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"Leader" redirects here. For other uses, see Leader (disambiguation).
For other uses, see Leadership (disambiguation).
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challenged and removed. (September 2009)

Leadership has been described as the “process of social influence in which one person
can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”.[1]
Definitions more inclusive of followers have also emerged. Alan Keith of Genentech
states that, "Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to
making something extraordinary happen."[2] According to Ken "SKC" Ogbonnia [3],
"effective leadership is the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available
resources within the internal and external environment for the attainment of
organizational or societal goals."

Leadership remains one of the most relevant aspects of the organizational context.
However, defining leadership has been challenging and definitions can vary depending
on the situation. According to Ann Marie E. McSwain, Assistant Professor at Lincoln
University, “leadership is about capacity: the capacity of leaders to listen and observe, to
use their expertise as a starting point to encourage dialogue between all levels of
decision-making, to establish processes and transparency in decision-making, to
articulate their own values and visions clearly but not impose them. Leadership is about
setting and not just reacting to agendas, identifying problems, and initiating change that
makes for substantive improvement rather than managing change.”

The following sections discuss several important aspects of leadership including a

description of what leadership is and a description of several popular theories and styles
of leadership. This article also discusses topics such as the role 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.


• 1 Theories of leadership
o 1.1 Trait Theory
 1.1.1 Early History
 1.1.2 The Rise of Alternative Leadership Theories
 1.1.3 The Reemergence of the Trait Theory
 1.1.4 Current Criticisms of the Trait Theory
 1.1.5 Leader Attribute Pattern Approach
o 1.2 Behavioral and style theories
o 1.3 Situational and contingency theories
o 1.4 Functional theory
o 1.5 Transactional and transformational theories
o 1.6 Leadership and emotions
o 1.7 Environmental leadership theory
• 2 Leadership styles
o 2.1 Kurt Lewin's Leadership styles
 2.1.1 Dictator Leaders
 2.1.2 Autocratic or Authoritarian Leaders
 2.1.3 Participative or Democratic Leaders
 2.1.4 Laissez Faire or Free Rein Leaders
• 3 Leadership performance
• 4 Contexts of leadership
o 4.1 Leadership in organizations
o 4.2 Leadership versus management
o 4.3 Leadership by a group
o 4.4 Leadership among primates
• 5 Historical views on leadership
• 6 Action Oriented Team Leadership Skills
• 7 Titles emphasizing authority
• 8 Critical Thought on the concept of leadership
• 9 See also
• 10 References

• 11 External links

[edit] Theories of leadership

Students of leadership have produced theories involving traits [4], situational interaction,
function, behavior, power, vision and values [5], charisma, and intelligence among others.

[edit] Trait Theory

Trait theory tries to describe the characteristics associated with effective leadership.

[edit] Early History

The search for the characteristics or traits of leaders has been ongoing for
centuries. History’s greatest philosophical writings from Plato’s Republic to
Plutarch’s Lives have explored the question of “What qualities distinguish an
individual as a leader?” Underlying this search was the early recognition of the
importance of leadership and the assumption that leadership is rooted in the
characteristics that certain individuals possess. This idea that leadership is based
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. Most notable 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 rose to power. In Galton’s (1869) Hereditary Genius,
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 degree relatives, 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

For decades, this trait-based perspective dominated empirical and theoretical work
in leadership[6]. Using early research techniques, researchers conducted over a
hundred studies proposing a number of characteristics that distinguished leaders
from nonleaders: intelligence, dominance, adaptability, persistence, integrity,
socioeconomic status, and self-confidence just to name a few[7].

[edit] The Rise of Alternative Leadership Theories

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, however, a series of qualitative reviews of these
studies (e.g., Bird, 1940[8]; Stogdill, 1948[9]; Mann, 1959[10]) prompted researchers
to take a drastically different view of the driving forces behind leadership. In
reviewing the extant literature, Stogdill and Mann found that while some traits
were common across a number of studies, the overall evidence suggested that
persons who are leaders in one situation may not necessarily be leaders in other
situations. Subsequently, leadership was no longer characterized as an enduring
individual trait, as situational approaches (see alernative leadership theories
below) posited that individuals can be effective in certain situations, but not
others. This approach dominated much of the leadership theory and research for
the next few decades.

[edit] The Reemergence of the Trait Theory

New methods and measurements were developed after these influential reviews
that would ultimately reestablish the trait theory as a viable approach to the study
of leadership. For example, improvements in researchers’ use of the round robin
research design methodology allowed researchers to see that individuals can and
do emerge as leaders across a variety of situations and tasks[11]. Additionally,
during the 1980s statistical advances allowed researchers to conduct meta-
analyses, in which they could quantitatively analyze and summarize the findings
from a wide array of studies. This advent allowed trait theorists to create a
comprehensive and parsimonious picture of previous leadership research rather
than rely on the qualitative reviews of the past. Equipped with new methods,
leadership researchers revealed the following:

• Individuals can and do emerge as leaders across a variety of

situations and tasks[12]
• Significant relationships exist between leadership and such
individual traits as:

