Last Updated 24 Jun 2021

Essay sample on Leadership

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The topic of leadership is relevant nowadays for many spheres of life: business, politics, sports. Comparing different definitions, then leadership is a way of influencing and controlling. For many, a leader is a leader who looks forward, directs people, and drives them toward the goal.

How is an ordinary person different from an effective leader? Many scientists have been dealing with this issue for a long time. The theory of great men is one of the most famous and simple answers to this question. Its supporters - historians, political scientists, psychologists and sociologists - believe that a person who possesses a certain set of personality traits will be a good leader regardless of the nature of the situation in which he is. An absolute embodiment of this theory is the notion of a charismatic leader who is worshiped by others.

Example 1: What is Leadership?

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Leadership is a common term but it has many diverse meanings, it has been said that, like beauty, you will know leadership when you see it. This, however, means that leaders and leadership are defined in the eye of the beholder. If this is the case, then there is a multitude of definitions and understandings of what it means to be a leader or to witness leadership. Barnard ([1938] 1991: 81) identified that 'lead' is both a noun and a verb and therefore has a double meaning.

The noun could mean 'to guide others, to be the head of an organization', while the verb could mean 'to excel and to be in advance'. Likewise, leadership is used to describe a certain type of social interaction between people and the term leader is used to denote a person (or sometimes a group/company) who has influence over others (Yukl, 2002; Northouse, 2004). The term leadership is also used to describe personality traits, behaviours and also to denote the roles of individuals and collectives. Leadership is inherently complex and is not easily definable; in fact, it is unlikely that any consensus on the term will be found (Grint, 1997). Leadership is currently one of the most talked about issues in business and organization.

It is hard to turn on the television, open a newspaper or attend a conference without coming across numerous references to leaders, leadership and leading. The recent focus on leadership is an international phenomenon, as is increased investment in leadership and management development. Bennis and Nanus opened that leadership is like the abominable snowman, whose footprints are everywhere but who is nowhere to be seen. In a recent review of leadership theory, Northouse (2004) identified four common themes in the way leadership now tends to be conceived: (1) leadership is a process; (2) leadership involves influence; (3) leadership occurs in a group context; and (4) leadership involves goal attainment. He thus defines leadership as 'a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal'.

This paper intends to show the variation of leadership practices in the banking sector and that is why the competencies of leadership practices are relevant to discuss. So, again, what is leadership? Apparently, decades of research, dozens of theories, and countless dollars haven't completely answered this question. If it had, then we wouldn't have vastly different visions of leadership and leadership competency across similar organizations. Or would we? An acceptable definition of leadership might be 'influencing, motivating, and inspiring others through direct and indirect means to accomplish organizational objectives.' Defining leadership is an important first step toward establishing how it should be conducted within an organization. However, a simple definition is insufficient for describing the nature, boundaries, contexts, and desirable manifestations of leadership.

According to Astin and Astin (2007), leadership is a process that is ultimately concerned with fostering change. Leadership implies a process where there is movement to some future place or condition that is different. Leadership also implies intentionality, in the sense that the implied change is directed toward some future end or condition which is desired or valued. Accordingly, leadership is a purposive process which is inherently value-based. Consistent with the notion that leadership is concerned with change; the leader is basically a change agent .Furthermore, since the concepts of "leadership" and "leader" imply that there are other people involved; leadership is, by definition, a collective or group process and therefore will not work alone.

There are numerous theories that explain about effective leadership and according to Bass (1990) one of the basic ways to explain effective leadership is through analyzing the personality traits of individual leaders. Mitchell (2008) suggests that several factors account for differences in the attitudes and behaviour of leaders. The level of education and age were identified as important determinants. Mitchell (2008) mentioned that the level of education influences people's values, wants and needs and makes them think and behave differently. Age, on the other hand tends to give greater or lesser degree of individualism among the leaders with the younger generations feeling more comfortable exhibiting individualistic behaviours. Older leaders were identified to maintain a calmer and more understated demeanour besides showing a greater degree of empathy and concern for others in society.

Leadership occurs at all levels of the organization and all have an essential role to play without the initiative and commitment of middle leader-managers, no change effort will get far. Without the influence of senior leaders, innovative practices rarely spread. Without the vision of the top leader, the overall climate would stifle innovation and direction (Badaracco,, 2002). This is designed to be aspirational, in focusing on the range of behaviors and qualities that are core to leadership roles and are capable of being developed/ nurtured by various means. Leadership resides in trust based on perceived competence and integrity and often involves intangibles such as emotional intelligence, intuition and motivation.

