Leadership and Supermen

22 September 2004

I had a really good class in MGMT 101 this morning, they were animated and talkative (in a good way). I wonder how much that was a consequence of having them all sit together at the front of the class.

Marie Wilson once reminded me of the difference that occurs in class dynamics as a result of how spread out the students are.

Anyway, one of the things that I don’t think I made clear today, was the relationship between the Trait Approach to leadership and the music I was playing (O Superman–see below for the details).

In a glib way, the trait approach presupposes that one either has, or doesn’t have, the necessary characteristics to be a great (or heroic) leader. Alas, there are so many organisations and so few ‘heroic’ leaders–that is to say, from the trait approach, perhaps the world doesn’t have enough supermen/superwomen.

Actually, it is interesting to compare and contrast the Trait Approach to leadership with Jim Collins’ ideas of Level 5 leadership. Although the traits are different between the two, one is still left wondering where these ‘heroes’ are going to come from.


Collins, J. C. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap–and others don’t). New York: HarperBusiness.