The study of leadership and its approaches do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, you may find that combining theoretical approaches to describing a leader aid in providing a more in-depth and holistic understanding of the leader.
Scott Hatzung, an Officer of the United States Navy, is best analyzed using two theoretical approaches to leadership. Utilizing the trait theory, Hatzung was determined and persistent during his short six-year enlistment and in turn, attained his Bachelor’s Degree, advanced to the rank of E-6, and ultimately commissioned as an O-1. Examining the skills theory, Hatzung acquired the necessary skills as he grew within his organization and due to having certain traits, he was able to reach for new levels of leadership. His determination, persistence, and drive, helped him to achieve his goal and put him in a position where he could inspire and influence others. In turn, his experience helped him to develop certain skills that would evolve over time and eventually assist in conceptualizing the entire picture as his responsibilities grew. That growth helped him to maintain self-confidence and provide strength during times of personal and professional stress. With that said, both approaches complement each other in the examination of this leader’s development.
The idea of applying more than one theoretical approach to a leader sheds light on the complexity of leadership and helps us to determine the answers as to how and why leaders become leaders.