The (many?) paths to leadership

It is rather convenient that we have been focusing on leadership in class, as it is also the current topic in my concurrent Organizational Studies class. In my Org Studies class, we are learning about “How to become a successful leader” and the skill sets needed in order to obtain this title. After sitting through my Org Studies lectures and discussions, it is becoming more evident  that we are being taught and only focusing on one specific way to become this “successful leader” through different steps to take and skill sets to obtain. These steps and skills are being taught to us, all while not acknowledging the numerous others types of leaders we could potentially become as Machiavelli does in The Prince or as John Dame does in Harvard Business Review. Although hundreds of years old, The Prince gives us insight and explanation on how to become a successful leader and a prince. Machiavelli teaches us about these different types of leaders from his own experiences and different scenarios.

Machiavelli pondering which type of leader he wants to be

Machiavelli pondering which type of leader he wants to become

In my Org Studies class, we are learning about one specific way to become the best possible leader. A handful of fellow classmates and I cannot help but to wonder how this can be the case when there are so many different types of leaders in the world. Bill Clinton, Ronald Regan, and Barak Obama all posses different leadership skill sets and all took different approaches in becoming a leader. If they all followed the set steps my Org Studies class is encouraging us to take to become a leader, would they all have achieved the leadership position of President of the United States? I think not.

If the main leaders behind either side of the Middle Eastern conflict followed these set skill sets, would there even be a conflict?

What leadership path is Reagan following?

What leadership path is Reagan following?

Machiavelli tells us in Chapter VII that princes can be wicked, in Chapter IX that they can be civil, in Chapter XXV adventurous and so on and so forth. The Wall Street Journal released a correlating article that discusses many different types of leaders; the visionary, the coach, and the democrat, along with many others. There is clearly something to be said about all of these different leadership options in contrast to my Org Studies class.

With so many articles, blogs, and real life examples highlighting the various ways to become a leader (and in turn maintaining that leadership position), I am still curious as to how my concurring class is able to so confidently go about telling us the specific skill sets needed in becoming a leader. The many discussions about The Prince that we have had in our Political Science lecture and discussion continue to fuel my curiosity and questions as to what is being taught in my Org Studies class. In my opinion (and no offense to my Org Studies class), there is not but one want to approach leadership.