Leadership is the talent of influencing others to reach goals. They inspire a shared vision and enable others to act.
Effective leaders have power. Power may be legitimate requiring employees to obey orders by virtue of the leader’s position. Reward power makes people obey orders to receive the rewards that are in control of the leaders. Power may be coercive having control over punishments, or referent having the characteristics that appeal to others. Expertise is another power source – the leader has certain expertise that ensures compliance because people believe in this expertise.
Leadership can be studied with the traditional approach or the contemporary approach. Among the traditional approaches are: the trait approach which determines the personal characteristics of great leaders. The behavioral approach identifies what good leaders do. Leaders may have task performance behavior focusing on goals’ achievement or group maintenance behavior focusing on people’s satisfaction. The situational approach suggests that leaders behave differently in different situations. Among the contemporary approaches are: charismatic leadership whereby exceptional self-confidence and conviction creates an aura of competence and success, transformational leadership gets people to transcend their personal interests for the sake of the larger community and authentic leadership suggests that the leader is true to himself while leading.
Leadership can be developed by taking on various assignments like building something from nothing; fixing or turning around a failing operation etc. and by having exposure to positive role models. Thus leadership is not something that you have to be born with; it is something that can be learned as well.
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