Leadership Definition Essay

1865 words - 7 pages

Leadership Definition

There are lots of definitions and interpretations for the term LEADERSHIP. One is “A relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people” (Mullins, L.J. 2002, Management and Organisational Behaviour, 6th Edition, FT Publishing, p904). Another popular definition would be, “the process of influencing an organization or groups within an organization in its efforts towards achieving a goal” (Johnson, Scholes & Whittington, 2005, Exploring Corporate Strategy, 7th Edition, FT Prentice Hall, p.519)

Leadership Theories on Behaviour

To me, leaders are constantly surrounding us. People constantly need to be led and they seek out individuals around them who have personalities that stand out – the basic qualities of leadership, the Great Man Theory. This could be in terms of their appearance, knowledge, charisma, behaviour or style. For example, popular actors/actresses might not be great leaders but they influence the thoughts of people through advertisements through their appearance and charisma. Leadership is also a process where trust of people needs to be gained and established before followers are doing things willingly and without having to use pressure. Managers are different in this aspect, as they are given authority/power and trust factor might not be required to actively participate in management, subordinates might not be performing their tasks willingly. The above idea is adopted from the most recent leadership definition by Manfred Kets de Vries, he defines leadership style as the point of interaction between the leader’s character, the follower’s character and the situation. (Manfred Kets de Vries, The Leadership Mystique, Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001) To gain people’s trust, the first steps is to communicate, Warren Bennis observed the significance of rhetoric and eloquent, “Effective leaders put words to the formless longings and deeply felt needs of others. They create communities out of words.” (Bennis Warren, An Invented Life: Reflections on Leadership and Change, Reading, Mass, Addison-Wesly, 1993)
The Traits theory, otherwise known as the Great Man theory, is the origination of leadership theories. This theory believes that there is a unique set of qualities for a leader, mainly: his intelligence and ability to judge, his knowledge power, self-confidence and dependability, his sociability and adaptability, lastly, his popularity status. Thus, it is believed that leaders are born and not made while managers are made and not born. We shall reflect the above theories in two great leaders: Sir Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler.

Their Similarities in Behaviour

Sir Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler have many similar qualities; these qualities enabled them to be most influential people of their time. Churchill and Hitler are both very determined and modest; they worked tirelessly for their countries and causes they represent. Both have an eye for details,...

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