Leadership and Leadership Standards
The world is comprised of a variety of different cultures, each of these has different views of leadership. The diversity in views also extends to the personal level of thinking. When asked the meaning of leadership, the majority of people are likely to respond differently. In essence, the following is a brief recap of the different factors which are involved in leadership, followed by a final conceptualization of the subject from a personal perspective.
The Three Concepts of Leadership
As already briefly explained above, people are likely to respond differently when asked the meaning of leadership as per their opinions. As such, the responses may be based on three major concepts; these are leadership traits, assigned leadership, and emergent leadership. To put this into context, a person may define leadership as the ability to rule passed down from one generation to another (Adubato, 2016). This response falls under the assigned leadership concept; another person may define a leader as a character with exceptional leadership traits who stands out among the rest in a specified scenario (Michael & Lochirie, 2009). This definition falls under leadership trait concept. Complete understanding of what it means to become a leader demands a proper knowledge of these three concepts.
A trait, in broad terms, refers to a particular characteristic, leadership traits, therefore, refer to the exceptional features that a leader is expected to show at all times. Under this argument, traits are the only factors which define a leader (Day, 2014). A person with exceptional leadership skills is far more likely to lead the group which is under him/her well. Examples of proper leadership traits include Dominance, Enthusiasm, Conscientiousness, Self-mindedness, assurance and so on. A typical leader should be able to weigh the options that present themselves on the table and hence end up choosing the one that offers the best benefits and the least risks in the event of the circumstances. Leadership traits should be exceptional, and one should not lose any of them down the road. The loss of proper leadership qualities is the main reason as to why some government officials are elected during one election, and they fail to secure the seat again during the next ones (Day, 2014). The loss of essential leadership traits hence can make a person to be stripped of a leadership based position. Under this argument, the traits are the most important features of being a leader. Loss of proper leadership traits can cause one to lose the designated leadership role, position or title.
The second concept of leadership is that of assigned leadership, As the name suggests, appointed leadership refers to a leadership position which is given out to someone in a particular situation. Assigned leadership is based on a number of factors. As a result, the leader in question may be given the title fairly or in a biased manner (Michael & Lochirie, 2009). A good example is when the head of department in an organization resigns or is transferred, the manager may give the role to his next of kin or to a close friend. This is despite the fact that the chosen person might lack the most appropriate experience or expertise needed. Fair or unbiased forms of assigned leadership refer to the instance where the person assigned fits the requirements substantially and hence he or she is the best candidate for the position. It is important to note that appointed leadership may choose to take a person’s trait into account or not, as already explained above, it depends on a large number of factors. This, in turn, may lead to fair or unfair allocation of the leadership role. In conclusion, the assigned leadership concept dictates that a leader may be chosen on the basis of a significant number of factors, the choice may hence be biased or unbiased. The traits may or may not influence the choice.
Emergent leadership is the most peculiar of the three, according to it, a leader is not selected or appointed. The leadership role develops over time as a result of interactions of the group in various occasions (Schein, 2010). An emergent leader, in most of the cases, is not officially recognized as the head of a particular group. A good example is a youth group which deals with community work. Out of the collection, there is bound to be a person who performs exceptionally well; such a person may go out of their way to inform the group on important updates relating to their activities and even talk with sponsors on the group’s behalf (Ambrose, 2003). Such an outstanding person becomes the presumed leader due to his apparent capabilities and noble actions toward the group. Emergent leadership is mostly associated with proper leadership traits, not just anyone can emerge to be a leader, they have to show specific characteristics.
The above three have shown the major disparities which exist between various types of ways which someone becomes a leader. It is, however, important to note that the definition of leadership remains subjective by all standards, this implies that a person may still have views which differ from the above three concepts. A person may define leadership as something associated with the natural forces of nature. A typical example is the saying that “leaders are born” or that “leaders are chosen from the highest,” and many others.
In light of all of the above factors, I believe that a leader is much more than just an individual who is appointed or has proper leadership skills. A leader is a mentor, he or she should aim to teach his or her subjects to be less dependent on him or her and learn to be dependent on themselves in the process. The insight provided above explains the various factors which make one a leader. It is indeed true that factors such as appointment, emergence and trait can make someone a leader. My own personal conceptualization of a leader is a person who teaches the others to be more dependent on themselves and not the leader in question. By teaching these essential ways of living, more leaders are likely to emerge with these skills; the world will eventually consist of self-governing individuals with the appropriate skills needed to drive their daily lives. A leader who teaches people to depend on his or her counsel and leadership can be likened to a dictator who does not wish to relinquish power or to have the subjects live by their own terms.
There are a lot of things which make someone a leader. Such include, traits appointment or even emergence. What matters the most, however, is how the leader executes his or her role. Teaching the subjects independence is my definition of real leadership.
Adubato, S. (2016). Lessons in leadership. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
Ambrose, D. (2003). Leadership: the journey inward. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt.
Day, D. (2014). The Oxford handbook of leadership and organizations. New York: Oxford University Press.
Michael, B. & Lochrie, R. (2009). Integrity: the core of leadership. Mustang, Okla: Tate Publishing & Enterprises.
Schein, E. (2010). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass