Leadership in Small Groups

Essay by sunsunsun2000University, Bachelor'sB+, June 2004

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Leadership is one of the key processes of interpersonal and small group development. Leadership is an inevitable element of life in groups and societies alike (Elkin & Inkson, 2000, p. 203; Forsyth, 1999, p 340). In this essay, I will discuss the process of leadership in relation to small groups and explain how it relates to other interpersonal processes such as influence and power. In addition, I will explore trait, behavioral and situational theories to unravel the different approaches to leadership as well as study one former research on leadership, 'The Fielder's contingency model' to provide an explanation to leadership effectiveness.

Before we go further into the discussion of the process of leadership and of its characteristics, we must first and foremost answer the question of 'what is leadership?'

Unfortunately, there is no easy definition of 'leadership', it has been stated that "specifying what leadership is not is easier than specifying what leadership is" (Forsyth, 1999, p.


However, many literatures written about 'leadership' agree that leadership is about influencing other to attain group and individual goals (Elkin & Inkson, 2000, p. 205; Forsyth, 1999, p 343; Keyton, 1999, p. 281; Robbins, 1993, p. 365). Social influence, "the process that change the thoughts, feelings, or behaviour of another person", and leadership have a strong correlation. If you take any given group, the person who can influence the members of the group to a particular opinion, behavior, action or judgment to achieve a common goal, then that person is generally viewed as the 'leader' of the group, whether he or she was appointed to the 'leadership' role. Additionally, leaders influence what groups do or what groups talk about, as well as influence groups on how they should perform and achieve their goal (Keyton, 1999, p. 281).

For example, I am...