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Meaning of Leadership in People's Life

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Leadership is like Love arduous to define explicitly but is globally craved. Although it is difficult, there should be a satisfactory definition of leadership. In business, politics, sports, countless other human activities the term leadership is widely used. Organizations’ focus nowadays, is to have a great leader. Organizations are spending millions of money in leadership and management all over the world to develop quality leaders, but all those efforts are meaningless if anyone could not define leadership.

Leadership makes use of different styles and methods, yet it concentrates on the main three processes (Bennis 1985); the first is to establish direction, which is to create a vision that must contain one’s ambitions and wishes of all the people involved. The second function is aligning the people in a similar direction; this involves having a commitment from every team member, and the last is to inspire and motivate to help the members overcome the obstacles. Leadership does not define how the target will be achieved or what order to begin or finish. Instead of this, it helps build energy and eagerness in people to unleash their creativity and passion (Dimov, 2004). The importance of leadership and leaders has worldwide recognition, but the question is still what it means. Almost four decades ago, (Stogdill, 1974) proclaimed that “almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept.”

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Leadership, for many centuries, has been appealing. Earlier it was seen as a personal quality. In the 19th century, Carlyle invented the “great man” theory; he expressed leaders as exceptional heroes (Carlyle, 1841/2011). Carlyle was praised as he initiated the phase of theories; before him, several people like Plato, Machiavelli, Lao-tzu thought that leaders were born and not made. Spencer stated that great men were the creations of their backgrounds or the context, predicting the current leadership debate (Spencer, 1873/2013). Stogdill (1950), after World War II, defined leadership as “the process(act) of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement.” Therefore, this was the first time that research turned away from the traits towards the behavior. Later in the 1990s, thinkers started giving importance to followers in the process of leadership. Bass (1990) stated that “leadership is an interactive process between two or more members of a group that involves a structuring or restructuring of the situation and the perceptions and expectations of members…Leadership occurs when one group member modifies the motivation or competencies of others in the group. Any member of the group can exhibit some amount of leadership…”. He wanted to say that leadership was a process of interaction that can be affected by anyone involved.

As many thinkers have preferred not defining leadership, Kellerman expressed her views on leadership as an equilateral triangle. The leader, the followers, and the context is the three sides of the triangle (Volckmann, 2012). She agrees with Bass (1990) that the role of followers is equally crucial as a leader, but also stated that context is also precious. Kellerman indicated that leadership is not the same in different countries, and it will not be the same after the next 5-10 years. Kellerman (2004) defined leadership as: “Scholars should remind us that leadership is not a moral concept. Leaders are like the rest of us: trustworthy and deceitful, cowardly and brave, greedy, and generous. To assume that all leaders are good people is to be willfully blind to the reality of the human condition, and it severely limits our scope for becoming more effective at leadership.”

Let us see a modern definition of Leadership (Silva. A., 2016): “Leadership is the process of interactive influence that occurs when in a given context some people accept someone as their leader to achieve common goals.” It entails that Leadership is not only a personal quality but also a process that is identified by influence linking both the leader and the followers as suggested by Bass (1990) and takes place in a given context. The process must have people, followers who accept someone as their leader. The main aim of the leadership process, as stated by Stogdill (1950), is achieving the shared goals between the leader and followers.

Hence, from the above definition, we can understand what leadership is, but we still cannot be firm about good or bad leadership. The Outcome of the process determines whether the leadership is good or bad. However, naturally, people think differently, and therefore contrasting people will have an unlike opinion about the consequences. To conclude, leadership is nothing but an evolving concept.  

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