There is often an intense, emotional attachment on the part of staff towards effective leaders beyond managerial successes (Mintzberg).When the attitude and/or behaviors of staff are influenced significantly and as a consequence they achieve goals that otherwise would not have been attainable, then leadership is effective. A leader should have these traits- "I have a dream" by Martin Luther King, "I don't want a revolution in which I can't dance" by Emma Goldman are two examples "Vision", Empower- Leaders are supposed to learn to listen; nothing is more empowering than being heard.

Motivatation- Simple but too often ignored motivators include; praise (telling folks juniors have done a job well - it is hard to overdo this one!), appreciation (a simple "thank you"), and recognition (awards, credit on a report, a letter of commendation). Learning to give positive feedback is crucial! Teambuilding exercises are a great way to build enthusiasm and cooperation.

Example 2:  The Importance of Leadership in the Organization

In every organization, whether small or large-scale, there is an unambiguous need for a leader. This leader is usually the owner or manager of the business but in some instances may also be an employee who possesses the ability to influence the actions of his or her co-workers. Effective leadership generally makes for a successful business organization. Conversely, the absence of, or ineffective use of leadership can have dire consequences on the organization for without leadership, organizations may move too slowly, stagnate, or lose their way.

Leadership is defined as “the process of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement” (Stogdill, 1950, p. 3). Hogan et al (1994) posit that leadership is persuasion not domination, and so true leadership only occurs when others willingly adopt the goals of a group as their own. In a group setting, the individuals who make up the group all have different experiences, values, beliefs and needs. As such, they all have unique views of the world and will support differing ideas.

The role of the leader in these instances is to point the individuals of the group in the same direction and harness their efforts jointly. The leader must ensure that each member of the group has an equal opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas. Therefore, a successful and effective leader must be patient and open-minded. If employees perceive that the leader is being unfair or biased, conflict will arise as they (the employees) react to the perceived injustices.

It is important to note that the positions of manager and leader are entirely different. Leaders develop visions and drive changes while managers monitor progress and solve problems (Zalenik, 1977). However, sound leadership is a key skill which all managers should possess. A manager can not effectively perform his duties without the ability to lead the individuals in the organization. A leader must be someone respected and looked up to by those in the organization.

Thus, the employees will freely follow the path charted by the leader in order to achieve organizational goals. Moreover, a well-liked leader usually means that employees are satisfied with their job environment and are therefore more motivated and determined to see a task or project through to the end. Employees who feel appreciated in the organization usually display a higher quality of work and also higher levels of productivity are also associated with workers who favour their leader.

On the other hand, ineffective leadership can result in reduced motivation and dissatisfaction of employees. Unclearly defined goals and an unsatisfactory work environment, symptoms of improper leadership result in frustrated workers which will eventually result in workers exiting the workplace or neglecting their duties. As a result, the output efficiency of the organization suffers and its yield will decline.

Example 3: The Role of Leadership in Organisational Change

In discussing the role of leadership in organisational change, one must first understand the rudiments of leadership and theories that surround it, understand what change is and the essential qualities that a leader must possess to bring about change.

Defining Leadership

There is much literature and research in the areas of leadership and management with many writers differentiating the two. A common conclusion is that a good manager may not be a good leader. So what is the difference between them? French, R., et al, (2011) says that while managers engage in solving problems and supervising work, leaders do not just instruct people on what to do. Leaders inspire and motivate the people who follow and support them thereby creating opportunities for the long-term. An environment where leadership is mentioned a lot and developed is the military. However, the command-and-control “leadership” where an officer barks orders to his troops is not leadership because he is legally authorised to do it (Cohen, 2010).

In support of this, Buchanan and Huczynski (1985) say that it is a “social process” where one person influences other’s behaviours without using threats of violence. By the latter definition, we can surmise that what goes on in the army is certainly far from leadership as threats are a way of life in the military! In the case of the military officer, he is said to be endowed with Formal Leadership, giving him formal authority over his men. When a staff has access to resources, information or has specialised skills, he may be viewed as an Informal Leader as he exerts influence over others who may not be their subordinates nor even be in the same department as them (French, et al, 2011).

So, while managers make things happen because the company says they are authorised to do so, leaders achieve the company’s objectives by influencing their colleagues or subordinates to co-operate (Rosen Bach & Taylor, 1993). Lussier & Achua (2007) say that mutual influence between a leader and those he leads reach their organisational goals by making changes together. According to Fielder (1967), the acid test of a leader is his ability to achieve greater performance for his organisation. Hence, studies of leadership must be related to how the leader improves management control strategies and how he regulates work place behaviour (Thomson & McHugh, 2002).

According to Cohen (2010), there are 8 laws that he termed “universal laws” which forms the heart of leadership. Though these 8 things that leaders must do are simple, the absence of one can make a difference between success and failure. Although success cannot be guaranteed, abiding by these 8 laws, one can increase the chances of success:

  1. Maintaining absolute integrity
  2. Being technically competent
  3. Communicating expectations
  4. Show exemplary commitment
  5. Expect positive results
  6. Looking after the interest of your people
  7. Putting duty before self
  8. Leading from the front

Section 2 : Theories on Leadership

According to Bass (1990), the three basic theories of leadership are the Trait Theory, Great Event Theory and Transformation Theory. Robbins (1996) had a different view and wrote that the three theories important to leadership development are Trait Theory, Behaviour Theory and Situational Theory. French, et al, (2011) summarised and divided the theories on leadership into 2 categories: Traditional Theories and New Theories. Traditional Theories are further grouped into Theories on leader traits and behaviours and situational leadership. New theories refer to Charismatic Leadership and Transformational Leadership.

Trait theories on leadership were developed from research which tried to identify attributes that great leaders were born with which differentiates them from non-leaders. How effective these leaders are depends on the influence the leader wields over his subordinate’s performance, satisfaction and overall effectiveness (Derue, et al, 2011). Galton’s (1869) view that these immutable traits are only found in leaders born with them and they cannot be developed has been challenged and criticized by many for over a hundred years. However, research has continued on linking personality traits on effectiveness of leaders and showed that successful leaders possess personality traits that impact their success.

This helps organisations in their selection, training and development of potential leaders (Derue et al., 2011). In Bass’s (1990) Great Event Theory, leaders are created when great changes or crisis happen driving certain characteristics to be forged in individuals, enhancing their performance. This theory predisposes that leadership creation is still involuntary and not proactive unlike the Transformational Leadership Theory where anyone can learn skills on how to lead. It would appear that leaders are not ‘born’ but they are shaped by their environment, including upbringing and career. (French, et al, 2011).

Criticisms of the trait theories led to the development of behaviour theories theorizing that actions and behaviour exhibited by a leader and not his personality is what identifies him as one. In late 1940s, University of Michigan conducted studies concluding that there are 2 types of leadership; Worker-oriented leadership and Task-oriented leadership. While the former is focussed on employee welfare, the latter concentrates on achievement of organisational objectives. Behavioural theory explains leadership vis-à-vis the behaviour of leaders but does not consider the situation or the environment that the leader is operating in. The criticism is that given different situations, the same leadership behaviours may not be observed.

Shortcomings of the behaviour theories led to Situational Contingency Theories of Fiedler (1967), House (1974), Hersey and Blanchard (1988) and Kerr and Jermier (1978). Horner (1997), a situational theorist, says that an effective leader should be able to adapt his leadership style according to the work situation he is in. The leadership styles identified by House’s (1974) Path-Goal theory are Directive, Supportive, Participative and Achievement-oriented styles. Contemporary leadership theorists like House (1974) and Conger and Kanungo (1998) researched on Charismatic Leadership.

They wrote that certain attitudes and attributes can be bundled together to determine charisma in a leader. What they do and how they do it to influence the desired actions from their followers is how charismatic leaders are successful as leaders (French, et al, 2011). Charisma is a key component of transformational leadership and as such, many of its characteristics are also found in successful transformational leaders. So while charismatic leaders may not be transformational leaders, transformational leaders need to be charismatic to achieve their mission of change (DuBrin, 2010).

DuBrin (2010) wrote that transformational leaders display attributes that distinguish them from others. Some attributes include charisma, high emotional intelligence, visioning skills, communication skills, give feedback, recognize subordinate’s achievements, practice empowerment, innovative and high moral reasoning. Bass (1990) distinguished between Transactional and Transformational leadership saying that the former has to do with daily communications and exchanges between a leader and his subordinates. This is usually task-based and routine. Transformational leadership, on the other hand, enables subordinates to broaden their goals and elevate performance beyond expectations with the use of charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and individualised consideration.

Section 3 : Organisational Change

The mother of all clichés, “The only constant in life is change”, sums up rather neatly that all organisations, large or small, simple or complex, will face changes within itself and in its environment. Writers have consensus that at this day and age, change is a much larger issue than decades past as the rate of change, especially for technological change, is increasing at an exponential rate (Balogun and Hope Hailey, 2004; Burnes, 2004; Senior, 2002). Being omni-present in organisations at all levels, the importance of the leader’s ability to assess its present stage, evaluate it against its desired state, define its performance gaps and plan organisational changes to reach the desired end cannot be emphasized more (Burnes, 2004).

