Classical Leadership Style and Aristotle’s Perspective Coursework

November 25, 2020 by Essay Writer

Aristotle was one of the classical philosophers who discussed the issue of leadership in the city-state extensively. In his view, democracy was the worst system of governance because it gave the uneducated and the less fit an opportunity to rule. Therefore, democratic style of leadership was not the best because it went against the tenets of justice. In this case, the society had to give the best suited a chance to take over leadership positions based on an educational system.

He supported the ideas of Plato that the philosopher king has to be given a chance to exercise power while the soldiers were to provide the much-needed support by ensuring the citizens followed the law (Vroom, & Sternberg, 2002). The citizens had a specific role of ensuring that taxes are paid in time to help the philosopher king to execute his major duties. Aristotle described the qualities of the good leader by looking at three major qualities, including the ethos, pathos, and logos.

Ethos means the ethical character of an individual that gives him or her ability to convince others to adopt his or her opinion. The pathos entails the capability of an individual to change people’s feelings and move their emotions while the logos involves the capability to offer solid reasons before engaging in an action. Based on Aristotle’s classification of leadership styles, great individuals, such as Jesus Christ, Socrates, Winston Churchill, and Abraham Lincoln were the best leaders.

In the current organizational behavior, great leaders are rare to find mainly because of dissociation of leadership from true authority meaning the aspect of truth no longer exists. The challenges that individuals face in the modern society force them to transform their character. It is underscored that change is omnipresent, but it has played a negative role of separating people from the stable enduring, something that has changed the bases of authority.

Any form of leadership must be anchored in authority because it saves it from demagoguery and dictatorship. In many organizations, including the public agencies, leaders tend to force their followers to perform duties that are indifferent to their wishes (Spillane, & Richard, 2004). Authority plays a critical role in shaping leadership because it differentiates a real leader from a clairvoyant, a tyrant, and an expedient individual. According to Aristotle, an individual tends to be suspicious of any form of authority mainly because it is mistaken for the most feared thing. Others are always negative about leadership because it is something they envy, leading to confusion between authority and power.

In this case, it is claimed that people’s freedom would be in jeopardy in case good leadership style is employed. In Aristotle’s view, democracy is the worst leadership style meaning people should learn to follow the law since it would provide the best style. Many people think authority is the same as authoritarianism, but it is never the case since authoritative leadership gives people their freedoms and liberties while at the same time controlling them to produce the best results in the organization.

If the best individuals are allowed to offer their leadership skills, chances are high that other people would enjoy their freedoms uninterrupted. Based on this, authority is related to reality meaning it is the only trusted style. If, for instance, an individual is referred to as authority in academics, it means he or she understands everything in the area of specialization (Montana, & Bruce, 2008). Therefore, authority has to be embraced in case the best results are to be realized, irrespective of the size of the organization.

Leadership vs. Management

In the modern organizational culture, analysts rarely distinguish between leadership and management, but the reality is several differences exist. In fact, the two must be applied jointly in any organization in case the best results are to be realized. In other words, they are closely related and tend to complement each other meaning any attempt to separate them would generate several problems in the organization. The main role of any manager in any organization globally is to plan, organize, and coordinate (Van-Wormer, Besthorn, & Keefe, 2007).

On the other hand, the role of any leader is to inspire or motivate his or her followers. Leaders are never good innovators when compared to leaders since they are simply charged with the role of implementing the already formulated policy. In other words, it could be concluded that a manager mainly undertakes what others formulated while leaders are original in anything they do. In terms of contributing to organizational development, the manager maintains the assets and capital while the leader is expected to develop a strategy that would expand the operations of an organization.

Several managers are reluctant to generate their own structure preferring to use the existing systems while a leader is just focused on improving people’s productivity. For a manager, reliance on the systems of control and the policy of subordination is critical since they would ensure a clear structure is followed, but a leader’s view is different since he or she simply inspires the employees (Miner, 2005). This would mean managers design short-term objectives that fulfill the current aspirations while leaders engage in the formulation of long-term goals and objectives given the fact their main worry is sustainability of the business.


Miner, J. B. (2005). Organizational Behavior: Behavior 1: Essential Theories of Motivation and Leadership. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe.

Montana, P.J., & Bruce, H. (2008). Management. New York: Barron’s Educational Series.

Spillane, J.P., & Richard, D.J. (2004). Towards a theory of leadership practice. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 36(1), 3–34.

Van-Wormer, K.S., Besthorn, F.H., & Keefe, T. (2007). Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Macro Level: Groups, Communities, and Organizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Vroom, V., & Sternberg, R.J. (2002). Theoretical Letters: The person versus the situation in leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 13(3), 301–323.

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