has been described as the
process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and supportof others in the accomplishment of a common task
. Definitions more inclusive of followers have also emerged. AlanKeith of Genentech states that, "Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to makingsomething extraordinary happen." According to Ken "SKC" Ogbonnia, "effective leadership is the ability tosuccessfully integrate and maximize available resources within the internal and external environment for theattainment of organizational or societal goals."The following sections discuss several important aspects of leadership including a description of what leadership isand a description of several popular theories and styles of leadership. This article also discusses topics such as therole of emotions and vision, as well as leadership effectiveness and performance, leadership in different contexts,how it may differ from related concepts (i.e., management), and some critiques of leadership as generally conceived.
Leadership is "organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal." The leader may or may not have any formalauthority. Students of leadership have produced theories involving traits,
situational interaction, function,behavior, power, vision and values,
charisma, and intelligence among others. Arieu, A. defines a leader as "aperson capable of inspiring and associate others with a dream." It is therefore important that organizations have avisionary mission, since it is a powerful way to strengthen the leadership of its directors.
The search for the characteristics or traits of leaders has been ongoing for centuries. History's greatest philosophicalwritings from Plato's
have explored the question of "What qualities distinguish anindividual as a leader?" Underlying this search was the early recognition of the importance of leadership and theassumption that leadership is rooted in the characteristics that certain individuals possess. This idea that leadership isbased on individual attributes is known as the "trait theory of leadership."This view of leadership, the trait theory, was explored at length in a number of works in the previous century. Mostnotable are the writings of Thomas Carlyle and Francis Galton, whose works have prompted decades of research. In
Heroes and Hero Worship
(1841), Carlyle identified the talents, skills, and physical characteristics of men who roseto power. In Galton's (1869)
, he examined leadership qualities in the families of powerful men.After showing that the numbers of eminent relatives dropped off when moving from first degree to second degreerelatives, Galton concluded that leadership was inherited. In other words, leaders were born, not developed. Both of these notable works lent great initial support for the notion that leadership is rooted in characteristics of the leader.For decades, this trait-based perspective dominated empirical and theoretical work in leadership.
Using earlyresearch techniques, researchers conducted over a hundred studies proposing a number of characteristics thatdistinguished leaders from nonleaders: intelligence, dominance, adaptability, persistence, integrity, socioeconomicstatus, and self-confidence just to name a few.
Rise of alternative theories
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, however, a series of qualitative reviews of these studies (e.g., Bird, 1940;
) prompted researchers to take a drastically different view of the driving forcesbehind leadership. In reviewing the extant literature, Stogdill and Mann found that while some traits were commonacross a number of studies, the overall evidence suggested that persons who are leaders in one situation may notnecessarily be leaders in other situations. Subsequently, leadership was no longer characterized as an enduringindividual trait, as situational approaches (see alternative leadership theories below) posited that individuals can beeffective in certain situations, but not others. This approach dominated much of the leadership theory and research