Burnes (2004) goes on to say that organisational strategy and change are inseparable. According to Moran and Brightman (2001), because of the continually changing needs of stakeholders internally and externally, a good leader will also be continuously planning the organisation’s direction, its capabilities and structure to meet those changes. Because organisational change is of paramount importance, the skills that a leader must have to effect changes successfully are highly sought after (Senior, 2002). In fact, managers today may find that their primary task in an environment of globalisation, technological innovation, constantly changing demographics, deregulation and knowledge explosion, is to provide leadership for organisational change (Graetz, 2000)

Organisational change can be planned or unplanned. Unplanned changes occur spontaneously without any conscious effort on the part of the manager to effect change (French, et al, 2011). It is usually due to changes in the conditions of the environment and is reactive in nature. Planned change happens when the manager takes proactive measures to address a performance gap to get to desired outcomes that meet organisational goals and objectives. Although it is generally accepted that in a highly competitive environment, change is a necessity to survive, Balogun and Hope Hailey (2004) found that about 70 per cent of all plans for organisational change fail. According to Dunphy and Stace (1993), there are 4 characteristics in the scale of the change. They are Fine Tuning, Incremental Adjustment, Modular Transformation and Corporate Transformation.

In Fine Tuning, the leader makes very small changes to processes, human capital, structure and strategy so they work coherently to reach the organisational goal. It is usually done within the divisional or departmental level and is referred to as convergent change (Nelson, 2003) Similar to fine tuning, Incremental Adjustment involves making slightly more changes to managerial processes, corporate strategies and structures but not to the extent of radical change (Senior, 2002). The difference is that the changes are bigger here. In Modular Transformation, the scale of change has move from being intra-departmental to departmental-wide or division-wide alignments.

However, change in this category has not reached organisation-wide, which is discussed next. Major changes to key executives, restructuring of a division and downsizing a department are examples (Dunphy & Stace, 1993). Finally, Corporate Transformation which encompasses radical changes in mission, vision and core values, major strategic direction shifts, organisational restructuring and changes in top management and key appointments, is the largest of the 4 types of change (Dunphy & Stace, 1993). The key difference between corporate and modular transformations is that the former is organisation-wide, which means that every person in the organisation is affected.

Section 4 : The Process of Change

Beckhard & Gleicher (1969) wrote on a formula for change. This formula is sometimes referred to as Gleicher’s Formula. The formula shows the forces that drive change and the aims to predict when change will be successful.

This formula explains that leaders in an organisation need to be firstly, unhappy with how things are going and must know where they want to head towards. If D is absent, then the organisation may be complacent and may not want to move from their position. D without V will mean that the organisation has no direction for change. Even if D and V are present, without taking the first positive step, change will just be an idea; hence, action must be taken.

Therefore the product of D, V and F cannot be zero which means that any of the 3 values cannot be zero. If any of the 3 is absent, the drive to change will not overcome resistance. The other factor to consider is the magnitude of D, V and F against the magnitude of R. The product of D, V and F must be greater than R for there to be change. The greater the product, the greater the probability that change will happen. However, this formula does not guarantee that the change will be successful. For change to be successful, change leaders or change agents must have attributes to lead change.

There are many reasons why people resist change and it usually has to do with the fear of the unknown. As a result, they will find ways to slow change down or sabotage it so it does not happen (Lines, 2004). Instead of trying to overcome resistance, leaders should take it as a form of feedback and understand why the employee perceives threats to win them over and achieve change objectives (French, et al, 2011).

Section 5 : Phases of Change

The work of Kurt Lewin on phases of planned change is oft quoted and still very relevant today. He says that the 3 phases are “Unfreezing”, “Changing” and “Refreezing” and the leader should be sensitive in each of these phases (Lewin, 1952). “Unfreezing” or preparation phase prepares the ground for change. Leaders will have convinced themselves of a need for change using the Formula for Change. What they have to do now is to enable his followers to feel the same need and reduce resistance to change.

French, et al, (2011) referred to this phase as similar to “generating energy for transformation” in Miles’ (1997) framework for planned organizational change leadership. Lewin’s unfreezing phase also includes what Miles refers to as “Developing a vision of the future”. The leader needs to communicate this vision effectively to his followers and ensure buy-in for his changes to succeed. The 8-stage process of change by Kotter (1996) lists the first 4 stages as :

  • Establishing a Sense of Urgency
  • Creating a Guiding Coalition
  • Developing a Vision and Strategy
  • Communicating the Change Vision

Kotter refers to these 4 stages as “defrosting” which essentially means unfreezing. He says that managers sometimes skip these 4 stages and go headlong into restructuring or downsizing and eventually face insurmountable roadblocks or change that is not sustainable, that is, change that will not stick. The next phase of change, “Changing”, according to Lewin (1952), refers to the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of change like re-structuring, re-organisation, reshaping culture, training and development to build competencies required to fulfil the new vision. According to Miles (1997), this is referred to as “aligning the internal context”. Kotter (1996), on the other hand, splits this phase into 3 more stages in his 8-stage process of creating major change:

  • Empowering Broad-based Action
  • Generating Short-term Wins
  • Consolidating Gains and Producing more Change

Lewin’s (1952) final phase, “Refreezing”, is where leaders evaluate results and either makes modifications to improve results from the change or reinforce outcomes for achieving change objectives. The purpose of refreezing is so that change can be permanent and will “stick”. Miles refers to this as “Creating a transformation process architecture” which involves having feedback and communication mechanisms, support, education mechanisms and coordination mechanisms. This stage coincides with Kotter’s final stage in his 8-stage process called “Anchoring New Approaches in the Culture”.

Section 6 : Leadership and Organisational Change

Setting direction, giving inspiration and ensuring that lasting change is implemented organisation-wide is a key role that all leaders play. Good leadership and management of change is a critical ingredient in organisational change because it is essentially a people issue and human
nature is such that its first instinct is to resist change (Coburn, 2006). Lack of effort, too great a change over too short a time and emphasis on top management rather than engaging lower levels are key reasons for failure to execute change programmes (Manikandan, 2010).

It is critical to understand that organizations consist of complex human interactions such that all intended change needs to be handled with sensitivity. Change initiatives fail not because of the lack of intelligent leaders or noble causes but due to the lack of emotional buy-in from stakeholders. So leaders of change need to have skills and competencies to ensure successful change initiatives. Buchanan & Boddy (1992) grouped the skills and competencies into clusters of activities. However, upon analysis, they can be grouped into 2 broad categories:

  1. Competencies & Attributes of good leaders
  2. Communication & EQ Skills of good leaders.

Competencies & Attributes

A successful leader must be sensitive to his environment, including but not limited to being aware of market conditions, intra-company politics, conflicting goals of different departments, how the sum of parts in an organisation works together to achieve its goals (helicopter viewpoint) and who the power brokers are within the organisation. Having this competency will enable the change leader to appraise the status quo and determine the gap that needs to be closed in order to reach the new vision. Hence, the leader’s comprehension and clarity of his vision will be enhanced. “Flexibility” and “Tolerance of ambiguity” might well be two sides of the same coin. Not all changes will go according to plan nor all reactions to change, especially resistance, are predictable.

Hence, a good leader will have a fair amount of tolerance of the unknown and in exhibiting this, be flexible enough to modify his change plans to reach his objectives and to minimise resistance to change. Finally, the leader must have enthusiasm as he is the change agent. He is the champion of that change and if he cannot show that he believes in it and is behind it 100%, he will not be able to get buy-in for it.

Communication & EQ Skills

The skills listed in this box are all related to skills in effective communications but tempered with a good measure of emotional quotient (EQ). As discussed above, the challenges in change management are mainly found in the management of people. Hence, EQ in communication is key to success. Effective communication where the message is conveyed accurately from the sender to the receiver is a basic requirement of any leader. However for a change leader, communicating while exercising EQ will make the message more acceptable to the recipient and hence enhance successful change.

This is especially true when a leader wants to ‘sell’ the idea of change or when he ‘negotiates’ for a win-win solution to effect changes. He has to use all his ‘influence’ and exhibit charismatic leadership to win the support of his colleagues and subordinates. How he does this may be through the use of ‘motivation’. Using his EQ, the leader will be able to empathise with his subordinates and understand their fears and concerns know what motivates them and use this in his effort to garner support or reduce resistance.

The leader needs to use his ‘networking’ skills to access resources within and outside the company in order to implement his change plan. One must not forget that in transformational change, everyone and every department in an organisation will be affected. Hence the leader cannot work in isolation. Finally, using ‘teambuilding’ skills, the leader can build a cohesive force to successfully implement all the changes that the organisation wants to put in place and make those changes stick or in the words of Lewin (1983), “Refreeze”.

