How Would You Define Leadership?
I would define leadership as the ability of any individual, regardless of their status or title, to influence others and achieve a final outcome via team commitment, influence and motivation. Leadership is a highly dynamic and forever changing requirement for all of society in the 21st century and has allowed society as a whole to develop and advance socially and technologically. The concept of leadership and its practice is dependent on a number of different circumstances, environments, teams, values and objectives. As such, leadership can not be restrictive and nor can it remain constant for a sustained period of time. For example, a political leader relies heavily on governance whilst a business leader may be focusing more on strategy and human resource management. Furthermore, leadership pertains to not only the requirements of a specified industry or job title, but the personality traits and individual strengths and requirements of the individual that must lead and achieve an overall outcome for the greater good of an organization or society as a whole.
Throughout my respective management and leadership experiences, I have seen leadership to vary widely, hence supporting my initial statements on its diverse nature. For centuries, academics and well known individuals have attempted to define leadership and essentially establish a structure for teaching others how to lead I believe this to be the wrong way of teaching younger people and children about leadership. Leadership can not be taught or engrained in a student or focus group. Rather, more experienced leaders in society can provide insights into different leadership scenarios and encourage people to incorporate their own traits in defining their own leadership style and how to effectively lead others.
Furthermore, in defining leadership, various leadership styles can be extensively analyzed as they are always present throughout an organization and in different forms. Each individual within an organization has a different leadership style, which vary in their effectiveness in different situations. This is significant as we can learn off the leadership styles of others and determine how certain situations should be encountered and how individuals should be led. Furthermore, leaders can improve their skills by learning off the failures of others. For example, in the corporate world, newly promoted leaders need to learn how to quickly make amends after previous leadership failures and determine how to positively influence others and instill success in their team. In a sense, good leadership is achieved through the use of initiative and individuals trying to find unique ways of achieving an outcome. Subordinates will subsequently respect leaders more if they are willing to exceed all boundaries to achieve a goal, which benefits everyone.
I also believe that leadership should always be related to success and an individual being able to influence others to effect change and achieve an overall outcome. If an individual can not achieve success, than their style needs to be further refined. As discussed earlier, there are a number of mechanism by which leaders can improve their style. The HEC program is one such means by which leaders can theoretically and practically learn how to become more effective and influential.
In conclusion, leadership is primarily based on an individual achieving success through positively influencing others and also developing and advancing further in their respective careers. Future leaders need to learn off the faults of others and be open to change, the use of initiative and listening to their subordinates. It has also been identified in this paper that the beliefs of subordinates also influence the effectiveness of a leader and how they use their team to achieve a task and ultimately, success.
Essay on Leadership: Meaning, Nature and Importance of Leadership!
“Leadership is the quality of behavior of individuals whereby they guide people or their activities in organising efforts” — Chester I. Barnard
“Leadership is the ability of a superior to induce subordinates to work with confidence and I zeal” — Koontz and ‘Donnell
“Leadership is the process by which an executive imaginatively directs, guides and influences the work of others in attaining specified goals.” — Theo Haimann
Leadership may be defined as a position of power held by an individual in a group, which provides him with an opportunity to exercise interpersonal influence on the group members for miobilising and directing their efforts towards certain goals. The leader is at the centre of group’s power structure, keeps the group together, infuses life into it, moves it towards its goals and maintains its momentum.
He may emerge in a group by virtue of his personality characteristics and qualities or by virtue of common consent by group members. In the latter case, the leader derives his power from the group members. He continues in the leadership position at the pleasure of group members collectively. Leadership position exists in most group settings irrespective of the size of the group.
For example, a leader of national or international standing commands widespread influence over a large number of people while the influence of the leader of a small work group in an organisation is very limited. Both are leaders in their own right and fulfill our definition of leadership.
Leadership is an influential process. The leader is in a position to shape, regulate, control and change the attitudes, behaviour and performance of his group members. The latter are supposed to comply with the former’s desires and directives and partially suspend their own judgment and discretion. There exists a particular relationship between the leader and his group members which is characterised by interpersonal and social interaction.
In a group, the leader and his followers play the roles expected of them and thereby seek to justify their respective positions. Some leaders may be able to play their role effectively whereby they succeed in getting the willing cooperation and commitment of their followers, beyond the normal call of duty.
In any group situation, the leader has a few bases of power by virtue of which he is in a position to influence the behaviour of group members. They are:
(i) Knowledge, information and experience
(ii) Resources for dispensing favours, rewards and penalties
(iii) Formal authority
(v) Distinct personality characteristics like for example, will to dominate, ability to establish rapport, skill to communicate, identity with and understanding of people, decisiveness and soon.
Skillful use of these power bases by a leader is likely to bring success to him; and success in some cases adds to the power of the leader. A successful leader gains more credibility in the eyes of people; they often tend to ignore other deficiencies in him; they resolve to adhere to him and allow themselves to be further exposed to his influence attempts.
In this way some leaders entrench themselves in their positions. Some even misuse their power and often get away with it. Power carries with it an equal amount of responsibility. Leaders who relate their power with responsibility in a consistent manner are more successful in their influence than otherwise.
Importance of Leadership:
The following points highlight the importance of leadership:
(i) Effective direction:
An organisation comes into existence with certain objectives. To attain the objectives, the activities of the organisation must be directed. Direction of the activities is effected through leadership. In short, effective leadership directs the activities of an organisation towards the attainment of the specified organisational goals.
(ii) Source of motivation:
Leadership is the motivating power to group efforts. Effective leadership motivates the subordinates for higher productivity.
Leadership creates confidence in-the subordinates by giving proper guidance and advice.
(iv) High morale:
Good leadership increases the morale of the employees which, in turn, contributes to higher productivity.
(v) Development of team spirit:
Effective leadership promotes team-spirit and teamwork which is quite essential for the success of any organisation.
(vi) Encouraging initiative:
A progressive, forward and democratic minded leader, always encourages initiative on the part of the followers.
(vii) Overcoming resistance to change:
A leader overcomes resistance, if any on the part of followers to organisational changes; through explaining to them the utility of such changes to both—the enterprise and the employees.