Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

Prentice Definition Of Leadership

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With Prentice definition of leadership as "the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants" and a successful leader as one who can understand people's motivations and enlist employee participation in a way that marries individual needs and interests to the group's purpose, he was for democratic leadership that gives employees opportunities to learn and grow-without creating anarchy.

His observations on how leaders can motivate employees to support the organization's goals are enduring, and they were remarkably prophetic. Prentice pointed the mistakes for some in attempting to analyze leadership as he argued that “the would-be analyst misconceives his task”. He explained that the researcher instead he studies popularity, power, showmanship, or wisdom in long-range planning, where the author emphasize that a number of leaders may have these things, but they are not of the essence of leadership.

In arguing that leadership is the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants, Prentice was able to articulate that the man who successfully marshals his human collaborators to achieve particular ends is a leader and a great leader is one who can do so day after day, and year after year, in a wide variety of circumstances.

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In seeing that a leader may not possess or display power and that force or the threat of harm may never enter into his dealings, or that he may not be popular or that such leaders’ followers may never do what he wishes out of love or admiration for him, Prentice pointed the unique achievement as a leader in wonderful yet simple ways.

The secret was just to be social and human. It may be concluded that the two authors were essentially talking about leadership and they were almost in unison that to be a good leader is to be human and social since followers are after all human beings who would rather follow humans as leaders because these followers are respected and treated as humans.

Goleman’s emotional intelligence tells about the primacy of emotions properly managed in the workplace and for Prentice’ ‘effective leaders’ to come out these must have a heart for fellow humans.


Goleman (1998) IQ and technical skills are important, but emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership, Harvard Business Review Prentice (1961) Understanding, Harvard Business Review

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