There are many definitions of leadership as demonstrated in our textbook. Each individual has his or her own thoughts about what a leader is. It is important to be able to differentiate what type of leader you are and what type of leader you are following. Although it is important to understand how leadership is defined, it is also important to be able to distinguish a good leader from a bad leader.
When looking for a clear definition of the term leadership, it helps to classify these definitions in the terms of themes. First, as stated in the book, “one of the oldest ways of conceptualizing leadership” is by defining who you are. By taking a look at your leadership characteristics and traits you can determine if you are “a born leader” or not. Second, you can define leadership by how you act. If your actions are influencing others in a clear direction than you are a leader. Third, you can define leadership by what you do. By channeling your influence to those around you, you are driving them to attain their goal or achievement. Finally, how you work with others defines your ability to lead. You have to be able to work together toward a mutual purpose. For example, when you are leading a project you should maintain open communication with the co-workers you are collaborating with. This will ensure that you reach your goal together. How your co-workers react to you as a leader will depend on the type of leader you are and what theme or themes apply to you. These four themes describe the type of leader you are, but what about the people behind the leader?
There is collaboration involved between a leader and their co-workers that we refer to as a Leader/Follower Relationship. The people that you count on to support you and help you achieve your goals are considered your followers. For example, you have support personnel that follow your direction. Many of these followers have their own leadership qualities. These followers can be managers and leaders of other followers. They can be department heads, or simply co-workers that assume a leadership role within an internal group of workers. It is important to recognize that “you can learn to lead by following and learn to follow by leading” (Hackman). A good leader will ensure that his followers are recognized for their value and contributions. Leaders don’t work alone; they have followers that help them achieve their goals. You also need to be able to recognize that not all leaders are good leaders.
While most leaders are ethical and good, there are also leaders who are clearly defined as bad leaders. These leaders engage in destructive leadership qualities and are often self-centered. These individuals come across as magnetic and selfless, when in fact they are driven toward self-satisfaction. They will not let others stand in there way and will do...