• intelligence[13]
• adjustment[14]
• extraversion[15]
• conscientiousness[16][17][18]
• openness to experience[19][20]
• general self-efficacy[21][22]

[edit] Current Criticisms of the Trait Theory

While the trait theory of leadership has certainly regained popularity, its
reemergence has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in
sophisticated conceptual frameworks[23].
Specifically, Zaccaro (2007)[24] noted that trait theories still:

1. Focus on a small set of individual attributes such as Big Five

personality traits, to the neglect of cognitive abilities, motives, values,
social skills, expertise, and problem-solving skills
2. Fail to consider patterns or integrations of multiple attributes
3. Do not distinguish between those leader attributes that are
generally not malleable over time and those that are shaped by, and bound
to, situational influences
4. Do not consider how stable leader attributes account for the
behavioral diversity necessary for effective leadership

[edit] Leader Attribute Pattern Approach

Considering the criticisms of the trait theory outlined above, several researchers
have begun to adopt a different perspective of leader individual differences - the
leader attribute pattern approach[25][26][27][28][29]. In contrast to the traditional
approach, the leader attribute pattern approach is based on theorists’ arguments
that the influence of individual characteristics on outcomes is best understood by
considering the person as an integrated totality rather than a summation of
individual variables[30][31]. In other words, the leader attribute pattern approach
argues that integrated constellations or combinations of individual differences
may explain substantial variance in both leader emergence and leader
effectiveness beyond that explained by single attributes, or by additive
combinations of multiple attributes.

[edit] Behavioral and style theories

Main article: Managerial grid model

In response to the early criticisms of the trait approach, theorists began to research
leadership as a set of behaviors, evaluating the behavior of 'successful' leaders,
determining a behavior taxonomy and identifying broad leadership styles.[32] David
McClelland, for example, Leadership takes a strong personality with a well developed
positive ego. Not so much as a pattern of motives, but a set of traits is crucial. To lead;
self-confidence and a high self-esteem is useful, perhaps even essential. [33][Kevin Mick]

A graphical representation of the managerial grid model

Kurt Lewin, Ronald Lipitt, and Ralph White developed in 1939 the seminal work on the
influence of leadership styles and performance. The researchers evaluated the
performance of groups of eleven-year-old boys under different types of work climate. In
each, the leader exercised his influence regarding the type of group decision making,
praise and criticism (feedback), and the management of the group tasks (project
management) according to three styles: (1) authoritarian, (2) democratic and (3) laissez-
faire.[34] Authoritarian climates were characterized by leaders who make decisions alone,
demand strict compliance to his orders, and dictate each step taken; future steps were
uncertain to a large degree. The leader is not necessarily hostile but is aloof from
participation in work and commonly offers personal praise and criticism for the work
done. Democratic climates were characterized by collective decision processes, assisted
by the leader. Before accomplishing tasks, perspectives are gained from group discussion
and technical advice from a leader. Members are given choices and collectively decide
the division of labor. Praise and criticism in such an environment are objective, fact
minded and given by a group member without necessarily having participated extensively
in the actual work. Laissez faire climates gave freedom to the group for policy
determination without any participation from the leader. The leader remains uninvolved
in work decisions unless asked, does not participate in the division of labor, and very
infrequently gives praise.[34] The results seemed to confirm that the democratic climate
was preferred.[35]

The managerial grid model is also based on a behavioral theory. The model was
developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in 1964 and suggests five different
leadership styles, based on the leaders' concern for people and their concern for goal

[edit] Situational and contingency theories

Main articles: Fiedler contingency model, Vroom-Yetton decision model, Path-goal

theory, and Hersey-Blanchard situational theory

Situational theory also appeared as a reaction to the trait theory of leadership. Social
scientists argued that history was more than the result of intervention of great men as
Carlyle suggested. Herbert Spencer (1884) said that the times produce the person and not
the other way around.[37] This theory assumes that different situations call for different
characteristics; according to this group of theories, no single optimal psychographic
profile of a leader exists. According to the theory, "what an individual actually does when
acting as a leader is in large part dependent upon characteristics of the situation in which
he functions."[38]

Some theorists started to synthesize the trait and situational approaches. Building upon
the research of Lewin et al., academics began to normatize the descriptive models of
leadership climates, defining three leadership styles and identifying in which situations
each style works better. The authoritarian leadership style, for example, is approved in
periods of crisis but fails to win the "hearts and minds" of their followers in the day-to-
day management; the democratic leadership style is more adequate in situations that
require consensus building; finally, the laissez faire leadership style is appreciated by the
degree of freedom it provides, but as the leader does not "take charge", he can be
perceived as a failure in protracted or thorny organizational problems.[39] Thus, theorists
defined the style of leadership as contingent to the situation, which is sometimes
classified as contingency theory. Four contingency leadership theories appear more
prominently in the recent years: Fiedler contingency model, Vroom-Yetton decision
model, the path-goal theory, and the Hersey-Blanchard situational theory.

