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The concept of leadership and its application is nothing new. It can be dated back to the oldest human civilizations, where a leader guided a small group of people or clan, to survive the hostile wilderness. Several thousands of years later, the leadership still persists, although in a completely different setting, but it still holds its core essence, where a group of people is led and guided by an individual. Modern day leadership can be found in almost every organization and institution, including military, politics, government and business firms, among others. As student of business management it is imperative for you to learn about the basic concepts of leadership, and its implications to organizational performance, so that you can ace your college leadership essay.

This article covers the definition of leadership and various theories associated with it. Let us first begin with the definition. Over the years, several different definitions of leadership have been formed, while none of them are completely wrong or out of place, but they may not paint the full picture.

What is Leadership?

According to Peter Drucker, a leader is someone who has followers. Warren Bennis suggested that leadership can be considered as the capacity to translate vision into reality. Bill Gates opined that leaders are those who can empower others. John Maxwell said that leadership is all about influence. Even though each of these statements are correct to some extent, but they are not complete and you definitely cannotuse them in your college paper. The most comprehensive and holistic definition of leadership is as follows:

Leadership is the process by which an individual (a leader), influences others (followers) and maximizes their effort to commit towards the achievement of a shared goal.

There are certain key elements that needs to be addressed in this definition. First of all, the leadership is a process of social influence, to drive action. It necessarily involves at least two parties, such as the leader and the follower(s). The purpose of leadership is to achieve a common or shared goal. Finally, leadership helps in achievement of the said goal by maximizing the effort of the followers.

The process of leadership adopted by a leader, allows him or herto influence a group of individuals to commit themselves in achieving a shared goal. A leader motivates the followers and guides them with their knowledge and expertise, so that their effort and performance is maximized, leading to better achievement of the goal. The relationship between a leader and the followers are mutually dependent in nature. The leaders need the followers to achieve the desired goal, and the followers need the guidance and support of the leader to achieve the said goal.

From the perspective of a business organization, the definition of leadership can be slightly adjusted into the following:

Leadership is the process by which a leader influences and motivates the employees and maximizes their effort to commit towards the achievement of the shared organizational goal.

In this context, it can be stated that the purpose of the leader is to achieve the organizational goals by leveraging the available human resources. The leader influences the employees so that they are motivated to work harder and perform better at their job roles, which consequently leads to achievement of the desired goals. It should be noted that leaders and the employees, both have the same shared goal, which is organizational success though meeting the interests of the stakeholders.

Now that you understand the definition and the fundamentals of leadership, let us now dig deeper to its related theories so that you can ace any leadership essay topics for your assignment.

Leadership Theories

Leadership has been a subject of numerous studies, which has resulted in various theories over the years. Some of the most popular ones are discussed here.

The Great Man Theory: The Great Man theory suggests that some people are born to lead. It is based on the assumption that leaders are born with innate qualities and skills, which are lacking in others. This theory dismisses the idea that people cannot learn to become leaders and that external factors have nothing to do with development of leadership skills. Due to lack of empirical proof, this idea is dismissed by modern scholars.

Trait Theory: The trait theory suggests that leaders possess certain unique personality traits, which are not usually found in non-leaders. This theory suggests that individuals with certain traits are more suitable to become leaders, than others who do not. Certain traits like self-confidence, courage, extroversion, etc. can be linked to great leaders. These traits have been found to closely fit with the leadership roles and responsibilities.

Behavioral Theory: According to behavioral theory, the surrounding environment of an individual has a major role to play in shaping him into a suitable leader. This theory relies on the concept of personal conditioning, which indicates an individual is likely to act in a certain way as a result of environmental reaction to one’s behavior. This is exactly opposite to the Great Man theory, which proposed that leaders only possess in-born skills and abilities.

Leadership Styles

It is important to understand that all leaders may have almost identical responsibilities to meet shared organizational goals by influencing and motivating the followers, but they all may adopt different leadership styles. Leadership styles determine the way in which a leader choose to use the available workforce to meet the desired goal. Based on one’s approach a leadership style can be:

  • Autocratic
  • Democratic
  • Laissez-Faire
  • Transformational
  • Transactional
  • Situational Leadership

Leadership is one of the most vital aspects in the field of organizational behavior. As a management student you will be required to prepare a lot of essays and case study on leadership. Therefore, it is essential for you to have a thorough understanding of the concept and theories of leadership, so that you don’t have to ask any one for essay help.

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