What is leadership? We all have an idea or image about leaders and their traits and behaviors. In leadership research, this is called an implicit leadership theory. It is comparable to a stereotype in that we apply these implicit leadership theories when confronted with a person labeled “leader.” To illustrate: Imagine you are at a party and your friend tells you that she is going to introduce you to a friend of hers who is a top leader of a Fortune 100 company. Immediately, you will have an idea about this person’s attributes. For example, you might imagine this person to be male, dominant, intelligent, and so on. Lynn Offermann and colleagues have conducted extensive research into the composition of these implicit leadership theories and ...

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