Leadership

Leadership is very crucial to the growth of the society and the world at large. Leadership is also very important in all spheres of life, whether it is social, political or religious From eternity it is the leadership which has directed destiny of mankind. In the spheres of management too, leadership exercises tremendous influence over the workers.

Leadership is the process of influencing and suporting others to work enthusiastically toward achieve objectives. It is the critical factor that helps an individual a group identify their goals and then motivates and as in achieving the stated goals. The three important element in the definition leadership, an organization would be on! confusion of people and machines, just as an orchestra out a conductor would be only musicians and instrument The orchestra and all other organizations require leaders
to develop their precious assets to the fullest.

Leadership indicates those qualities of a person virtual of which he is in a position to direct people for attachment organisational objectives. It is because of his ability the person guides ethers. Following are some of the important definitions of leadership.

According to Koontz and O’Donnel, “Leadership generally defined simply as influence, the art or process influencing people so that they will strive willingly towar the achievement of group goals”.

In the words of Chester I. Barnard, “Leadership refers to the quality of the behaviour of individuals where they guide people on their activities in organised efforts

To quote Alford and Beatty, “Leadership is the ab ity to secure desirable actions from a group of followed voluntarily without the use of coercion”.

In this way, leadership is a quality by which a personal organises, directs and controls an individual or a group persons for attainment of organisational objective.

Nature of Leadership

Following is the Nature of leadership:

(1) Leadership is a personal Relationship Between the Leader and his Followers-For leadership, there should be a group of persons who are willing to act at the instruc
tions or directions of the leader. In fact, there can be no leadership without followership. In this way, there is a personal relationship between the leader and his followers.

(2) Common Objectives- The objective of the leader and the followers is same. If objective of both the leader and his followers, is different there is no significance leadership

(3) The Leadership Should Rest with a Person who is Competent and Maintains a Moral-The leader should be a man of competence and character so that people may have confidence in him and be inspired by him. In this way, i competent person atone should have leadership.

(4) Success of Leadership Depends on the Follower and Organisational Climate-Success of a leader depend on his followers and the organisational climate. A leader car be effective only when the environment in the organisation is befitting.

(5) Organisation of Group- A leader organises a group and motivates them to move according to the given plan.

(6) Continuous and Dynamic Process Leadership is a continuous and dynamic process.Importance and Functions of Leadership Leadership is the basis of managerial success. Following are the important functions of leadership.

(1) Inspiration-Management is an art of getting the things done, but without leadership it is difficult to get the things done.

(2) Co-operation-It is through leadership that mutual distrust and misunderstanding among persons of a group can be removed. A leader can persuade people to co-operate with each other. In this way, leadership provides a basis of co-operation.

(3) Maintaining Discipline- No organisation can function effectively inspite of a qualified and competent work-force, if there is indiscipline among them. A leader can create discipline in the group on the basis of his personal influence.

(4) Sailing Through Difficult Times- A real test of leadership is during the difficult times. In fact, leadership is tested in a period of crisis and challenge. An effective leader saves the organisation during the period of crisis.

(5) Conduct of Collective Work-Pre-determined objectives can be attained when there is unity and co-ordination in the organisation. In fact, leadership is needed for the conduct of collective efforts.

(6) Boosting Morale of the Subordinates. A leader creates a feeling of co-operation to his subordinates. He inspires them for good work. A leader appreciates a worker if he does something good. This goes to boost the morale of the workers.

The role of leadership

Various types of roles are played by managers. By virtual of the formal position, the manager has a figurehead role as a symbol of the organisation. Most of the time is spent greeting a touring class of students or taking an important customer to lunch. The second role is called the leader role. In this role the manager uses his or her influence to motivate and encourage subordinates to accomplish organizational objectives. In the third type of interpersonal role the manager undertakes a liaison role. This role recognizes that managers often spend more time interacting with others outside their unit (with peers in other units or those completely outside the organization) than they do working with their own superiors and subordinates.

