Leadership can simply be defined as the ability to influence others. Leadership is that work which is done by the leader.
It is a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.
In the course of his survey of leadership theories and research; Stogdill came across innumerable definitions of leadership.
For our purpose, we may define leadership as the process of directing and influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically towards the achievement of group objectives’.
Keith Devis said that leadership is the process of encouraging and helping others to work enthusiastically toward objectives.
According to Koontz and Donnell, the act of leadership is the process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of the group goal.
Ideally, people should be encouraged to develop not only willingness to work but also a willingness to work with confidence and zeal. Confidence reflects experience and technical expertise; zeal is earnestness, and intensity in the execution of work.
A leader acts to help a group achieve objectives through the exploitation of its maximum capabilities.
A leader does not stand behind a group to push and prod; she/he places herself/himself before the group, facilitates progress and inspires the group to accomplish organizational goals.
Leadership is the potential to influence the behavior of others.
It is also defined as the capacity to influence a group towards the realization of a goal. Leaders are required to develop a future vision and to motivate the organizational members to achieve the visions.
As a process -focusing on what leaders do; leadership is the use of no coercive influence to shape the group or organizational goals, motive behavior towards the achievement of those goals and help define a group or organizational culture.
As a property leadership is the set of characteristics attributed to individuals who are perceived to be leaders.
Nature of leadership
- Leadership derives from power and is similar to, yet distinct from, management. In fact, “leadership” and “management” are different. There can be leaders of completely unorganized groups, but there can be managers only of organized groups. Thus it can be said that a manager is necessarily a leader but a leader may not be a manager.
- Leadership is essential for managing. The ability to lead effectively is one of the keys to being an effective manager because she/he has to combine resources and lead a group to achieve objectives.
- Leadership and motivation are closely interconnected. By understanding motivation, one can appreciate better what people want and why they act as they do. A leader can encourage or dampen workers motivation by creating a favorable or unfavorable working environment in the organization.
- The essence of leadership is followership. In other words, it is the willingness of people to follow a person that makes that person a leader. Moreover, people tend to follow those whom they see as providing a means of achieving their desires, needs and wants.
- Leadership involves an unequal distribution of power between leaders and group members. Group members are not powerless; they can shape group activities in some ways. Still, the leader will usually have more power than the group members.
- Leaders can influence the followers’ behavior in some ways. In fact, leaders can influence workers either to do ill or well for the company. The leader must be able to empower and motivate the followers to the cause.
- The leader must co-exist with the subordinates or followers and must have the clear idea about their demands and ambitions. This creates loyalty and trust in subordinates for their leader.
- Leadership is to be concerned about values. Followers learn ethics and values from their leaders. Leaders are the real teachers of ethics, and they can reinforce ideas. It is very important for leaders to make positive statements of ethics if they are not hypocritical.
- Leading is a very demanding job for both physically and psychologically. The leader must have the strength, power, and ability to meet the bodily requirements; zeal, energy, and patience to meet the mental requirements for leading.
Styles of Leadership
Leadership style refers to a leaders’ behavior towards group members.
The behavioral pattern which the leader reflects in his role as a leader is often described as the style of leadership. Leadership style is the result of the leader’s philosophy, personality, value system, and experience.
It also depends on the types of followers and organizational atmosphere prevailing in the enterprise. The different types of leadership may be discussed under the following heads:
- Leadership Styles Based on Authority.
- Likert’s Four Styles of Managerial Leadership.
- Leadership Styles in the Managerial Grid.
- Leadership Continuum.
So it can be described as leading a process by which a person leads others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.
Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce the subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.