Section 7 : Conclusion

For over a century, behavioural scientists, psychologists and even sociologists have studied leadership, trying to define, explain and even predict situations when leadership qualities and attributes will be displayed. They have tried to explain if leadership is inborn or a result of the external environment. Whether it is inherent in personality or whether it can be learnt and developed. Contemporary theorists conclude that although certain traits that are inborn are those found in great leaders, other attributes of good leadership can indeed be developed.

Organisational change, inescapable as it were, is a challenge for leaders. Leaders need to prepare the ground and communicate the changes needed to move the organisation forward (Unfreeze), make the changes with sensitivity and exercise EQ (Change) and get buy-in and support for the changes to make them stick (Refreeze). To execute change plans, leaders need to have the communication skills, EQ, competencies and attributes required for transformational change.

Example 4: Study of Leadership: can leaders be born or made?

As everybody is living in a competitive world leadership skills are important for successful business. Leadership referred to as direct people to perform a particular task. In a business world, if someone wants to go ahead in the field he may need certain skills which may give an opportunity to be a good leader. Simply, it allows a person to climb up the business ladder. Therefore leadership can be considered as one of the main assets a successful manager should have.

Management concerns about an effective and efficient way to achieve organizational goals through planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling organizational resources. Whereas leadership is one of the components of directing function mentioned above. This means that leadership often linked to the role of the manager or expert. However, leadership and management are two distinguish roles which are confused by many people. Not all managers, for example, are leaders; and not all leaders are managers. Many researchers have studied leadership in a quantitative and qualitative way and seen that it is far more sophisticated and complex that the leadership concepts discussed in the popular leadership books.

Leadership can be represented as a process whereby someone influences the thoughts, attitudes and behavior to achieve an organizational goal. As a result, leadership can make employees more confident and train them to increase productivity through building trust and friendly atmosphere which makes employees to feel safety of their jobs which will help to increase the productivity. In an organization there are informal leaders with no tittle, no authority, no position power, but they can increase personal power.

Nowadays, most of the companies agreed that management without leadership is an ineffective activity. The resources of the organization cannot be managed without proper leadership. In addition to that without leadership organization may move too slowly and which may result lose their business too. Leader is the one who is a trustworthy, self-confidence and fulfill promises made and consider the work seriously.

Different people are having different attitudes and therefore, they give a solution to a particular problem/conflict in a different way. Therefore, most suitable decision needs to be selected when conflict arises. Therefore, leadership is an activity to get other people to do right things. Therefore, the need lf selecting better leader for an organization has become a challenging task. Thus, by having right team with fully motivated staff and great leadership qualities can enhance the reputation and productivity of the organization.

Some researchers commented leadership as a personality perspective such as a trait or behavior whereas others think leadership is an information processing perspective.Therefore, in this analysis it is going to be analyze whether leaders are born or can made.

Are leaders born?

In the real world there are so many self-made leaders who become success in the business. It is a debatable issue whether they become top by born or experience gained during their life time.

When considering Trait theory (Ghee & Draft, 2004) explained that “traits are the distinguishing personal characteristic of leader such as intelligence, honesty, self-confidence, and appearance”. That means the Trait theory mainly emphasis that leaders are born.

However, this is questionable to see whether people are born as a leader. In that case, it is also needed to investigate people who are not born cannot be a leader. Vien Goleman (1998) reveals that five aspects of emotional intelligence such as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social skills can be learned and provide. However, this concept is almost similar to the Trait Theory. Therefore, most of people argue that the traits are important in the development and deployment of people skills.

Most of the people argue that leadership is born when consider some characters such as artists and players. However, they have realized that leadership is actually not born. Therefore, following examples illustrate the above concern.

Tiger Woods- Golf Champion

He has born with some talents of sports. His father worked hard from his early ages to make him Golf champion.

Mozart- Musician

He also has born with certain musical talent. As his father wanted to make him as a musician from his childhood he was trained to use instruments etc.

Hendry Ford – Automobile leader

His parents were poor people who came to America with the hope of new start for their lives. When he was a child, most of the time he spent with his mother. He is quite and inward looking. In his young age, he mother passed away. He was working as a low level mechanist in various places without having enough money spend better life. He didn’t have any resources such as birthright and pedigree that could make him a born leader. But, finally he became as the greatest leaders the corporate world ever seen. (, 14/03/11)

Those examples prove that their natural talent and qualities improved through hard work of many years. In other words they have improved their influencing ability.