Characteristics of Leadership

An analysis of the definitions cited above reveals the following important characteristics of leadership:

1. Leadership is a personal quality.

2. It exists only with followers. If there are no followers there is no leadership.

3.It is the willingness of people to follow that makes person a leader.

4.Leadership is a process of influence. A leader must be able to influence the behaviour, attitude and beliefs of his subordinates.

5.It exists only for the realisation of common goals.

6.It involves readiness to accept complete responsibility in all situations.

7.Leadership is the function of stimulating the followers to strive willingly to attain organizational objectives.

8.Leadership styles do change under different circumstances.

9.Leadership is neither bossism nor synonymous with management.

Leadership Theories

There are a number of theories which provide explanations regarding various aspects of leadership phenomenon. Here, we are discussing some of the important theo
ries only.

Frait Theory

This is the earliest theory as described by Kelly attempting to classify what personal characteristics like physical, personality and mental, are associated with leadership success. Illustrated traits which researchers attributed to leaders were such aspects as height, weight, physique, good health, high level of energy, good appearance, intelligence, scholarship, good judgement and decision-making, insight,originality, dominance, persistence, self-confidence,imbition, and so on. Since all individuals did not have these qualities, only those who possess them would be consid-
ered potential leaders. However, trait theory suffers from the following limitations:

2. There is no consistent set of traits emerged from research studies that successful differentiated leaders from non-leaders.

1. The trait theory is not accepted as a valid theory.

3. It is difficult to measure many of these traits. Hence,it is not always possible to distinguish between leaders and followers.

These limitations made researchers to give up the study of traits to understand leadership and started to focus their efforts on observing the behaviours of leaders.Hence, the behavioural theories of leadership came into existence.

Behavioural Theories

According to the behavioural theories of leadership,leadership can be described in terms of what leaders do rather than what they are. In other words, leadership can be
identified by reference to their behaviour in relation to the followers. Behavioural theories have been presented mostly on the basis of research studies.Behavioural theories differ from the trait theories in at least two ways. First, actual leader behaviours, not the
personaltraits were the main focus. Second, while most trait theories endeavoured to distinguish between leaders and non-leaders, behavioural theories attempted to determine how different kinds of behaviours affect the performance and satisfaction of the followers.

The two important behavioural theories are Ohio State University studies and the studies of Michigan University.

Fiedler’s Contingency Model


According to the contingency theories of leadership,the success of leadership depends upon the situation in which the leader operates. Fred E. Fiedler developed a contingency model of leadership. According to him, a leader’s effectiveness depends upon the following three situational factors:

1. Leader-followers relations, that is the degree of followers’ trust, confidence and respect for the leader.

2. Task structure, that is the nature of task performed by the subordinates.

3. The status power, that is the degree of power associated with the position or status held by the leader in the organisation.

The most favourable situation for leaders to influence their group is one in which they are well liked by the members, the task performed is highly structured and the leader has enough power attached to his/her position in the organisation. On the other hand, the most unfavourable situation for leaders is one in which they are disliked the task is highly unstructured and little power is attached to the leader’s position.

Path-goal Leadership Theory

Robert House has developed a path-goal theory of leadership initially presented by Martin Evans. This theory is based on the expectancy theory of motivation. The theory states that leaders can exercise four different kinds of styles-directive leadership (giving directions to the subordinates rather than seeking their cooperation), supportive leader-ship (being friendly and approachable to subordinates),
participative leadership (asking for suggestions from sub-ordinates before making decisions), and achievement-oriented leadership (setting challenging goals and assignments for subordinates).

The path-goal theory postulates that leaders become effective due to their influence on followers motivation, ability to perform, and their satisfaction. Leader motivates the employees by influencing their expectancies relating to the performance and attractiveness of goal. The subordinates feel satisfied when they believe that their job performance will lead to desirable outcomes. They will be able to achieve their goals with hard work.

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