The Psychodynamic approach states that one can either be in five ego states: controlling parent, nurturing parent, adult, free child, or adapted child state. Each ego state corresponds to a different way of reacting to outside stimuli. It also states that leaders can transition between different ego states. For example, in a meeting, if the leader presents a problem to the team, which would be indicative of an adult ego state, and the followers just ask what they need to do, which would be indicative of a child ego state, then the leader needs to transition to a nurturing parent ego state to support and guide the followers on what they need to do. This implies that the most skilled of the leaders and followers are generally in a parent state or an adult state. If one consistently is in the parent ego state, they will become an emergent leader even if they are currently only a follower, as they are concerned about uniting others. Eventually, emergent leaders become appointed leaders. Thus, as long as any aspiring individual has the proper skills to be in the parent ego state, they can rise to a leader. The skills approach was appealing because it implied that anyone could be a leader, as long as they learned the skills. Thus, the two theories connect because they both provide a meritocratic view of leadership, where if one learns the necessary skills, they can rise to the top.

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