The Fiedler contingency model bases the leader’s effectiveness on what Fred Fiedler
called situational contingency. This results from the interaction of leadership style and
situational favorableness (later called "situational control"). The theory defined two types
of leader: those who tend to accomplish the task by developing good-relationships with
the group (relationship-oriented), and those who have as their prime concern carrying out
the task itself (task-oriented).[40] According to Fiedler, there is no ideal leader. Both task-
oriented and relationship-oriented leaders can be effective if their leadership orientation
fits the situation. When there is a good leader-member relation, a highly structured task,
and high leader position power, the situation is considered a "favorable situation". Fiedler
found that task-oriented leaders are more effective in extremely favourable or
unfavourable situations, whereas relationship-oriented leaders perform best in situations
with intermediate favourability.

Victor Vroom, in collaboration with Phillip Yetton (1973)[41] and later with Arthur Jago
(1988),[42] developed a taxonomy for describing leadership situations, taxonomy that was
used in a normative decision model where leadership styles where connected to
situational variables, defining which approach was more suitable to which situation.[43]
This approach was novel because it supported the idea that the same manager could rely
on different group decision making approaches depending on the attributes of each
situation. This model was later referred as situational contingency theory.[44]

The path-goal theory of leadership was developed by Robert House (1971) and was based
on the expectancy theory of Victor Vroom.[45] According to House, the essence of the
theory is "the meta proposition that leaders, to be effective, engage in behaviors that
complement subordinates' environments and abilities in a manner that compensates for
deficiencies and is instrumental to subordinate satisfaction and individual and work unit
performance.[46] The theory identifies four leader behaviors, achievement-oriented,
directive, participative, and supportive, that are contingent to the environment factors and
follower characteristics. In contrast to the Fiedler contingency model, the path-goal
model states that the four leadership behaviors are fluid, and that leaders can adopt any of
the four depending on what the situation demands. The path-goal model can be classified
both as a contingency theory, as it depends on the circumstances, but also as a
transactional leadership theory, as the theory emphasizes the reciprocity behavior
between the leader and the followers.

The situational leadership model proposed by Hersey and Blanchard suggests four
leadership-styles and four levels of follower-development. For effectiveness, the model
posits that the leadership-style must match the appropriate level of followership-
development. In this model, leadership behavior becomes a function not only of the
characteristics of the leader, but of the characteristics of followers as well.[47]

[edit] Functional theory

Main article: Functional leadership model

Functional leadership theory (Hackman & Walton, 1986; McGrath, 1962) is a

particularly useful theory for addressing specific leader behaviors expected to contribute
to organizational or unit effectiveness. This theory argues that the leader’s main job is to
see that whatever is necessary to group needs is taken care of; thus, a leader can be said
to have done their job well when they have contributed to group effectiveness and
cohesion (Fleishman et al., 1991; Hackman & Wageman, 2005; Hackman & Walton,
1986). While functional leadership theory has most often been applied to team leadership
(Zaccaro, Rittman, & Marks, 2001), it has also been effectively applied to broader
organizational leadership as well (Zaccaro, 2001). In summarizing literature on functional
leadership (see Kozlowski et al. (1996), Zaccaro et al. (2001), Hackman and Walton
(1986), Hackman & Wageman (2005), Morgeson (2005)), Klein, Zeigert, Knight, and
Xiao (2006) observed five broad functions a leader performs when promoting
organisation's effectiveness. These functions include: (1) environmental monitoring, (2)
organizing subordinate activities, (3) teaching and coaching subordinates, (4) motivating
others, and (5) intervening actively in the group’s work.

A variety of leadership behaviors are expected to facilitate these functions. In initial work
identifying leader behavior, Fleishman (1953) observed that subordinates perceived their
supervisors’ behavior in terms of two broad categories referred to as consideration and
initiating structure. Consideration includes behavior involved in fostering effective
relationships. Examples of such behavior would include showing concern for a
subordinate or acting in a supportive manner towards others. Initiating structure involves
the actions of the leader focused specifically on task accomplishment. This could include
role clarification, setting performance standards, and holding subordinates accountable to
those standards.

[edit] Transactional and transformational theories

Main articles: Transactional leadership and Transformational leadership

Eric Berne[48] first analyzed the relations between a group and its leadership in terms of
Transactional Analysis.

The transactional leader (Burns, 1978)[49] is given power to perform certain tasks and
reward or punish for the team’s performance. It gives the opportunity to the manager to
lead the group and the group agrees to follow his lead to accomplish a predetermined
goal in exchange for something else. Power is given to the leader to evaluate, correct and
train subordinates when productivity is not up to the desired level and reward
effectiveness when expected outcome is reached.

The transformational leader (Burns, 1978)[49] motivates its team to be effective and
efficient. Communication is the base for goal achievement focusing the group on the final
desired outcome or goal attainment. This leader is highly visible and uses chain of
command to get the job done. Transformational leaders focus on the big picture, needing
to be surrounded by people who take care of the details. The leader is always looking for
ideas that move the organization to reach the company’s vision.

