Leadership: Past, Present, and Future: An Evolution of an Idea


  • Thaddeus Hunt Calallen Independent School District
  • LaVonne Fedynich Texas A&M University-Kingsville




leader, leadership, management theory, organizational behavior, group dynamics


Defining a leader and the qualities that demonstrate leadership have evolved over the past centuries.  Researchers have explored leadership traits using various methodologies since the concept of the leader and leadership has arisen in the lexicon. However, a consistent methodology or even consensus of the nature of effective leadership has been the subject of great debate.  Understanding the ideals of leadership that help identify great leaders requires a reexamination of the historical evolution of leadership theories and principles.  The early ideas of leadership were born of an age of expansion and industrial revolution that identified a leader as that one, great individual.  Through this tour of history, the theories surrounding leaders and leadership have evolved and changed with each era.  Trait theory and behavioral models have given way to ideals such as authentic leadership and environmental influenced leadership. More modern theories invert the traditional paradigm of vertical leadership to a flattened form of dynamic leadership where leaders are interchangeable dependent upon the task. While the intricacies of each theory cannot be completely and exhaustively examined in this text, the review and evolution of leadership principals is important in providing a framework to a better understanding as to the evolution of leadership theory from the early to modern age.  

Author Biographies

  • Thaddeus Hunt, Calallen Independent School District

    Special Education Teacher

    Robotics Instructor

    Digital Learning Consultant

    Holds a JD

  • LaVonne Fedynich, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

    Educational Leadership and Counseling


    Program Coordinator of the Educational Administration Program


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