The action of leading a group of people or an organisation.
Leaders are people with the ability to use social influence rather than formal authority to convince others to follow their vision. Leaders can be appointed or emerge from the ranks, and thus the qualities of leadership are not correlated to seniority, nor a person’s position in an organisation. This is because the ability to inspire others is based upon their ability to influence rather than power or authority (Kruse, 2013).
There are two main objectives of a leader, the first one is to use their influence to convince people to work cohesively together, and the second one is to have a task, vision or goal in mind to focus their influence upon (Mindtools, 2016). This leads to the summation that the type of leader will be dependent upon the vision, the cohort and the environment the leader is working with and that there is no one correct type of leader. Consequently it can be theorised that leaders and leadership style will vary depending on the circumstances in which the organisation finds itself in (Mindtools, 2016). This means that unlike previous years where good leadership was assumed to be within the realms of charismatic individuals, the modern perspective of leadership is instead perceived to be situational and team based (Klingborg et al., 2014; Kruse, 2013; Mindtools, 2016).
Unfortunately, leadership roles and management are often confused for each other. This is a fallacy as leaders are not necessarily managers. Whilst there are similarities between the two roles, there is a difference in the spheres of influence. Both leaders and managers can be appointed to their positions and the efficacy of both can impact an organisation, but in different ways. Ingram (2019) points out that leaders are focused on the future and therefore provide goals and incentives for their team to achieve, whereas managers are focused on the achievements of the day. This means that leaders are required to provide opportunities for personal growth and collaboration in order to promote individual and group performance (Ingram, 2019). Managers are not mandated to provide the same level of access to personal development as their task is to use their legitimately appointed power to ensure tasks get completed on time, whereas leaders are tasked with using their socially influenced power to induce others to engage and participate in their vision or goal over a period of time (Kruse, 2013; Ingram, 2019). Whilst leaders are not always managers, it is helpful for managers to also possess leadership qualities or traits.
Ingram, D. (2019, February 4). Transformational leadership vs transactional leadership definition. Hearst Newspapers: Small Business. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/transformational-leadership-vs-transactional-leadership-definition-13834.html
Klingborg, D., Moore., D, & Varea-Hammond, S. (2006). What Is Leadership? Journal of veterinary medical education. 33. 280-3. 10.3138/jvme.33.2.280.
Kruse, K. (2013). What is leadership? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/04/09/what-is-leadership/?sh=3bcbe1115b90