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Friday, March 4, 2011

What is leadership?


It is very difficult to qualitative define leadership. It is easier to give examples of leaders than to define leadership.  Leadership involves various dimensions and attributes. It requires vision, courage, understanding, determination, decisiveness, sense of timing, capacity to act, ability to inspire, etc. A leader is often judged by his mettle in a crisis. For example, Winston Churchill during the London Blitz, John F Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis, Indra Gandhi in the 1971 Bangladesh war, marget Thatcher during miner’s strike, Mikhail Gorbachev’s break with communism and the cold war. In these turning points, leadership made a crucial difference in the modern history. It is same in case of leadership in organizations.
            As an effective human being, a leader should have identity, authenticity, open mindedness, independence, responsibility, communication, reasoning and problem solving abilities, concern for others, rest for life energy, maturity, courage (guts), strong sense of obligation, clarity of mind and expression, integrity, etc. Leadership is highly complex and elusive trait.  The above description does not clearly define what leadership is. A leader is one who has followers; is too simple a definition. Leadership is often defined as the art of influencing others ( people) to strive willing; to do what the leader wants them to do ( often to do the mutually compatible objectives) with zeal and confidence . It is encouraging and inspiring individuals and teams to give their best to achieve a desired result. Leaders work with and through people to accomplish goals.  It is psychological process of providing guidance for followers. Leadership is one of the most effective tools of management and organizational effectiveness depends on the quality of leadership. To lead is to guide, conduct, direct and proceed. Earlier we have seen that the management is defined as the management is defined as the process of getting things done through the efforts of other people. Both the definitions overlap and since managers get all sorts things done through the efforts of other people. Both the definitions overlap the since managers get all sorts done through the efforts of other people, they must lead. In other words, by definition all managers are leaders.

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