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What are the organizational implications of assuming that leaders are born and not made


  1. What are the organizational implications of assuming that leaders are born and not made?
  1. At this point in your thinking, how would you explain the difference between leaders and managers?
  1. How would you respond to someone who asserted that “leadership is what leaders do”?

Case Study

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The Case of Dundee Consulting Inc.

It was Friday, April 16 and the final mailing was being hand delivered to the U.S. Post Office. Max Forest was in charge of the Southern Rockies Tax Accounting division of Dundee Consulting. Max’ group was comprised of twelve accountants, an office manager, and four office staff members. Max and his team had worked nearly 16-hour days for the last month to complete the stacks of tax documents for the hundred or so clients they served in the tri-state area. Max had personally put in nearly 100 hours in the last week and was as physically and emotionally exhausted as everyone else on the accounting team. About half of the team asked to take part of the next week off in order to recover from the heavy schedule they had kept over the last quarter. The rest of the group would be in the office, but Max knew they were finalizing important loose ends with late filings. The tax season was even more tense because Max had been told in January that his division might be closed if revenue from the tax season was not substantial enough to justify the huge payroll and high overhead cost of the plush office in downtown Denver.

Max had just received an email from Dundee Vice President of Domestic Operations, Jimmie Walls. Jimmie announced that he was going to be in the Denver area on Monday, April 19 and would like to meet with Max and his team to assess earnings of the division during the recently ended first quarter. Jimmie proposed that the team and Max compile and analyze as much income data as they could by Monday and present that information over a luncheon meeting. Max realized that the amount of time needed just to collect the data would be well over 20 hours, even for the most veteran team associates. Max also realized that a poor showing (in either the data or the presentation) would greatly impact, perhaps fatally, the future of the Southern Rockies division. The meeting had to be held, it had to be flawless, and the data had to be presented effectively if the team (and possibly even Max) were to have any hope of being retained by Dundee.

  1. If Max were to engage in leadership, what actions would he take? Discuss each basic element needed to deliver the best possible meeting on Monday.
  1. If Max were to engage in management, what actions would he take to insure the best possible outcome on Monday?

Chapter 02: History of Leadership

Discussion Questions

  1. Imagine yourself as a leader in a past era. Name the era and describe how you would handle a specific (give an example) problem or situation.
  1. Talk to someone who was in the workforce in the 1960’s, and ask them what leadership was like in that classical era. Report what you find out, and then tell what changes you think have taken place in leadership since then.
  1. Imagine yourself in a leadership situation. What behaviors and skills, in your best estimate, will be necessary to successfully lead others?


Consider each of the following situations and compare the actions of leaders from at least three different eras. Write what you think they would do in each of the situations in the space provided.

  1. You are on a mountainside, miles away from any settlement. A member of your climbing party has been severely hurt and cannot continue. You are the designated decision-making for the group. What do you do?
    1. Tribal Approach
    1. Classical Approach
    1. Post-Progressive Approach
  1. You are preparing to lead a group of soldiers into a potentially fatal battle. As the battalion commander, you are looked to for leadership. What approach will you use to increase the likelihood of victory?
    1. Pre-Classical Approach
    1. Classical Approach
    1. Progressive Approach

Chapter 03: Trait Theories

Discussion Questions

  1. Discuss the basic premise behind the great man theory.
  1. List and discuss the key variables identified by Stogdill’s 1948 Review.
  1. Discuss what you believe are the strengths and weaknesses of the trait approach to leadership.
  1. Discuss the key elements of charismatic leadership theory.
  1. Give an example of a charismatic leader. Explain why you chose this individual.


  1. Think about a highly visible corporate leader who has impressed you. Also think of a political leader that has positively impressed you. Finally, think of a religious/spiritual leader that has helped you grow. Name the leaders you have chosen. Consider the traits of each of these leaders and compare each leader to the others based on their traits.

Chapter 04: Behavioral Theories

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe the characteristics of:
    1. Autocratic style leaders
    1. Democratic style leaders
    1. Laissez-faire style leaders
  1. What results do each of these styles produce?
  1. What results do they have on member satisfaction?
  1. Define initiating structure and initiating consideration.
  1. Compare and contrast the findings of the studies at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and the Managerial Grid.


In the course of your life, you have probably encountered individuals who tried to use each of the three styles of leadership mentioned in the chapter. Briefly describe one such encounter you can remember for each style, tell how you felt about that leadership style, and explain how it affected the group’s ability to reach its goals

  1. Autocratic
  1. Democratic
  1. Laissez-faire

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