Leadership can be defined as a process by which one individual influences others toward the attainment of a group or organizational goals. There are three points about the definition of leadership that should be emphasized. First, leadership is a social influence process. Leadership cannot exist without a leader and one or more followers. Second, leadership elicits voluntary action on the part of the followers. The voluntary nature of compliance separates leadership from other types of influence based on formal authority. Finally, leadership results in followers' behaviour that is purposeful and goal-directed in some sort of organized setting. Many, although not all, studies of leadership focus on the nature of leadership in the workplace. Leadership is probably the most frequently studied topic in the organizational sciences. Thousands of leadership studies have been published and thousands of pages on leadership have been written in academic books and journals, business-oriented publications, and general-interest publications.
Despite this, the precise nature of leadership and its relationship to key criterion variables such as subordinate satisfaction, commitment, and performance is still uncertain, to the point where Fred Luthans, in his book Organizational Behaviuor (2005), said that "it [leadership] does remain pretty much of a 'black box' or unexplainable concept."
Leadership should be distinguished from management. Management involves planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling, and a manager is someone who performs these functions. A manager has formal authority by virtue of its position or office. Leadership, by contrast, primarily deals with influence. A manager may or may not be an effective leader. A leader's ability to influence others may be based on a variety of factors other than his or her formal authority or position.
Leadership is the art of coordinating and motivating individuals to achieve the desired goals of the group. Synergy is involved here, the sum of all the parts to work as one. It influences people to cooperate in order to attain a goal that they find desirable.
There are three types of leaders that are identified in practice namely; autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire leadership. The latter is the most difficult one to use.
The leader acts as an information center and exercises minimum amount of control. The leader depends upon the employees’ sense of responsibility and good judgment to get things done.
The subject of leadership styles has received a great deal of attention from scholars and researchers. This refers particularly to autocratic and democratic styles of leadership. While these are the most common styles of leadership, these are really not opposites and there are many variations or classification styles advanced by other authors to describe leadership behavior. It may be more appropriate to say that autocratic and democratic styles belong in a group within which other styles exist.
Leadership has been defined in terms of individual traits, behavior, influence over other people, interaction patterns and perception by others regarding legitimacy of influence.
Some representative definitions are as follows:
a.Leadership is the behavior of an individual when he is directing the activities of a group toward a common goal. b.Leadership is the interpersonal influence, exercised in a situation, and directed through the communication process toward the attainment of a specified goal. c.Leadership is the initiation and maintenance of structure in expectation and interaction. d.Leadership is the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organizations. e.Leadership is a process of promoting synergy to everyone to support the achievement of a common purpose.
Leadership is the process of...