[edit] Leadership and emotions

Leadership can be perceived as a particularly emotion-laden process, with emotions

entwined with the social influence process[50]. In an organization, the leaders’ mood has
some effects on his/her group. These effects can be described in 3 levels[51]:

1. The mood of individual group members. Group members with leaders in a

positive mood experience more positive mood than do group members with
leaders in a negative mood.The leaders transmit their moods to other group
members through the mechanism of emotional contagion[51].Mood contagion may
be one of the psychological mechanisms by which charismatic leaders influence
2. The affective tone of the group. Group affective tone represents the consistent or
homogeneous affective reactions within a group. Group affective tone is an
aggregate of the moods of the individual members of the group and refers to
mood at the group level of analysis. Groups with leaders in a positive mood have
a more positive affective tone than do groups with leaders in a negative mood [51].
3. Group processes like coordination, effort expenditure, and task strategy. Public
expressions of mood impact how group members think and act. When people
experience and express mood, they send signals to others. Leaders signal their
goals, intentions, and attitudes through their expressions of moods. For example,
expressions of positive moods by leaders signal that leaders deem progress toward
goals to be good.The group members respond to those signals cognitively and
behaviorally in ways that are reflected in the group processes [51].

In research about client service, it was found that expressions of positive mood by the
leader improve the performance of the group, although in other sectors there were other

Beyond the leader’s mood, his behavior is a source for employee positive and negative
emotions at work. The leader creates situations and events that lead to emotional
response. Certain leader behaviors displayed during interactions with their employees are
the sources of these affective events. Leaders shape workplace affective events.
Examples – feedback giving, allocating tasks, resource distribution. Since employee
behavior and productivity are directly affected by their emotional states, it is imperative
to consider employee emotional responses to organizational leaders[54]. Emotional
intelligence, the ability to understand and manage moods and emotions in the self and
others, contributes to effective leadership in organizations[53]. Leadership is about being

[edit] Environmental leadership theory

The Environmental leadership model (Carmazzi) describes leadership from a Group

dynamics perspective incorporating group psychology and self awareness to nurture
“Environments” that promote self sustaining group leadership based on personal
emotional gratification from the activities of the group. The Environmental Leader
creates the psychological structure by which employees can find and attain this
gratification through work or activity.

It stems from the idea that each individual has various environments that bring out
different facets from their own Identity, and each facet is driven by emotionally charged
perceptions within each environment… The Environmental Leader creates a platform
through education and awareness where individuals fill each others emotional needs and
become more conscious of when, and how they affect personal and team emotional
gratifications. This is accomplished by knowing why people “react” to their environment
instead of act intelligently.

“Environmental Leadership is not about changing the mindset of the group or individual,
but in the cultivation of an environment that brings out the best and inspires the
individuals in that group. It is not the ability to influence others to do something they are
not committed to, but rather to nurture a culture that motivates and even excites
individuals to do what is required for the benefit of all. It is not carrying others to the
end result, but setting the surrounding for developing qualities in them to so they may
carry each other.” Carmazzi

The role of an Environmental Leader is to instill passion and direction to a group and the
dynamics of that group. This leader implements a psychological support system within a
group that fills the emotional and developmental needs of the group.

[edit] Leadership styles

Leadership styles refer to a leader’s behaviour. It is the result of the philosophy,
personality and experience of the leader.

[edit] Kurt Lewin's Leadership styles

Kurt Lewin and colleagues identified different styles of leadership [55]:

• Dictator
• Autocratic
• Participative
• Laissez Faire

[edit] Dictator Leaders

A leader who uses fear and threats to get the jobs done. As similar with a leader who uses
an autocratic style of leadership, this style of leader also makes all the decisions.

[edit] Autocratic or Authoritarian Leaders

Under the autocratic leadership styles, all decision-making powers are centralized in the
leader as shown such leaders are dictators.

They do not entertain any suggestions or initiative from subordinates. The autocratic
management has been successful as it provides strong motivation to the manager. It
permits quick decision-making as only one person decides for the whole group, and keeps
it to themselves until they feel it is needed by the rest of the group. An autocratic leader
does not trust anybody.

[edit] Participative or Democratic Leaders

The democratic leadership style favors decision-making by the group as shown, such as
leader gives instruction after consulting the group.

He can win the cooperation of his group and can motivate them effectively and
positively. The decisions of the democratic leader are not unilateral as with the autocrat
because they arise from consultation with the group members and participation by them.

[edit] Laissez Faire or Free Rein Leaders

A free rein leader does not lead, but leaves the group entirely to itself as shown; such a
leader allows maximum freedom to subordinates.

