Leadership focuses on the most important resource, people. It is the process of developing and communicating a vision for the future, motivating people and gaining their commitment and engagement. Leadership is an act to influence people towards a pre-determined goal. Since organizations success hinges on the quality of leaders. Leadership is a concept that many people have written about but few have defined.
Gbadamosi and Adebakin (1996) hold the view that a leader is one who inspires others to work willing towards the achievement of a goal through maximum application of his personal capabilities and qualities. In other words, people said to be leaders to the extent that they succeed in their attempt to influence other. In doing so, the leader is expected to have some basic attributes such as skill, intelligence, determination, imagination, endurance, and courage to be able to lead effectively.
This means that leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in their efforts towards the accomplishment of goals and objectives of the organization. From the above definitions, one can summarize that leadership involves social influence and interaction between the leader and the subordinates, the aim of which is to achieve a stated goal.
Leadership is both research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to lead or guide other individual, teams, or entire organizations. Leadership is one of the most frequently investigated topics within the field of Organizational Behaviour (OB) due to its importance to all organizations.
What is Leadership?
Before defining leadership it would be appropriate to define “who is a leader? Leader is the person takes a shot in the organization. Disagreement about the definition of leadership stems from the fact that it involves a complex interaction among the leader, the followers, and the situation. For example, some researchers define leadership in terms of personality and physical traits, while others believe leadership is represented by the set of prescribed behaviours. In contrast, other researchers define leadership in terms of power relationship between leaders and followers. According to this perspective, leaders use their power to influence followers behaviour. Leadership also can be seen as an instrument of goal achievement. In other words, leaders are individuals who help others accomplish their goals. Still others view leadership from a skills perspective.
According to Robert Kreitner and Angelo Kinicki in their book, Organizational Behaviour (Mc Graw-Hill International Edition) they said there are four commonalities among the many definitions of leadership:
Leadership is a process between a leader and followers,
Leadership involve social influence,
Leadership occurs at multiple level in an organization (at the individual level, for example, leadership involve mentoring, coaching, inspiring, and motivating; leaders also build teams, generate change at the organization level), and
Leadership focuses on goal accomplishment.
Based on these commonalities, leadership is defined as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.
Are there any similarities and differences between leading and managing?
To be continuing
Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management
Associate Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting.