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Thinking about Leadership by Nannerl O. Keohane

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THREE

What Determines Who Becomes aLeader and Which LeadersWill Succeed?

WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE leaders and others not? Why do certain individuals step forward to propose solutions to common problems and mobilize others to follow them, or occupy posts that confer on them the right to do so in a regular fashion? Responses to this question sometimes paraphrase Maria’s letter to Malvolio in Twelfth Night: “Some are born to leadership; some achieve leadership; others have leadership thrust upon them.”1

Hereditary chiefs or members of a ruling aristocracy are born into positions with built-in expectations of leadership. Some fulfill their duties admirably; many fail, because of either deficiencies of personal qualifications or inauspicious circum stances. ...

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