Leadership Meaning, Definition, Nature, Components

Table of Contents:-

    • Meaning of Leadership
    • Definition of Leadership
    • Nature of Leadership
    • Components of Leadership




Meaning of Leadership

Leadership is the process of influencing the behaviour of others to work enthusiastically and willingly to achieve predetermined goals. It changes potential into reality. Leadership can also be described as the process of influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. It involves creating an environment which empowers people to achieve self-actualization while completing their work. 

Leadership refers to the qualities the individuals possess, which enable them to inspire and guide other people towards the achievement of goals. It is a social phenomenon that appears in all groups of people regardless of culture, geography or nationality. Leadership plays an important role at all levels of management because, if effective administration is absent in an organization then it’s impossible to achieve the organisational goals and desired results.

Definition of Leadership

According to Hollander, “Leadership is a process of influence between a leader and those who are followers”.

As per Hemphill and Coons, “Leadership is the behaviour of an individual when he is directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal”.

According to Stogdill, “Leadership may be considered as the process (act) of influencing the activities of an organised group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement”.

According to Gary Yukl, “Leadership involves influencing task objectives and strategies, influencing commitment and compliance in task behaviour to achieve these objectives, influencing group maintenance and identification and influencing the culture of an organisation”.

Nature of Leadership

The nature of leadership is as follows:

nature of leadership

1) Process of Influence

Leadership is a process whose essential component is the leader’s influence on group members. A person is said to influence other people when he possesses the ability to persuade others to carry out his wishes and accept his guidance, advice and direction. Successful leaders can influence the behaviour, attitude, and beliefs of their followers.

2) Continuous Process

Leadership is not a one-time influence rather it is a continuous process of influencing subordinates and followers. To be an effective leader, it is important for a manager to continuously improve their skills and knowledge.  This ongoing development is important for a manager to maintain their administration qualities, which enables them to inspire and guide others towards a common goal.

3) Art and Science

Leadership is both a science as well as an art. Effective supervision requires both dimensions. Leadership is considered science as it deals with the observation, analysis and classification of leadership practices which results in a reliable explanation of what makes leaders effective. Leadership is considered an art as it involves developing practical experience in the application of leadership practices and methods resulting from the science of administration. Thus, the art of administration is about the continuous practice of leadership science until one develops intuition.

4) Related to Situation

Leadership is always related to a particular situation at a given point in time and under unique circumstances. That means leadership styles will vary depending on the circumstances.

5) Function of Stimulation

Leadership is the function of motivating people to strive willingly to achieve organisational goals. Leaders are considered successful when they can subordinate the individual interests of the employees to the general interests of the organisation.

6) Rational and Emotional

Leadership includes actions and influences based on reason, logic, inspiration, and passion. Since people are both rational and emotional, leaders can use a combination of both rational techniques and emotional appeals to motivate and guide others.

7) Community of Interests

To foster a strong and cohesive group, a leader must share a common community of interests with their followers. Both leaders and followers have their objectives; therefore, they work in different directions in the absence of a community of interests. This is not advisable. It is the responsibility of the leader to reconcile the different objectives and try to find a balance between individual interests with the organization’s interests.

8) Symbiotic Relationship

Leadership tends to focus almost completely on the leader disregarding the crucial role of followers although however, without the followers, there is no leader. Leadership is a symbiotic or participatory process, where leaders and followers exist in a mutually beneficial relationship contributing to each other’s effectiveness.

9) Common Objectives

Under successful supervision, every person in the organisation feels that his operation, however minor it may be, is vital to the attainment of organisational objectives, It happens when the manager feels the importance of individuals and gives them recognition and tells them about the importance of activities performed by them.

Components of Leadership

Four major components of leadership are as follows:

1) Power

Power is defined as the capacity to exert influence over others. One of the most basic and important skills of a leader is to use power responsibly and effectively.

Leaders in organisations depend on some or all of the five major bases of power, which are given as follows:

i) Coercive Power: The leader can punish an employee. Punishment may range from a mild form, such as suspension, to a more severe one.

ii) Reward Power: It is the power given to managers/leaders that grants administrative control over a range of rewards. The rewards may come in the form of promotion or pay raise.

iii) Legitimate Power: It is the formal authority that derives from a person’s title or position in a group or an organisation.

iv) Expert Power: It is attained by the manager due to their talents, such as skills, knowledge, abilities, or previous experience.

v) Referent Power: It is a power that is gained through association with formal and informal networks both inside and outside the organization.

2) Fundamental Understanding of People

A leader must be able to understand motivation theories, types of motivational forces, as well as the elements of motivation. They must be aware of the nature and strength of human needs to satisfy those needs and achieve desired results.

3) Ability to Inspire

A leader must inspire his subordinates for better performance. The personality of the leader must be such that it can cultivate loyalty, devotion, and a strong desire on the part of the followers to carry out instructions. In such a situation, followers satisfy their own needs while also providing unconditional support to the leader.

4) Influencing the Work Climate

The most important function of a leader is to design and maintain a work environment (work climate) that will help the organization achieve its goals. A good leader must strive to make the work of all employees more productive and satisfactory by understanding their underlying motives, such as status, power, money, pride, etc., and working to fulfil them.

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