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Executive leadership - Essay Example

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In a book, "Lead like Jesus", Ken Blanchard defines leadership as a role that everyone occupies whenever we influence others to do a goal (Ken Blanchard, 2003). With this definition, leadership is not confined to the task being performed but the opportunity and role that all have…
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Download file to see previous pages Others define leadership as a process by which a person exerts an influence over others for the accomplishment of an objective or objectives thus necessitates directing the organization is such a way that is cohesive and coherent. This requires that leaders apply their knowledge, attributes including belief, values, their ethics, character and skills (Clark, 2008).
"Common to all definitions of leadership is the notion that leaders are individuals who, by their actions, facilitate the movement of a group of people toward a common or shared goal. This definition implies that leadership is an influence process" (CliffNotes).
The various definitions of leadership seem to have little else in common. They are technically different in many respects, which include who exerts the influence, the purpose of the influence, the way in which influence is exerted and even the outcome of the attempt to influence. These differences are not simple scholarly nit-picking; rather they reflect deep disagreement about leadership and the leadership process (Yukl, 2009).
Indeed, the pursuit of knowing which leadership type is the most effective and which characters a leader must possess is a subject of many studies, college courses and class discussions. "Leadership is a subject that has long excited interest among people. The term connotes images of powerful, dynamic individuals who command victorious armies, direct corporate empires from atop gleaming skyscrapers, or shape the course of nations. The exploits of brave and clever leaders are the essence of many legends and myths" (Yukl, 2009).
Gary Yukl gave the following list of leadership definitions from different authors:
Definitions of Leadership
-Leadership is "the behavior of an individual . . . directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal." (Hemphill & Coons, 1957, pg. 7)
-Leadership is "the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organization." (Katz & Kahn, 1978, pg. 528)
-"Leadership is exercised when persons . . . mobilize . . . institutional, political, psychological, and other resources so as to arouse, engage, and satisfy the motives of followers." (Burns,
1978, pg. 18)
-"Leadership is realized in the process whereby one or more individuals succeed in attempting to frame and define the reality of others." (Smircich & Morgan, 1982, pg. 258)
-Leadership is "the process of influencing the activities of an organized group toward goal achievement." (Rauch & Behling, 1984, pg. 46)
-"Leadership is about articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished." (Richards & Engle, 1986, pg. 206)
-"Leadership is a process of giving purpose (meaningful direction) to collective effort, and causing willing effort to be expended to achieve purpose." (Jacobs & Jaques, 1990, pg. 281)
-Leadership "is the ability to step outside the culture . . . to start evolutionary change processes that are more adaptive." (Schein, 1992, pg. 2)
-"Leadership is the process of making sense of what people are doing together so that people will understand and be committed." (Drath & Palus, 1994, p. 4)
-Leadership is "the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute
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