26 letters of the alphabet and accompanying blog posts later, we have reached the end of our ABC’s of small business and conclude with letter Z for Zeitgeist. While the definition of zeitgeist is associated with the intellectual, cultural, and moral climate of an era, we’re using the word to describe the zeitgeist theory of leadership.
The zeitgeist theory of leadership stems from Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy who believed that leaders, and the characteristics that they exhibited, were products of social circumstances during a specific time, acting out to situations that are beyond their control. This theory clashed with the great man theory from Thomas Carlyle that discussed how leaders weren’t made, but born, having said characteristics from very early on that would lead them into positions of power.
Since the contrast of zeitgeist theory of leadership versus the great man theory was first discussed, great man theory has been compared to that of the trait approach where leadership is the primary quality of an individual. Zeitgeist follows along the situationism approach where a leader is made based on the social environment that surrounds them and molded from situations.
This is where our CEO Deborah comes in, as well as so many other small business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the world. The best leaders, as we believe here at MyCorp, can have a little bit of the zeitgeist and great man (and woman) theory within them. A leader makes waves and stirs emotions, but knows how to take cover from a storm when it’s needed and more importantly, how to ensure that everyone else is safe as well during that time. Nobody gets left behind, no matter what happens, and that is what leads others to respect and look up to that person and inspire a call to action within others!