Leadership is the direction and guiding of other participants in the organization.
Leadership differs in degree. Transactional leaders exchange rewards for services. They guide subordinates in recognizing and clarifying roles and tasks. They give their subordinates the direction, support, and confidence to fulfill their role expectations. They also help subordinates understand and satisfy their own needs and desires. They encourage better than average performance from their subordinates. They are good managers.
Transformational leadership is more dramatic. Transformational leaders change the relationship of the subordinate and the organization. They encourage subordinates to go well beyond their original commitments and expectations. If transactional leaders expect diligence, transformational leaders foster devotion. These leaders have the ability to reach the souls of others to raise human consciousness. They raise the level of awareness and encourage people to look beyond their self-interest.
Both forms of leadership are important. When people in positions of authority encourage subordinates to believe that their work is important – not merely a fair exchange of pay for work – motivation, commitment, and performance surpass routine expectations.
Leadership is required for major changes and new directions, and without leadership government easily stagnates. When things go well or poorly we credit or blame the leader. We look for leadership in candidates for high office. But can we determine which job candidates are “natural born” leaders? Can we train employees so that they develop the required personality characteristics to become effective leaders?
Over many years, investigators have hoped to identify leadership traits. It is extremely difficult to know precisely what traits such diverse political leaders as Napoleon Bonaparte, Luther King, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Indira Ghandi, and Adolf Hitler shared in common. Yet many researches have attempted to identify universal characteristics of leadership and the following classification of the leadership traits is suggested:
1) capacity (intelligence, verbal facility, originality, judgment);
2) achievement (scholarship, knowledge, athletic accomplishments);
3) responsibility (dependability, initiative, persistence, aggressiveness, self-confidence, desire to excel);
4) participation (activity, sociability, cooperation, adaptability, humor);
5) status (socioeconomic position, popularity).
Yet this list is not very helpful. Particular traits are neither necessary nor sufficient to become a leader. There are brilliant thinkers and talkers who are not leaders, and there are people who are not very intelligent and not blessed with verbal facility who are obvious leaders. The holding of a degree does not say enough of the holder and whether he would fit into a particular situation. In some situations the manager’s superior education may be even resented by less well educated organization members.
It is obvious that some managers are better leaders than others, and if psychological traits do not explain the variations, what is the explanation?
Some investigators emphasize the situational character of leadership. The ingredients of this parameter of leadership are the following:
· status, or position power – the degree to which the leader is enabled to get the group members to comply with and accept his or her leadership (but leadership should not be confused with high position – holding high office does not guarantee impact; despite the leader’s formal power, he or she did not always get from subordinates the performance that was desired);
· leader-member relations – acceptance of the leader by members and their loyalty to him or her;
· task-structure – the degree to which the jobs of the followers are well defined;
· ability to recognize the most critical needs for organization members at the moment (physiological needs for food, sleep, etc. or safety needs for freedom from fear, for security and stability; needs for love, friends and contact; esteem needs for self-respect and the respect of others or needs for self-actualization, for achieving one’s potential).
Defining leadership is a very difficult task but rejecting the study of leadership would impoverish our understanding of governing.
Английский язык для студентов, изучающих государственное управление. Л.М.Лещёва и др. Учебное пособие / На англ. яз.; Под ред. д.филол.н., профессора Л.М. Лещёвой. Часть I. – Мн.: Академия управления при Президенте Республики Беларусь, 2006. – , 203 с.