They are given a freehand in deciding their own policies and methods. Free rein
leadership style is considered better than the authoritarian style. But it is not as effective
as the democratic style.[citation needed]

[edit] Leadership performance

Main article: Leadership Performance

In the past, some researchers have argued that the actual influence of leaders on
organizational outcomes is overrated and romanticized as a result of biased attributions
about leaders (Meindl & Ehrlich, 1987). Despite these assertions however, it is largely
recognized and accepted by practitioners and researchers that leadership is important, and
research supports the notion that leaders do contribute to key organizational outcomes
(Day & Lord, 1988; Kaiser, Hogan, & Craig, 2008). In order to facilitate successful
performance it is important to understand and accurately measure leadership

Job performance generally refers to behavior that is expected to contribute to

organizational success (Campbell, 1990). Campbell identified a number of specific types
of performance dimensions; leadership was one of the dimensions that he identified.
There is no consistent, overall definition of leadership performance (Yukl, 2006). Many
distinct conceptualizations are often lumped together under the umbrella of leadership
performance, including outcomes such as leader effectiveness, leader advancement, and
leader emergence (Kaiser et al., 2008). For instance, leadership performance may be used
to refer to the career success of the individual leader, performance of the group or
organization, or even leader emergence. Each of these measures can be considered
conceptually distinct. While these aspects may be related, they are different outcomes and
their inclusion should depend on the applied/research focus.

[edit] Contexts of leadership

[edit] Leadership in organizations
An organization that is established as an instrument or means for achieving defined
objectives has been referred to as a formal organization. Its design specifies how goals
are subdivided and reflected in subdivisions of the organization. Divisions, departments,
sections, positions, jobs, and tasks make up this work structure. Thus, the formal
organization is expected to behave impersonally in regard to relationships with clients or
with its members. According to Weber's definition, entry and subsequent advancement is
by merit or seniority. Each employee receives a salary and enjoys a degree of tenure that
safeguards him from the arbitrary influence of superiors or of powerful clients. The
higher his position in the hierarchy, the greater his presumed expertise in adjudicating
problems that may arise in the course of the work carried out at lower levels of the
organization. It is this bureaucratic structure that forms the basis for the appointment of
heads or chiefs of administrative subdivisions in the organization and endows them with
the authority attached to their position.[56]

In contrast to the appointed head or chief of an administrative unit, a leader emerges

within the context of the informal organization that underlies the formal structure. The
informal organization expresses the personal objectives and goals of the individual
membership. Their objectives and goals may or may not coincide with those of the
formal organization. The informal organization represents an extension of the social
structures that generally characterize human life — the spontaneous emergence of groups
and organizations as ends in themselves.

In prehistoric times, man was preoccupied with his personal security, maintenance,
protection, and survival. Now man spends a major portion of his waking hours working
for organizations. His need to identify with a community that provides security,
protection, maintenance, and a feeling of belonging continues unchanged from prehistoric
times. This need is met by the informal organization and its emergent, or unofficial,

Leaders emerge from within the structure of the informal organization. Their personal
qualities, the demands of the situation, or a combination of these and other factors attract
followers who accept their leadership within one or several overlay structures. Instead of
the authority of position held by an appointed head or chief, the emergent leader wields
influence or power. Influence is the ability of a person to gain co-operation from others
by means of persuasion or control over rewards. Power is a stronger form of influence
because it reflects a person's ability to enforce action through the control of a means of

A leader is a person who influences a group of people towards a specific result. It is not
dependent on title or formal authority. (elevos, paraphrased from Leaders, Bennis, and
Leadership Presence, Halpern & Lubar). Leaders are recognized by their capacity for
caring for others, clear communication, and a commitment to persist.[58] An individual
who is appointed to a managerial position has the right to command and enforce
obedience by virtue of the authority of his position. However, he must possess adequate
personal attributes to match his authority, because authority is only potentially available
to him. In the absence of sufficient personal competence, a manager may be confronted
by an emergent leader who can challenge his role in the organization and reduce it to that
of a figurehead. However, only authority of position has the backing of formal sanctions.
It follows that whoever wields personal influence and power can legitimize this only by
gaining a formal position in the hierarchy, with commensurate authority.[57] Leadership
can be defined as one's ability to get others to willingly follow. Every organization needs
leaders at every level.[59]

[edit] Leadership versus management

Over the years the philosophical terminology of "management" and "leadership" have, in
the organisational context, been used both as synonyms and with clearly differentiated
meanings. Debate is fairly common about whether the use of these terms should be
restricted, and generally reflects an awareness of the distinction made by Burns (1978)
between "transactional" leadership (characterised by eg emphasis on procedures,
contingent reward, management by exception) and "transformational" leadership
(characterised by eg charisma, personal relationships, creativity). That those two
adjectives are in fact used equally well with the noun "management" as with the noun
"leadership" indicates that there is such a messy overlap between the two in academic
practice that attempts to pontificate about their differences are largely a waste of time.

[edit] Leadership by a group

This subsection does not cite any references or sources.

Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may
be challenged and removed. (September 2009)

In contrast to individual leadership, some organizations have adopted group leadership.

