Lets start with a modern definition of leadership from Northouse (2007) a professor from West Michigan University
"Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal."
Northouse calls leadership a process because both the leaders and "followers" can be the changed and influenced by this process.
There has been a bit of a battle between 2 schools of thought on the definition of leadership the so called Trait and Process Theory of leadership.
Trait theories talk about how individual characteristics and traits impact on people's abilities to lead. The trait theory is more of the leaders are born and not made camp. Process theory is leaders undertake this process by applying their knowledge and skills. By definition leaders can learn new knowledge and skills and therefore leaders can be made.
So how to become a leader
Well Bass (2008) belives there are 3 main ways that leaders are made
Why do People Choose to Follow a Leader?
If we want to understand the definition of leadership we should consider the perspectives of the followers.
I believe that people want to be led by someone they trust and respect who can articulate a clear compelling direction. How do people make this call well it is by observing the "leader" and seeing what they do as compared with what they say. I think people check for integrity, team orientation or self-serving characterisitics.
I think people also judge leaders by the quality of their interactions with others namely rapport and trust building and an empathy.
An Australian consultancy called Insight have developed a 4 pillars model as a definition of leadership based on research of engagement in organizations. The 4 pillars were: Clarity, empathy, engagement and learning.
Check out more on leadership here
Probably the definitive modern model of leadership was developed by
(Kouzes & Posner, 1987). They develop 5 leadership attributes common
to successful leaders.
Back to leadership plan