What is Leadership
Leadership is a process by which an executive can direct, guide and influence the behavior and work of others towards accomplishment of specific goals in a given situation. Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce the subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.
Leadership is the potential to influence behaviour of others. It is also defined as the capacity to influence a group towards the realization of a goal. Leaders are required to develop future visions, and to motivate the organizational members to want to achieve the visions.
According to Keith Davis, “Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor which binds a group together and motivates it towards goals.”
Characteristics of Leadership
1. It is a inter-personal process in which a manager is into influencing and guiding workers towards attainment of goals.
2. It denotes a few qualities to be present in a person which includes intelligence, maturity and personality.
3. It is a group process. It involves two or more people interacting with each other.
4. A leader is involved in shaping and moulding the behaviour of the group towards accomplishment of organizational goals.
5. Leadership is situation bound. There is no best style of leadership. It all depends upon tackling with the situations
Importance of Leadership
Leadership is an important function of management which helps to maximize efficiency and to achieve organizational goals. The following points justify the importance of leadership in a concern.
1. Initiates action- Leader is a person who starts the work by communicating the policies and plans to the subordinates from where the work actually starts.
2. Motivation- A leader proves to be playing an incentive role in the concern’s working. He motivates the employees with economic and non-economic rewards and thereby gets the work from the subordinates.
3. Providing guidance- A leader has to not only supervise but also play a guiding role for the subordinates. Guidance here means instructing the subordinates the way they have to perform their work effectively and efficiently.
4. Creating confidence- Confidence is an important factor which can be achieved through expressing the work efforts to the subordinates, explaining them clearly their role and giving them guidelines to achieve the goals effectively. It is also important to hear the employees with regards to their complaints and problems.
5. Building morale- Morale denotes willing co-operation of the employees towards their work and getting them into confidence and winning their trust. A leader can be a morale booster by achieving full co-operation so that they perform with best of their abilities as they work to achieve goals.
6. Builds work environment- Management is getting things done from people. An efficient work environment helps in sound and stable growth. Therefore, human relations should be kept into mind by a leader. He should have personal contacts with employees and should listen to their problems and solve them. He should treat employees on humanitarian terms.
7. Co-ordination- Co-ordination can be achieved through reconciling personal interests with organizational goals. This synchronization can be achieved through proper and effective co-ordination which should be primary motive of a leader.
Role of a Leader
Following are the main roles of a leader in an organization :
1. Required at all levels- Leadership is a function which is important at all levels of management . In the top level, it is important for getting co-operation in formulation of plans and policies. In the middle and lower level, it is required for interpretation and execution of plans and programmes framed by the top management. Leadership can be exercised through guidance and counseling of the subordinates at the time of execution of plans.
2. Representative of the organization- A leader, i.e., a manager is said to be the representative of the enterprise. He has to represent the concern at seminars, conferences, general meetings, etc. His role is to communicate the rationale of the enterprise to outside public. He is also representative of the own department which he leads.
3. Integrates and reconciles the personal goals with organizational goals- A leader through leadership traits helps in reconciling/ integrating the personal goals of the employees with the organizational goals. He is trying to co-ordinate the efforts of people towards a common purpose and thereby achieves objectives. This can be done only if he can influence and get willing co-operation and urge to accomplish the objectives.
4. He solicits support- A leader is a manager and besides that he is a person who entertains and invites support and co-operation of subordinates. This he can do by his personality, intelligence, maturity and experience which can provide him positive result. In this regard, a leader has to invite suggestions and if possible implement them into plans and programmes of enterprise. This way, he can solicit full support of employees which results in willingness to work and thereby effectiveness in running of a concern.
5. As a friend, philosopher and guide- A leader must possess the three dimensional traits in him. He can be a friend by sharing the feelings, opinions and desires with the employees. He can be a philosopher by utilizing his intelligence and experience and thereby guiding the employees as and when time requires. He can be a guide by supervising and communicating the employees the plans and policies of top management and secure their co-operation to achieve the goals of a concern. At times he can also play the role of a counselor by counseling and a problem-solving approach. He can listen to the problems of the employees and try to solve them.
Qualities of a Leader
Physical appearance- A leader must have a pleasing appearance. Physique and health are very important for a good leader.
2. Vision and foresight- A leader cannot maintain influence unless he exhibits that he is forward looking. He has to visualize situations and thereby has to frame logical programmes.
3. Intelligence- A leader should be intelligent enough to examine problems and difficult situations. He should be analytical who weighs pros and cons and then summarizes the situation. Therefore, a positive bent of mind and mature outlook is very important.
4. Communicative skills- A leader must be able to communicate the policies and procedures clearly, precisely and effectively. This can be helpful in persuasion and stimulation.
5. Objective- A leader has to be having a fair outlook which is free from bias and which does not reflects his willingness towards a particular individual. He should develop his own opinion and should base his judgement on facts and logic.
6. Knowledge of work- A leader should be very precisely knowing the nature of work of his subordinates because it is then he can win the trust and confidence of his subordinates.
7. Sense of responsibility- Responsibility and accountability towards an individual’s work is very important to bring a sense of influence. A leader must have a sense of responsibility towards organizational goals because only then he can get maximum of capabilities exploited in a real sense. For this, he has to motivate himself and arouse and urge to give best of his abilities. Only then he can motivate the subordinates to the best.
8. Self-confidence and will-power- Confidence in himself is important to earn the confidence of the subordinates. He should be trustworthy and should handle the situations with full will power. (You can read more about Self-Confidence at : Self Confidence – Tips to be Confident and Eliminate Your Apprehensions).
9. Humanist- This trait to be present in a leader is essential because he deals with human beings and is in personal contact with them. He has to handle the personal problems of his subordinates with great care and attention. Therefore, treating the human beings on humanitarian grounds is essential for building a congenial environment.
10. Empathy- It is an old adage “Stepping into the shoes of others”. This is very important because fair judgement and objectivity comes only then. A leader should understand the problems and complaints of employees and should also have a complete view of the needs and aspirations of the employees. This helps in improving human relations and personal contacts with the employees.
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From the above qualities present in a leader, one can understand the scope of leadership and it’s importance for scope of business. A leader cannot have all traits at one time. But a few of them helps in achieving effective results.