In this situation, more than one person provides direction to the group as a whole. Some
organizations have taken this approach in hopes of increasing creativity, reducing costs,
or downsizing. Others may see the traditional leadership of a boss as costing too much in
team performance. In some situations, the maintenance of the boss becomes too
expensive - either by draining the resources of the group as a whole, or by impeding the
creativity within the team, even unintentionally.[citation needed]

A common example of group leadership involves cross-functional teams. A team of

people with diverse skills and from all parts of an organization assembles to lead a
project. A team structure can involve sharing power equally on all issues, but more
commonly uses rotating leadership. The team member(s) best able to handle any given
phase of the project become(s) the temporary leader(s). Additionally, as each team
member has the opportunity to experience the elevated level of empowerment, it
energizes staff and feeds the cycle of success.[60]

Leaders who demonstrate persistence, tenacity, determination and synergistic

communication skills will bring out the same qualities in their groups. Good leaders use
their own inner mentors to energize their team and organizations and lead a team to
achieve success.[61]
According to the National School Boards Association (USA) [62]

These Group Leadership or Leadership Teams have specific characteristics:

Characteristics of a Team

• There must be an awareness of unity on the part of all its members.

• There must be interpersonal relationship. Members must have a chance to
contribute, learn from and work with others.
• The member must have the ability to act together toward a common goal.

Ten characteristics of well-functioning teams:

• Purpose: Members proudly share a sense of why the team exists and are invested
in accomplishing its mission and goals.
• Priorities: Members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and by when to
achieve team goals.
• Roles: Members know their roles in getting tasks done and when to allow a more
skillful member to do a certain task.
• Decisions: Authority and decision-making lines are clearly understood.
• Conflict: Conflict is dealt with openly and is considered important to decision-
making and personal growth.
• Personal traits: members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well
• Norms: Group norms for working together are set and seen as standards for every
one in the groups.
• Effectiveness: Members find team meetings efficient and productive and look
forward to this time together.
• Success: Members know clearly when the team has met with success and share in
this equally and proudly.
• Training: Opportunities for feedback and updating skills are provided and taken
advantage of by team members.

[edit] Leadership among primates

Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, in Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of
Human Violence present evidence that only humans and chimpanzees, among all the
animals living on earth, share a similar tendency for a cluster of behaviors: violence,
territoriality, and competition for uniting behind the one chief male of the land.[63] This
position is contentious. Many animals beyond apes are territorial, compete, exhibit
violence, and have a social structure controlled by a dominant male (lions, wolves, etc.),
suggesting Wrangham and Peterson's evidence is not empirical. However, we must
examine other species as well, including elephants (which are undoubtedly matriarchal
and follow an alpha female), meerkats (who are likewise matriarchal), and many others.
It would be beneficial, to examine that most accounts of leadership over the past few
millennia (since the creation of Christian religions) are through the perspective of a
patriarchal society, founded on Christian literature. If one looks before these times, it is
noticed that Pagan and Earth-based tribes in fact had female leaders. It is important also
to note that the peculiarities of one tribe cannot necessarily be ascribed to another, as
even our modern-day customs differ. The current day patrilineal custom is only a recent
invention in human history and our original method of familial practices were matrilineal
(Dr. Christopher Shelley and Bianca Rus, UBC). The fundamental assumption that has
been built into 90% of the world's countries is that patriarchy is the 'natural' biological
predisposition of homo sapiens. Unfortunately, this belief has led to the widespread
oppression of women in all of those countries, but in varying degrees. (Whole Earth
Review, Winter, 1995 by Thomas Laird, Michael Victor). The Iroquoian First Nations
tribes are an example of a matrilineal tribe, along with Mayan tribes, and also the society
of Meghalaya, India. (Laird and Victor, ).

By comparison, bonobos, the second-closest species-relatives of man, do not unite behind

the chief male of the land. The bonobos show deference to an alpha or top-ranking female
that, with the support of her coalition of other females, can prove as strong as the
strongest male in the land. Thus, if leadership amounts to getting the greatest number of
followers, then among the bonobos, a female almost always exerts the strongest and most
effective leadership. However, not all scientists agree on the allegedly "peaceful" nature
of the bonobo or its reputation as a "hippie chimp".[1]

[edit] Historical views on leadership

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Sanskrit literature identifies ten types of leaders. Defining characteristics of the ten types
of leaders are explained with examples from history and mythology.[64]

Aristocratic thinkers have postulated that leadership depends on one's blue blood or
genes: monarchy takes an extreme view of the same idea, and may prop up its assertions
against the claims of mere aristocrats by invoking divine sanction: see the divine right of
kings. Contrariwise, more democratically-inclined theorists have pointed to examples of
meritocratic leaders, such as the Napoleonic marshals profiting from careers open to

In the autocratic/paternalistic strain of thought, traditionalists recall the role of leadership

of the Roman pater familias. Feminist thinking, on the other hand, may object to such
models as patriarchal and posit against them emotionally-attuned, responsive, and
consensual empathetic guidance, which is sometimes associated with matriarchies.
Comparable to the Roman tradition, the views of Confucianism on "right living" relate
very much to the ideal of the (male) scholar-leader and his benevolent rule, buttressed by
a tradition of filial piety.

Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness,

courage, and discipline . . . Reliance on intelligence alone results in
rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness.
Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage
results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result
in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its
function, then one can be a leader. — Sun Tzu[65]

In the 19th century, the elaboration of anarchist thought called the whole concept of
leadership into question. (Note that the Oxford English Dictionary traces the word
"leadership" in English only as far back as the 19th century.) One response to this denial
of élitism came with Leninism, which demanded an élite group of disciplined cadres to
act as the vanguard of a socialist revolution, bringing into existence the dictatorship of
the proletariat.

Other historical views of leadership have addressed the seeming contrasts between
secular and religious leadership. The doctrines of Caesaro-papism have recurred and had
their detractors over several centuries. Christian thinking on leadership has often
emphasized stewardship of divinely-provided resources - human and material - and their
deployment in accordance with a Divine plan. Compare servant leadership.

For a more general take on leadership in politics, compare the concept of the statesman.

[edit] Action Oriented Team Leadership Skills

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be challenged and removed. (September 2009)

This is a unique approach to team leadership that is aimed at action oriented

environments where effective functional leadership is required to achieve critical or
reactive tasks by small teams deployed into the field. In other words leadership of small
groups often created to respond to a situation or critical incident.

In most cases these teams are tasked to operate in remote and changeable environments
with limited support or backup (action environments). Leadership of people in these
environments requires a different set of skills to that of front line management. These
leaders must effectively operate remotely and negotiate both the needs of the individual,
team and task within a changeable environment. This has been termed Action Oriented
Leadership. Some example action oriented leadership is demonstrated in the following
ways: extinguishing a rural fire, locating a missing person, leading a team on an outdoor
expedition or rescuing a person from a potentially hazardous environment.
[edit] Titles emphasizing authority
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At certain stages in their development, the hierarchies of social ranks implied different
degrees or ranks of leadership in society. Thus a knight led fewer men in general than did
a duke; a baronet might in theory control less land than an earl. See peerage for a
systematization of this hierarchy, and order of precedence for links to various systems.

In the course of the 18th and 20th centuries, several political operators took non-
traditional paths to become dominant in their societies. They or their systems often
expressed a belief in strong individual leadership, but existing titles and labels ("King",
"Emperor", "President" and so on) often seemed inappropriate, insufficient or downright
inaccurate in some circumstances. The formal or informal titles or descriptions they or
their flunkies employ express and foster a general veneration for leadership of the
inspired and autocratic variety. The definite article when used as part of the title (in
languages which use definite articles) emphasizes the existence of a sole "true" leader.

[edit] Critical Thought on the concept of leadership

Noam Chomsky[66] and others[67] have brought critical thinking to the very concept of
leadership and analyzed the processes whereby people abrogate their responsibility to
think and will actions for themselves. While the conventional view of leadership is rather
satisfying to people who "want to be told what to do", one should question why they are
being subjected to a will or intellect other than their own if the leader is not a Subject
Matter Expert (SME).

The fundamentally anti-democratic nature of the leadership principle is challenged by the

introduction of concepts such as autogestion, employeeship, common civic virtue, etc,
which stress individual responsibility and/or group authority in the work place and
elsewhere by focusing on the skills and attitudes that a person needs in general rather
than separating out leadership as the basis of a special class of individuals.

Similarly various historical calamities are attributed to a misplaced reliance on the

principle of leadership.

Leadership Qualities
Leadership is nothing but the quality which makes a person stands out
different from other ordinary employees. It is associated with such a person
who has aggressiveness in speech and action, love for the employees, and
who can handle pressure under different circumstances and a person who is
always ready to fight for the rights of employee. A leader is useless without
followers. It is the followers who make a person as a leader and if required
overthrow him.

Leaders play a critical role during change implementation, the period

from the announcement of change through the installation of the
change. During this middle period the organization is the most
unstable, characterized by confusion, fear, loss of direction, reduced
productivity, and lack of clarity about direction and mandate. It can be
a period of emotionalism, with employees grieving for what is lost,
and initially unable to look to the future.

In addition to forecast and amiability, the characteristics that leader

must have are ability to recognize employees' talents, the know-how
to make teams work and an open mind.

Leadership does vary to some extent as per the positions i.e. it may
be slight different for manager and different for a union leader but the
basic qualities of leadership does not change.

1. Good communication skill

Communication is the key to be a great leader. The reason for this is
simple: if he possesses the other nine leadership qualities but if he
fails to communicate well, he will never be great leader.

What he can do is communicate with others in the organization about

what IT can do to move the company forward. In other words, good
communication is the key for developing good business relationships.
If he can’t establish a good business working relationship, he is not
going to be that leader, that team player. He will not be able to
communicate how IT can add long-term value to the company. The
modern leaders must therefore be equipped with good
communication skill and use new ways to do effective

2. Honesty
The most valuable asset of a leader is honesty. He must be honest
with both his employees and the management committee. Another
part of his features is integrity. Once a leader compromises his or her
integrity, it is lost. That is perhaps the reason integrity is considered
the most admirable trait. The leaders therefore must keep it "above
all else."

