Angela Merkel: Portrait of a Leader

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University of Richmond
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Angela Merkel is a renowned chancellor in the world having served for three terms in Germany. Merkel is a Ph.D. graduate in Quantum Chemistry; this explains why she prefers solving problems in a scientific way and gathering information. It is known how Merkel takes time in understanding a situation to come up with decisions which are calculated for that particular case with no hurry. When executing plans Merkel is also known for making course corrections openly. Her leadership in decision making has been influenced by her growing up in East Germany. Merkels stand on the refugee issue Europe is dealing with clearly shows her ability in tearing down walls, openness, and inclusivity. She uses her life experience to understand a tough issue like in the case of the Greek Debt Crisis. She stood firmly on the austerity measures to be accepted by Greece for them to be eligible for a financial bailout. Her experience on the collapse of the East Germany Economy when she was young helped her come up with a resolute position on the issue. Merkel also values cooperation and consensus. In her three years chancellery in German governments, two were built on a coalition of the Christians and social democrats. Even though the coalition could have been a political necessity, its benefits were evident. German has therefore prospered and become prominent globally as a result of the economic and social changes made by Merkel's government from the majority in the Bundestag.

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Strength and Limitations of Trait Theory

A primary advantage of the Trait Theory is that it portrays leaders as special people who are on the forefront to lead the way in the society. Besides, it gives a detailed understanding of the component of a leader in the process of leadership. Negatively the trait does not describe the qualities of a leader. The quality approach does not consider the impact of the situation when analysing leadership traits. This method has stable and fixed individual attributes that cannot be readily changed, thus it is not useful for the development of leadership and training.

The usefulness of the trait theory in assessing the effectiveness of the leader selected

Angela Merkel was a quality leader if you understand the trait theory. Along with other traits, effective leaders are characterized as activity level and stamina, socio-economic class, education, and intelligence. A modern way of understanding the role of traits in leadership has been proposed by Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991). Some key attributes are a precondition for effective leadership but are not enough to make a leader.


Engelen, K. C. (2016): Surprises, shocks, and upheavals: for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, they are coming faster than ever. The International Economy, (3), 46

Kirkpatrick, S. A., and E. A. Locke 1991: Leadership: Do traits matter? Academy of Management Executive 5(2): 48-60

Sheeler, K. H., & Anderson, K. V. (2014): Gender, Rhetoric, and International Political Systems: Angela Merkel's Rhetorical Negotiation of Proportional Representation and Party

Politics. Communication Quarterly, 62(4), 474-495. doi:10.1080/01463373.2014.922484

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