The Nature of Leadership

Leadership can refer both to the process of leading, and to those entities that do the leading. Leadership has been a central, and sometimes controversial, topic in the study of organizations. In spite of claims to the contrary, there is substantial evidence that leadership is positively related to a variety of individual and organizational outcomes. Leaders, by their very roles, are responsible for making decisions that help their organizations adapt and succeed in competitive environments (Antonakis et al, 2004).
Leaders do not merely impose goals on followers, but work with others to create a shared sense of purpose and direction. Leaders primarily work through and with other people. They also help to establish the conditions that enable others to be effective. Leadership is a function more than a role. Although leadership is often invested in – or expected of – persons in positions of formal authority, leadership encompasses a set of functions that may be performed by any different persons in different roles throughout a community.
Leaders manage and managers lead, but the two activities are not synonymous. Management functions can potentially provide leadership; leadership activities can contribute to managing (Antonakis et al, 2004). Reflecting based on the above statements made me realize that effective managers do not only administer the people under him/her but should also be a prime initiator of innovation in which tasks and goals of the department and the organization as a whole.

As such, managers should be creative as well as discerning when it comes to analyzing and assessing the resources of the company. Developing and evaluating the efficiency of a particular operation strategy will be helpful in maintaining the overall competitiveness of the business organization. In effect, being able to contemplate the factors that will greatly influence the success of the business should be highly considered through objective investigation of the current conditions of the business environment particularly the industry to which the company belongs.
The three major leadership styles: laissez-faire, democratic, and authoritarian leadership. Laissez-Faire leaders take no initiative in directing or managing the group; he/she allows the group to develop on its own, as it has no real authority. Specifically, the leader answers questions, provides information, or gives no reinforcement to the group. Furthermore, the leader evaluates and criticizes little, and is thereby non-threatening. The leader allows the members to make their own decisions (Antonakis et al, 2004).
On the other hand, democratic leaders provide directions, but allow the group to make its own decisions. Specifically, members are encouraged by democratic leaders to determine goals and procedures, and to stimulate their self-direction and self-actualization (Antonakis et al, 2004). Moreover, democratic leaders offer suggestions and reinforce members’ ideas. After offering these suggestions, providing information, and clarifying ideas, the leader allows the group to make the decision. In leadership styles, the democratic leader is in the middle of the styles.
The authoritarian leader is the opposite of the laissez-faire leader. The authoritarian leader sets the agenda, determines the group’s policies, assigns tasks to the members, and makes decisions for the group without consulting them. In the end, the leader takes responsibility for the group’s progress, but accepts very few suggestions from the group (Antonakis et al, 2004). Rarely do the group members communicate with one another, but they communicate with the leader.
Leaders should have vision for the organization. The leaders sell vision by visible management attention, proactive policies and procedures, recognition systems, incremental change expectations, and shared glory (Antonakis et al, 2004). Leaders should also have faith that in change, the organization can accomplish its purpose. Moreover, leaders should have integrity, an ethical sense of justice, fairness, and honesty, so that the members can believe in their word.
In regards to leaders in an organization as the life-giving elements in every organisation in that without managers, organizations cannot possibly function properly. Thus, a strong link is noted between a leader’s efficiency and organization performance (Antonakis et al, 2004). It has been recognised that leaders are a significant power behind the progress and successful development of an organisation’s strategy and such success is very much dependent upon their attitudes, behaviour and commitment to their specific responsibilities.
The basic tension that underlies many discussions of organisational change is that it would not be necessary if leaders had done their jobs right in the first place. Planned change is usually triggered by the failure of people to create continuously adaptive organizations. Thus, organizational change routinely occurs in the context of failure of some sort. Successful change must involve leaders who initially instigate the change by being visionary, persuasive and consistent. A change agent role is usually responsible to translate the vision to a realistic plan and carry out the plan.
It is impossible for a leader to get extraordinary achievement alone. Moreover, teamwork is needed in an unstable market and most especially in the business we are in. If you can’t depend on others, you will never become a leader because the better we are able to innovate if we feel we are more trusted. If a leader trusts his staff, his staff will trust him back. As a leader, trust is needed and that a team should be bonded with the capacity to trust each other (Antonakis et al, 2004) .
Leadership comprises the aptitude and ability to inspire and influence the thinking, attitudes, and behavior of other people. Leadership is a process of social influence in which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of other individuals in the achievement of a common task. Although this specification seems relatively simple, the reality of leadership is very complex. Intrapersonal factors such as ideas and emotions, interact with interpersonal processes (i.e., attraction, communication, influence) to have effects on a dynamic external environment. Each of these aspects brings complexity to the leadership process.
Antonakis, John, Cianciolo, Anna T. and Sternberg, Robert. The Nature of Leadership.  United States: Sage Publishing House, 2004.

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