“Leadership is as a process whereby an individual influence a group of individuals to achieve a company goals” (Northouse, 2010)

Above definition reveals leadership as a process which means it is not trait or characteristic of leadership, but something deferent between leader and the followers. In addition to that it tells that leadership is not a linear event, but it can be considered as a communicating event. Therefore, it emphasizes that leadership is available to everyone. In this circumstance, it is vital to discuss about whether leadership can be made or born.

Leadership is Made:

A successful business requires proper leaders, but not managers to run the organization to a leading position in the market. Therefore, to achieve this, managers should be a real leaders. Some argue that good leaders are made not born. If someone wants to be a leader he can be an effective leader by improving leadership qualities such as goals, values and concepts.

Bateman & Snell (2009) reveals a leader who keeps focus on moving the organization towards its ideal future, motivate them to overcome whatever barriers lie in the way. Therefore, leaders need to motivate others and build cooperate with them to achieve organizational goals. Simply, leaders need to make friends rather than enemies. Further, smiley and friendly approach will be the asset to reach for the success. In order to be a successful leader who needs to gain better training to harvest the success. The leader can develop positive thinking which can be enhanced by positive thinking and better training. Therefore, one’s own abilities and traits are not enough to become a successful leader.

In a real world, “he is born to be a leader” or “he is a natural leader” is commonly used phrase. It suggests the Traits perspective takes major part in the leadership. Further, it says that a particular person may have inborn characteristics or qualities which will help them to become leaders. However, figure 1 shows there is a difference between the Trait concept and Process concept (Northouse. P, 2009).

The Trait leadership tells that people who have special, inborn, talent can be a leader. Some of the traits are identified as height, intelligence, fluency and etc. Whereas, the Process concept suggests that leadership is interaction between leaders and followers and makes it available to everyone. Further, it says that leaders need followers and also followers need leaders who are closely linked to communicate each other to continue relationship.

Northouse (2009) suggests that according to Douglas Mc Gregor (1960) theory, leadership can be concerned in two aspects such as Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X emphasis if employees are shy, they need to monitor, direct and control by the leader. On the other hand, Theory Y concerns that some people take responsibility and organize themselves to achieve organizational goals. According to theory Y, employees can be easily motivated. However, this concept was taken into account later years and Black and Mounton (1964) developed “Managerial Grid” (Northouse, 2009). In this grid he suggests two aspects of leadership behavior such as production and concern of people.

Production- this aspect concern about task oriented behavior such as clarifying roles, scheduling work, and measuring output.
Concern for people- this emphasis on building trust, camaraderie and a friendly atmosphere. As this is more concern about the people, it helps to motivate employees in order to achieve defined set of vision, strategies and targets of the organization.

Therefore, all the theories mentioned above reveals that leadership is accessible for everyone. Northouse (2009), suggests that leaders should focus on vision, purpose, core values and the structure to translate them to take better business decisions. Therefore, it is essential that all level of employees needed to motivate to achieve the organizational targets. Many researchers such as Mc Gregor’s (1960) theory and vroom’s (1964) expectancy theory motivation reveals that followers are able to achieve targets of the organization with the influence of leaders. In addition to that, in expectancy theory it also suggests that different people concern different things.

Therefore, different motivational needs are required. Hence, to understand different situations and different people within the organization the need of training and learning skills required for an effective and efficient leader. Further, leaders should have some attributes and qualities to motivate employees or the team in the organization. Therefore, an effective leadership is an important asset to the organization as great leaders create great business components of business success through delegation, direction, motivation, evaluation and conflict resolution.

Bateman and Snell (2009) suggest that leadership can be learned and improved by coaching or mentoring. Therefore, better training will enhance the leader to self-motivate and hence, he or she can motivate the team as well.


In my concern, leaders can be made which means it is accessible for all people and can be learned as a behavior. There are no born leaders. However, all humans born with unique strengths and it enable to be a successful leader. Leadership is a skill, a proper leader needs to have and can be improved with practice.

As a person gain more and more practice his or her leadership qualities improve. In some situations, the company may have leaders but not identified their potentials. In that case, they can make a better leader by giving them better training and performance appraisal. This proves that people are not born leaders. In my view, someone can born with some personal qualities and characteristics that makes it easier. When the responsibility is given to a person it gives an opportunity to get broad skills and being coached by someone to encourage them. Hence, they can be motivated and perform on their own skills and knowledge to succeed the company.


