Definition of Leadership

Leadership is the process of influencing and motivating people to achieve goals through planning, organizing and leading other people. Leadership is a set of skills that helps individuals with the ability to inspire others to accomplish goals in an effective way. There are multiple leadership styles which have multiple approach to definition.

It is the capacity to influence, motivate, and direct the behavior of others to meet collective goals. A leadership can be guiding an individual or managing people in the organization to leading a nation or a community.

Koontz and O’Donnell define leadership as “ the process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly towards the achievement of group goals.”

John C. Maxwell defines leadership as “ it is an influence- nothing more, nothing less. “

Dwight D. Eisenhower defines leadership as “ the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

Peter F Drucker defines leadership as “ Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “ making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

Characteristics/Traits of a Leader

There are different forms of leadership and every leader has a different take on leadership qualities. Therefore, there are many characteristics or traits of leadership. Some of the common characteristics of leadership or a leader 

  1. Emotional Intelligence
  2. Self-Awareness
  3. Empathy
  4. Self-Regulation
  5. Social Intelligence
  6. Visionary
  7. Motivation and Inspiration
  8. Communication
  9. Charismatic
  10. Strategic Thinking

Types of Leadership

  1. Laissez-Faire Leadership
  2. Pace-Setter Leadership
  3. Autocratic Leadership
  4. Democratic Leadership
  5. Transformational Leadership
  6. Transactional Leadership
  7. Charismatic Leadership
  8. Supportive Leadership

Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership is an approach to leadership that is based on the idea that leaders should not interfere in the lives of their employees. This style of leadership emphasizes self-reliance and personal responsibility. It is a style of leadership that focuses on delegating tasks to individuals, but it does not provide the individual with direction.

The idea of Laissez-Faire Leadership was first brought up by the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. He argued that man should be allowed to do whatever he wants as long as it doesn’t harm others. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, more or less, follow this type of leadership.

Pace-Setter Leadership

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner coined the term ‘pacesetter leadership’ for the first time. The term refers to leaders who are able to set the pace for the organization, who are able to rally people around their vision and inspire them to action.

Pacesetter leaders have a strong sense of self, are able to take risks, have the ability to inspire, and continually learn. They also have a natural charisma that helps them connect with people in different ways.

This leadership style focuses on building trust, establishing relationships, and making people feel valued. It also creates an environment where people are encouraging, innovative and risk takers.

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is a form of leadership that has the leader acting as the final decision maker. This means that they have the final say on what happens within the company. Autocratic leadership is not an easy type of leadership style due to its lack of input from other members in the company and its inability to compromise for better results.

This leadership is an alternative to democratic leadership. The world has been practicing autocratic leadership since a long time. The greatest leaders and warriors like Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte were autocratic leader. Some famous examples include Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin and Kim Jong-un.

Democratic Leadership

Democratic Leadership style lies in between Laissez-faire and Autocratic leadership style. This leader will listen to others’ opinions but will make the final decision. The leader still is very involved in day to day activities but will allow for more creative thinking to flourish. The downside of this style is when a decision has to be made right away. In this, a leader uses the opinion of the majority of the group when making decisions and when delegating responsibility.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a type of leadership in which the leader’s behavior is guided by a deep desire to enable and empower others to act. It is characterized by an individual’s ability to inspire, motivate, and lead people toward a vision. Transformational leaders are able to create and sustain high levels of engagement from their followers over time.

Transformational leadership is not about managing people, but changing them. It is not about control, but empowering people to take control of their own lives and their careers.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership in the workplace emphasizes the importance of completing important tasks. It places an emphasis on the end goal and focuses on the process to achieve it.

Transactional Leadership is a reward/punishment model. For example, if one of your team members sells the most cars in one month, he or she receives reward with a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Employee getting promotion after completing the assignment or sealing an important deal.

On the other hand there is the punishment side such as if someone doesn’t sell their quota, they could lose working hours, be demoted or other punishments.

Charismatic Leadership

A charismatic leadership is a type of leadership that uses charisma as a means of personal influence. This type of leadership is often found in the political sphere and has been used by many leaders throughout history.

Some charismatic leaders are able to lead by example without being in charge of any specific task. They can motivate their followers by providing them with a vision for the future and an inspirational story that they want their followers to help create.

Oprah Winfrey is a charismatic leader.

Supportive Leadership

A supportive Leadership is one that shares power, responsibilities and decision-making with the team members. They are also very aware of their own strengths, weaknesses and those of their team’s. Leaders are also very empathetic towards the needs of their team members whilst understanding that everyone is different and possess different areas of expertise.


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