WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
We have heard stories about leaders who changed the course of history, leaders who have inspired the change we see in the world we live in today and leaders who are still remembered long after their death for the legacy they left behind. So what is leadership?This question can be asked to a group of leaders from various disciplines and their answers will not be the same. Leadership has been evolving over the time and they still share similar common themes. This essay discusses the meaning of leadership and how leaders from different disciplines influence and inspire their followers with their own unique leadership style.
“Leadership involves influencing others to follow a particular direction or goal” (Naval Review, 2001: 245) which is the most common theme found in many definitions of leadership. Some may agree to this definition, others may dismiss it and have a completely different definition altogether. But one thing is certain, leadership takes on many different forms as proven by many historical and present leaders from various fields with different styles of leadership and traits.
In the world of politics, the world saw the emergence of Barrack Obama who announced his candidacy for the President of the United States in 2007. Despite being a rising Democratic star, many thought he had a long-shot of winning the 2008 Presidential Election. A year later, he was the first African-American to become the President of the United States, a nation haunted by the gruesome memories of slavery just half a century ago. With only “two years of experience in the U.S. Senate and no other national political experience” (Gardner, 2008:1), how did he win over millions of Americans in the times of economic crisis and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? President Obama with his “calm demeanor, soothing baritone and idealistic message on hope and bridging partisan divides” (Gardner, 2008:1), he has a steely intensity that fits the leadership trait...
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