There is much discussion on the definition of leadership and there are many
different definitions and descriptions one can refer to. In fact the debate around defining leadership and leadership traits seems endless.
However most people agree that
leadership involves an influence process, so here we use a broad
definition that encompasses many of the current approaches to the
concept of leadership.
The general definition of leadership is:
"Leadership is the ability to influence a group towards the achievement of goals"
Leadership is not a "one size fits all" approach but a matter of adapting your approach to best fit a specific situation, follower or group.
Although an individual will have a basic leadership style a good understanding of the common styles of leadership allows the development of the style of leadership that effectively fits the circumstances.
The major leadership styles include:
This can be appropriate if the followers are inexperienced and lack confidence (new employees) and when explicit instructions and quick decisions are required such as in times of crisis or where time is critical.
It is effective when followers are skilled and confident, willing to share knowledge and there is sufficient time for a democratic process to take place.
This style is appropriate when followers are highly skilled, experienced, secure and motivated and have proven to be reliable and trustworthy.
Transactional leaders guide their followers towards established goals by
clarifying role and task requirements and providing structure. Motivation is
provided through a system of reward and punishment.
What is transformational leadership?
These leaders pay close attention to the concerns and needs of individual followers. They motivate and encourage followers to make the extra effort to achieve group goals by inspiring passion and commitment.
The answer to this question lies in the identification of the most important leadership skills, characteristics and traits.
Effective leadership traits
Research has attempted to identify traits that are consistently associated with leadership. Eight traits that appear to differentiate leaders from non leaders are:
However it has proved difficult to conclusively establish the traits that characterize leaders. Instead leadership research has sought to identify the behavioral styles that leaders exhibit.
The primary behaviors identified are:
What are your Strengths and Weaknesses as a leader?
Leadership versus management
Not all leaders are managers and not all managers are leaders. The definition of leadership differs from the definition of management.
Just because managers are given formal authority by an organization does not mean that a manager is able to lead effectively. These are some of the main differences that researchers have found between managers and leaders:
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things - Peter Drucker
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it - Dwight D. Eisenhower
A leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own - Beth Revis
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality - Warren G. Bennis
The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority - Kenneth Blanchard
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader - John Quincy Adams
The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been - Henry Kissinger
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Leadership comes in small acts as well as bold strokes" Carly Fiorina
"Leadership is a choice not a position" Stephen Covey
What is the concept of leadership?
Leadership is a much debated concept but the definition of leadership generally includes the keywords:
A basic understanding of leadership will help you to answer these typical leadership interview questions
It will assist you with defining what it means to be a manager and handling manager interview questions confidently.
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