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Example 5: Different Leadership Styles in the Public Service

There are several different leadership styles used within the public services. Therefore there are many varied suggestions that define someone as being a strong leader. However a ‘leadership style’ is a unique style that people recognise to encourage or influence other people in a way others do not so that they admire and want to be like. A team leader’s role in the public services is to provide instruction and direction and guidance and leadership this is to help inspire and encourage the team to reach their goals and aims.

They have to keep the team focused on there current task or tasks and be able to communicate within their group effectively. Team spirit needs to be kept positive so that this ensures that tasks assigned are completed on time and that the group’s standards are always kept high. The three main Leadership styles used in the public services: Authoritarian

The Authoritarian leader makes quick, clear and precise independent decisions without any input. Even if there was, it wouldn’t affect the overall decision making as it needs to be decided quickly. The appropriate leader that would use the common traits of an authoritarian leader would be an officer in the army because usually they are loud and demanding. Democratic

The democratic leader involves the whole team having an input in the decision-making. The team members can give opinions that may affect or influence the final decision. The team leader is still responsible for the final decision but after listening, taking in account all the opinions and weighing them up. The appropriate way this style can be used is in the fire service, for example, rescuing a person or people in a burning building therefore it needs more than one person to help decide the best decision. Laissez faire

The laissez faire leader more of an independent off hands approach. This style is only used if the leader has a lot of trust in the team and relies on them to get on with the task in hand with high standards and little direction. However the team has a lot more freedom to achieve because they are highly motivated and feel empowered. For example the most effective way this style could be used is if you gave a police forensic team to go out and complete a task.

Other leadership styles used in public services


The transactional style of leadership is pretty straight forward but it uses rewards and punishments to motivate the team. This is a style of leadership that is similar but not as extreme as the autocratic style. The transactional styles are direct and dominant and spend a great amount of time saying what is expected from the team as a whole. The leaders monitor the work and each and everyone’s individual performance, there is also a clear chain of command. Transactional leaders are very commonly found within businesses where people are given rewards such as bonuses, training or time off if they show a good demonstration.


The transformational style of leadership focuses on the team’s performance as a whole, it encourages everyone to think of the group as a whole and rather not just themselves. Transformational leaders aim to make their team members better people by encouraging their self-awareness, it’s all about moving forward in a team and not just several individuals in one group. An example of transformational leadership would be within the army where as a team you all have to move forward and stick together in a group ‘’never leave a man behind’’.


The bureaucratic style of leadership is a style of leadership that focuses on rules and procedures to manage teams and projects. This is a classic style of leadership that is used quite a lot in organisations that don’t encourage innovation and change by leaders who maybe insecure and uncertain in what their role maybe. It is defused among a number of departments or people where there is a strict set of rules. This approach to leadership is commonly used in uniformed and non-uniformed public services. Bureaucratic leadership is common in jobs were safety and efficiency is very important. Occupations would include fire-fighters, police, nursing, and the armed forces. People orientated

People Orientated is slightly similar but a bit different to the task-orientated leadership. Within this style of leadership, this style focuses on participation of all the team members, clear communication, supporting and developing the individual in order to improve their skills. The members of this team inspire other people by unlocking their own potential, this style is participative and encourages good team work. As an example in the police if a woman has kids the leader would let her go home and ask others to stay behind. Task Orientated

In this style of leadership it’s all about getting the job done. It’s all about the key of the task rather than about everyone else in the team. Their main focus is just to get the task done weather it is instructed or unstructed. This style can have many difficulties such as difficulties of the lack of motivating and the retaining the team as a whole. An example a police inspector organising crowd control at a football match may use a task-cantered approach.

Comparing and Evaluating the three main styles of leadership The three main types of leadership styles are Autocratic, Democratic, and Laissez-faire. Autocratic is when the leader has complete control, and no one else gets to make decisions. Despite that they get many tasks completed, morale is low. Democratic is considered to be the best. Everyone has a voice on how things are done. People who are then the leader have better morale, and get better quality of work done. Laissez Faire is when the leader plays no role in completing objectives. Very little is achieved under a Laissez Faire rule. If a civilian was trapped inside a vehicle after an accident collision the fire brigade would be called to assist within the accident.

The type of leadership style I would use in this scenario would be the democratic approach, my reasons for this are that the team need time to consider the best possible option/decision to bring about the best result. In my opinion I would not use the Autocratic approach as this is where a leader needs to think and act fast without no input from their team. In this situation thinking and acting fast might not bring about the best result as you need to consider if the victim trapped in the vehicle has any injuries that might affect his removal from the vehicle, or any problems with the vehicle it’s self such as a dangerous leak that could potentially cause an explosion or a fire.

Essay sample on Leadership essay

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