3. Visionary outlook
Leadership qualities are different for different position. For a CIO he
must be thinking for stabilizing the current business and always
looking for future scope of expansion. He has to be able to look
beyond where we are today, know where the business is going, and
be able to use that vision to move the company forward. Being able
to do this is a rare skill indeed.

4. Selecting a good team

A good CIO although he possesses sound technical skills he assures
that the team he selects is efficient enough to back up any skill he
lacks. Choosing the best people for such team is a skill. A CIO after
all is a human being and does not have answer for everything. But by
working together he creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and
respect; the team then always find the best solution.

5.Action speaks louder than words

Managers must be able to put aside their concerns to listen to (and
appear to listen to) those around them. As a result, they come know
what is going on, and know what is both said, and said between the
lines. They have the knack of appearing to know what people need
even if those needs are not expressed directly. However, knowing
what is going on, and identifying the needs of those around them is
not sufficient. The responsive manager also acts upon that
knowledge, attempting to help fulfill the needs of employees,
superiors, etc. Responsive managers wield influence to solve
problems for those around them, often before even being asked.

6. Ability to motivate people around

A good leader must always keep motivating his team mates for good
work and should maintain healthy environment. He must give first
priority to safety of workers and see that they are not exploited by

7. Consistency
Leadership effectiveness is impossible without consistency. Every
leader has an approach that is unique to them. Don't change your
personal style radically after all; it got you in a leadership position.
Modify the rough spots but take care not to confound your staff by
displaying inconsistency. Your expectations, though subject to
modification based on ever-changing business needs, should remain
as constant as possible. The business world is confusing enough
without you adding unwelcome surprises into the mix. Keep things
simple and consistent.

8. Ability to stand against critics

As the success rate increases your critics multiply and become
louder. Come to peace with the fact that you will always have a camp
of people who critique every decision you make. They are generally
the ones who are excellent problem-identifiers rather than problem-
solvers. Develop your skills of repelling such critics so that they do
not diminish your confidence or enthusiasm.

It takes focus and confidence not to be adversely affected by

criticism. Strong leaders learn the art of listening to critics, but
ultimately making decisions for the good of the department, not to
simply please the critics. The following quote sums it up nicely:
"Some of the most talented people are terrible leaders because they
have a crippling need to be loved by everyone." As rightly stated by
James Schorr.

The Top 10 Leadership Qualities

By David Hakala on March 19, 2008

Leadership can be defined as one's ability to get others to willingly follow. Every
organization needs leaders at every level. Leaders can be found and nurtured if you look
for the following character traits.
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A leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on
what success looks like and how to achieve it. But it’s not enough to have a vision;
leaders must also share it and act upon it. Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of
General Electric Co., said, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision,
passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion."

A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in terms that cause followers to
buy into it. He or she must communicate clearly and passionately, as passion is

A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly,
as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. Action is the
mark of a leader. A leader does not suffer “analysis paralysis” but is always doing
something in pursuit of the vision, inspiring others to do the same.

Integrity is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person of integrity is
the same on the outside and on the inside. Such an individual can be trusted because he or
she never veers from inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so. A leader
must have the trust of followers and therefore must display integrity.

Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and an absence of

tantrums and harsh outbursts are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centered in
integrity will be more approachable by followers.

Dedication means spending whatever time or energy is necessary to accomplish the task
at hand. A leader inspires dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the
next step toward the vision. By setting an excellent example, leaders can show followers
that there are no nine-to-five jobs on the team, only opportunities to achieve something

Magnanimity means giving credit where it is due. A magnanimous leader ensures that
credit for successes is spread as widely as possible throughout the company. Conversely,
a good leader takes personal responsibility for failures. This sort of reverse magnanimity
helps other people feel good about themselves and draws the team closer together. To
spread the fame and take the blame is a hallmark of effective leadership.

Leaders with humility recognize that they are no better or worse than other members of
the team. A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone.
Leaders with humility also understand that their status does not make them a god.
Mahatma Gandhi is a role model for Indian leaders, and he pursued a “follower-centric”
leadership role.
Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they do not conform to the
usual way of thinking. Good leaders are able to suspend judgment while listening to
others’ ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things that someone else thought of.
Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps
the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its vision.

Creativity is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box that constrains
solutions. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and
thus lead followers in new directions. The most important question that a leader can ask
is, “What if … ?” Possibly the worst thing a leader can say is, “I know this is a dumb
question ... ”

Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the
facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she must avoid leaping to
conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated
fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.

Assertiveness is not the same as aggressiveness. Rather, it is the ability to clearly state
what one expects so that there will be no misunderstandings. A leader must be assertive
to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly
understand what followers expect from their leader.

Many leaders have difficulty striking the right amount of assertiveness, according to a
study in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
published by the APA (American Psychological Association). It seems that being
underassertive or overassertive may be the most common weakness among aspiring

A sense of humor is vital to relieve tension and boredom, as well as to defuse hostility.
Effective leaders know how to use humor to energize followers. Humor is a form of
power that provides some control over the work environment. And simply put, humor
fosters good camaraderie.

Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to
become a leader. Anyone can cultivate the proper leadership traits.