Study notes

What is leadership?

There are many ways of looking at leadership and interpretations about what it means. Leadership means different things to different people.

Leadership is often taken to represent:

  • Getting others to follow
  • The use of authority in decision-making
  • A personal characteristic
  • An ability to achieve effective performance in others

A general interpretation of leadership (source: Mullins) would be:

A relationship through which one person influences the behaviour or actions of other people

The above definition is important, because it shows that any consideration of what makes for effective leadership cannot be done in isolation from concepts such as teamwork, organisational structure and motivation.

The traditional view sees leadership as about:

  • Command & Control
  • Decision-making

However, a more modern view has leadership having a wider role, including

  • Inspiration
  • Creating a vision
  • Building effective teams

Leadership has become particularly important in modern business as a result of:

Changing organisational structures Flatter structures require greater delegation Greater use of teamwork + focus on quality assurance Coaching, support & empowerment
Rapid environmental change Change as a constant feature of business life Soft skills of leadership & management increasingly important

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