Added March 26, 2013.
The paradoxical issue of leadership has been such long subject of speculation and much has been focused on the determinants s of leadership effectiveness. Much of the leadership has been centered on the different concept of leadership, different ways of evaluating its effectiveness, and different approaches for studying leadership and how it forges and affects the effectiveness and the efficiency of a particular organization.
According to The Webster Dictionary, a leader is defined as a person who by force of example, talents or qualities of leadership plays a directing role, wields commanding influence, or has a following in any sphere of activity or thought. It defines leadership as that ingredient of personality that causes people to follow. Leadership is also conveniently defined as the ability to get things done through others, the process by which a leader exerts influence over others to move towards a vision. Leadership is distinguished from management, in that leadership implies a vision, or some sense of a higher and purpose beyond the day to day task of managing the work production of an organization or agency.
According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2000), efficiency is defined as “the quality of doing well with no waste of time or money” meanwhile effective is defined as “producing the intended result or a successful result”. As such, Leadership is an act of securing, attaining results for the organization and with the optimum utilization of its resources. This entails very imperative and a high quality of traits or characteristics that leaders should possess that contribute to the effectiveness and efficiency of the particular organization.
Leadership can also be defined as the process of influencing people to direct their efforts toward the attainment of some particular goal or goals (Hodgetts and Kuratko, 1986).
Invariably in a similar note, Leadership is defined as process used by the individual to influence group of members toward the achievement of group goals, where the group members view the influence as legitimate (Howell, and Costley, 2001).
According to Howell and Costley, careful studies in organizations show that executive leadership can account for 45 percent of an organization’s performance. Leadership also tends to make a difference in follower’s satisfaction and performance and persevere the effectiveness and the efficiency of the organization.
The core characteristics of the definition of the above stated leadership are, firstly, leadership is a process or a reasonable systematic and continuous series of actions directed toward group goals. As such, leadership today should be referred as the pattern of behaviors that leaders exhibit rather than the individual or the properties or traits or qualities of the individuals. Secondly, leadership is the designed act to influence people to influence people to modify their behavior. Thirdly, leadership is characterized as a single individual who usually fulfills the role for a group. Fourthly, leadership influence is viewed by followers as reasonable and justified. Fifthly, leadership influence is directed towards achieving group goals.
Current leadership experts agree that effective leadership behavior depends on situational and follower characteristics. To be effective leaders means to be able to diagnose the situation and follower’s characteristics and this will determine the pattern of leadership behavior that will result in high performance. This suggests that leader’s behavior differ from leadership traits or skills. Nevertheless, behavior and traits or skills interact to determine a leader’s effectiveness.
Certain situational or followers characteristics can increase or decrease the effectiveness of a leader’s behavior. Nevertheless, leaders have important roles to play in organizations, and effective leaders need to be aware of three tasks the effective leadership process: