Leadership is really just about influencing other people's behaviour.

Essay by samstart October 2002

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Leadership, what is leadership? It certainly plays a very important part in our live, everywhere we go, we would eventually to lead or lead by some other people. The definitions of the leadership role vary widely. Some definitions of leadership are based on leader characteristics, some on leader behaviors, still others on outcomes or end results. The general agreement exists that "someone is needed to serve as the agent for guiding and encouraging people to work together.1".

So is leadership really just about influencing the behaviour of others? It is a very difficult question, as leadership has often been described as the art, skill or process of influencing people to work towards the achievement of group, or larger organizational goals. But there are also many factors that are often outside a leader's direct control, no matter how astute, insightful, and influential the leader may be, e.g. Labor markets, environmental factors, and policies...2

To my point of view, even though there are external factors that are uncontrollable, the main concept of the leadership is still about influencing the behaviour of others! After all, the role of leader is to lead, to make things happen, to make the group work most efficiently toward a goal. Leadership cannot change the other external factors! It is certainly the case that leaders are held responsible for success or failure. They are creating a framework of rules, systems and expectations within which the organization operates.

The two leadership theories that I'm going to discuss about this statement are: The Path-goal theory and the Ohio State studies.

What's needed to be a leader

Warren Bennis, who has devoted decades to researching leadership issues, concludes that virtually all leaders of effective groups share four characteristics in common:

1.they provide direction and meaning to the people they are...