Comprehensive Leadership Article

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Leading - An organization has the greatest chance of being successful when all of the employees work toward achieving its goals. Since leadership involves the exercise of influence by one person over others, the quality of leadership exhibited by supervisors is a critical determinant of organizational success. Thus, supervisors study leadership in order to influence the actions of employees toward the achievement of the goals of the organization. Supervisors can learn about leadership through research. Leadership studies can be classified as trait, behavioral, contingency, and transformational. Earliest theories assumed that the primary source of leadership effectiveness lay in the personal traits of the leaders themselves. Yet, traits alone cannot explain leadership effectiveness. Thus, later research focused on what the leader actually did when dealing with employees. These behavioral theories of leadership sought to explain the relationship between what the leader did and how the employees reacted, both emotionally and behaviorally. Yet, behavior can't always account for leadership in different situations. Thus, contingency theories of leadership studied leadership style in different environments. Transactional leaders, such as those identified in contingency theories, clarify role and task requirements for employees. Yet, contingency can't account for the inspiration and innovation that leaders need to compete in today's global marketplace. Newer transformational leadership studies have shown that leaders, who are charismatic and visionary, can inspire followers to transcend their own self-interest for the good of the organization. A Definition of Leadership - A traditional definition of leadership: Leadership is an interpersonal influence directed toward the achievement of a goal or goals. Three important parts of this definition are the terms interpersonal, influence, and goal. • Interpersonal means between persons. Thus, a leader has more than one person (group) to lead. • Influence is the power to affect others.

• Goal is the end one strives to attain.
Basically, this traditional definition of leadership says that a leader influences more than one person toward a goal. Another definition of leadership follows. LEADERSHIP is a dynamic relationship based on mutual influence and common purpose between leaders and collaborators in which both are moved to higher levels of motivation and moral development as they affect real, intended change. Three important parts of this definition are the terms relationship, mutual, and collaborators. Relationship is the connection between people. Mutual means shared in common. Collaborators cooperate or work together. This definition of leadership says that the leader is influenced by the collaborators while they work together to achieve an important goal. Leadership versus Management - A leader can be a manager, but a manager is not necessarily a leader. The leader of the work group may emerge informally as the choice of the group. If a manager is able to influence people to achieve the goals of the organization, without using his or her formal authority to do so, then the manager is demonstrating leadership. According to John P. Kotter in his book, A Force for Change: How Leadership Differs From Management (The Free Press, 1990), managers must know how to lead as well as manage. Without leading as well as managing, today's organizations face the threat of extinction. Management is the process of setting and achieving the goals of the organization through the functions of management: planning, organizing, directing (or leading), and controlling. A manager is hired by the organization and is given formal authority to direct the activity of others in fulfilling organization goals. Thus, leading is a major part of a manager's job. Yet a manager must also plan, organize, and control....
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