Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills. Leadership is the ability to influence a group towards the achievement of a vision or set of goals. Leadership is interpersonal influence exercised in a situation and directed through communication process, towards the attainment of a specified goal or goals. It is the quality of the behaviour of the individuals whereby they guide people or their activities in an organized effort. It is the ability to shape the attitude and behaviour of others, whether in formal or informal situations. A simple definition of leadership is that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. Put even more simply, the leader is the inspiration and director of the action. He or she is the person in the group that possesses the combination of personality and skills that makes others want to follow his or her direction.
CHANGING VIEWS OF LEADERSHIP: Joana Marie N. Hitalia
The ways in which leaders behave, the specific acts by which they play their leadership roles, are based on certain assumptions about human nature. Consciously or unconsciously, leaders function on the basis of some theory on human behavior, a view of what their subordinates are like as people. Managers who closely watch subordinates to make sure they are performing the job exactly as told hold a different view of human nature than managers who allow subordinates to accomplish their work in whatever way they think best. These are the leadership theories:
I. Great Man Theory
This theory is based on the assumptions that leaders are born and not made and the great leaders will arise when there is a great need. Early research on leadership was based on the study of people who were already great leaders. These people were often from the aristocracy, as few from lower classes had the opportunity to lead. This contributed to the notion that leadership had something to do with breeding. This was easy to verify, by pointing to people such as Eisenhower and Churchill, let alone those further back along the timeline, even to Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and the Buddha.
II. Trait Theory
This theory is based on the assumptions that people are born with inherited traits. There are some traits particularly suited to leadership and people who make good leaders have the right (or sufficient) combination of traits. Early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Attention was thus put on discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders, but with the underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders.
III. Behavioural Theory
Leaders can be made, rather than are born and successful leadership is based in definable, learnable behaviour. These are the assumptions of behavioural theory. Behavioural theories of leadership do not seek inborn traits or capabilities. Rather, they look at what leaders actually do. If success can be defined in terms of describable actions, then it should be relatively easy for other people to act in the same way. This is easier to teach and learn then to adopt the more ephemeral ‘traits’ or ‘capabilities’.
IV. Participative Leadership
People are more committed to actions where they have involved in the relevant decision-making. People are less competitive and more collaborative when they are working on joint goals. When people make decisions together, the social commitment to one another is greater and thus increases their commitment to the decision.
V. Situational Leadership