Definitions and Characterstics of Leadership - Organisational Behaviour

Katz and Kahn have observed: “In the descriptions of organizations, no word is more often used than leadership, and perhaps no word is used with such varied meanings. The word leadership is sometimes used to indicate that it is an attribute of personality; sometimes it is used as if it was a characteristic of certain positions, and sometimes as an attribute of behaviour.”

Leadership is defined as “the relationship in which one person, influences others to work together willingly on related tasks to attain that which the leader desires.”

Keith Davis defines leadership as “the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor that binds people together and motivates them towards goals.”

“Leadership is that outstanding aspect of management which manifests ability, creativeness, initiative and inventiveness, and which gains confidence, co-operation and willing of the people to work by building employee morale.”

“It is the process by which an executive or a manager imaginatively directs, guides and influences the work of others in choosing and attaining specified goals by mediating between the individual and the Organisation in such a manner that both will obtain the maximum satisfaction.”

“It is an inter-personal influence, exercised in situations and directed, through the communication process, towards the attainment of a specified goal or goals.”

“Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group towards the achievement of a goal in a given situation. The leadership process is a function of the leader, the follower and other situational variables.”

“Leadership is organizationally useful behaviour by one member of an Organisation family toward another member or members of that same organizational family.”

“Leadership is one form of dominance, in which the followers more or less willingly accept direction and control by another person.”

Leadership is an influence process; the dynamics of which are a function of the personal characteristics of the leader and followers, and of the nature of the specific situations. The importance of leadership being what it is, researchers were interested in knowing what makes a leader and that too what makes a good leader.

The phrenological, graphological and demographic studies suffered from the lack of scientific rigor and cannot be given any credence. They are, at best, guesses. The academic community in various universities got interested in the studies of leadership in late 1930s.


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