Introduction to Leadership - Essay Example

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In the paper “Introduction to Leadership” the author focuses on definition of leadership from a process viewpoint, as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. The trait viewpoint describes a leader as having certain characteristics and talents…
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Introduction to Leadership
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Leadership The definition of leadership from a process viewpoint, given in Chapter One of our book, is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2016, p.6) is partially what I believe to be the definition. I am convinced that the traits a person exhibits is actually even closer to the definition of what leadership is. The trait viewpoint describes a leader as having certain characteristics and talents, and that this person is born with them and that these qualities differentiate leaders from non-leaders (Northouse, 2016, p.7). Stogdill who completed two surveys (1948, 1974) identified 10 characteristics of leaders. These have been highlighted and often used when describing traits, while others have also done research and conducted surveys on this subject. Stogdill ( 1974) did say that there are difficulties in saying that characteristics are innate. He considered them at best to be an incomplete ‘outgrowth of personality’. He also felt that there was no one pattern of characteristics for leadership (Trait Approach , undated). Many of the lists later produced by various researchers overlap each other, but from these lists there are fourteen traits I have chosen that I think a leader should exhibit in order to be successful and effective which are:-, intelligence; insight; initiative; persistence; self-confidence; influence; social and emotional intelligence; motivation; cognitive ability; conscientiousness; emotional stability; problem solving skills; and openness.
Almost all of these traits I believe to be innate, although I think some problem solving skills can actually be learned through experience and training, and innate skills can certainly be enhanced over time with experience. If a leader really has these above-mentioned traits, I then think the process of leadership can transpire. On the other hand some of them , such as intelligence may be innate, but others such as self-confidence may well depend upon life experiences and the way others view the person concerned . This can for instance disadvantage a woman in a male orientated organisation.
I realize much of this course, as well as the text book ( Northouse 2014) suggest that leadership is a phenomenon that resides in the context of the interactions between leaders and followers and makes leadership available to everyone (Northouse , 2014 p.8), but from my personal experiences, especially in a work context, trait theory appears to be the biggest contributor. Despite this it is obvious that one can only be a leader if there are those to be led, those who will interact with him and who share common aims, whether this is something as simple as making a profit , or , on a much grander scale, to improve the living standards of a whole population by acting as its government, or even to have some more negative aim such as the eradication of another people group as happened in Germany in the mid 20th century. So leadership happens in many different areas of life – in business , in politics, in health care, in families and in military life , to give just some of many possible examples.
A good leader must, by definition, be able to communicate his ideas to others, but there should also be two way communication , in that he listens to others , gets feedback for instance as to how a project is proceeding, or takes account of suggestions and new ideas.
My goal for my immediate future is not actually to become a leader, but more to understand the concept of leadership and how it can be done at its most effective. I have worked with those I considered to be good and successful leaders, as well as incompetent and ineffective ones. As long as I continue to work, which I plan on doing for many years to come, I want to better understand my leaders and to discover how best to work with them and for them in order that we can reach defined and jointly agreed common goals.
Northouse, P. (2014) Introduction to Leadership, Concepts and Practice , Western Michigan
University, New York, Sage Inc
Stoghill, R. (1984) , Trait Theory,, Retrieved from
Trait Approach, (undated) Description, Retrieved from Read More
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