Essay: Leadership What Makes a Good Leader?

Pages: 3 (913 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper


What makes a good leader? This is a question which has been inciting research and inquiry within the contemporary business environment for generations. Leadership is essentially a developed and designed process where one individual, the leader, influences and motivates others within the group to attain particular goals or objectives. Strong leadership takes much more than just authority, and thus is often hard to come by.

Leadership cannot be mistaken as other elements of modern business discourse. Management does differ greatly from leadership. Essentially, management involves all the practical steps to implement plans and oversee their execution, while leadership is the much more abstract notion of inspiring and motivating the members of the team to succeed in various executions of plans. Leadership revolves around the concept of influence, while management is a more formal connotation that leads by the very designation of their position or role within the organization (De Pree 2004). A leader may not always be in a formal position of authority, and neither does a formal manager always prove to be an effective leader. Thus, the most important difference between the two connotations is the way they go about getting a plan or task done (Smirich & Morgan 1982). The leader will inspire and encourage others to work hard to succeed, while the manager will enforce his or her power and authority, often using demands and possibly threats of discipline, which is available to them in their position of authority, to get the goal accomplished.

Trait theories of leadership did move the modern discourse closer to what we see at today, but it was still plagued with limitations. Earlier developments of theory were essentially limited because of a lack of evidence and data really solidifying the tenants of the theories in question. For example, the early form of test-management theory failed to optimize similar traits in the same manner within the context of a single empirical inquiry. As a result, "very little information about the psychometric properties of the trait measures were reported; thus it is possible that many of the measures had limited validity," (House & Aditya 1997 p 411). Essentially, the measurements to ensure validity were not always the strongest, and they way they were utilized by different research teams was incredibly varied, producing much different results from one research team to the next.

There are a wide number of different branches within the concept of attributing behavioral theory to the understanding of leadership within a contemporary context. Each of these theories inherently focus on molding and teaching certain desired behavioral traits as a way to properly train, motivate, and inspire the people under the leader. Task-oriented behavioral styles of leadership focus on inspiring behavior that will focus on the completion… [END OF PREVIEW]

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