising to prominence very quickly. Later on, he made several investments in railroad industries, creating the foundation of his later success.Carnegie became the individual that controlled the largest iron and steel operations in the United States. He gave his later life to philanthropic work, focusing on issues such as, world peace and education. Though Andrew Carnegie had given over $350 million of his wealth, he didn’t believe in alms- giving.
Instead he wanted to assist people in helping and bettering themselves. He once said, “I never give a cent to a beggar, nor do I help people of whose record I am ignorant. ” In the 1890’s, John Pierpont (J. P.
) Morgan was the man behind the expanding U. S. railroad system.He was what Carnegie was to steel and Rockefeller to oil. This man is another great example of Leader ship but to me, he leans more toward the Great Man theory. Unlike Carnegie and Rockefeller who I believe represent both Great Man and Trait theories.
The idea of the Great Man also strayed into the mythic domain, and was thought that a heroic “Great Man” would arise in times of great need. Morgan led the financial community in avoiding an economic collapse following the stock-market crash of 1907. By solving the panic of 1907, Morgan represents this Great Man theory of leadership.When the panic hit, the financial community of New York rallied around Morgan and the Federal government entrusted its funds to his disposition. This man was a superb organizer in an economy that was going completely downhill. As an art collector, Morgan avidly sought artwork and then donated them later in his life.
These three men, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and John Pierpont Morgan exemplify both Great Man and Trait theories of Leadership. Through their work in philanthropy and completely changing the economy of New York, I don’t know who else would be greater models of leadership for this state.Works Cited (2009 ). In Connecticut. Retrieved Sep. 24, 2009, from http://www. netstate.
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