Essay by chris6878University, Master'sA, May 2009

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Charles C. Whiting

Dr. Armstrong


Nova Southeastern University

March 8, 2009

The questions of leadership skills evoked people interests since the ancient times. There are still no strict definition about what leadership is and how it should be studied. According to Stogdill (1974) there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to define it. As soon one tries to define leadership, they immediately discover that leadership has many different meanings. Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2003). This is one definition that I have seen used many times.

Defining leadership as a process means that it is not a trait or characteristic that resides in the leader but a transactional event that occurs between the leader and his or her followers. (Northouse, 2003) Leadership involves influence; it is concerned with how the leader affects followers.

Northouse (2003) believes that influence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without influence, leadership does not exist. It occurs in groups. Groups are the context in which leadership takes place. Leadership involves influencing a group of individuals who have a common purpose. Leadership includes attention to goals. This means that leadership has to do with directing a group of individuals toward accomplishing some task or end. Leaders direct their energies toward individuals who are trying to achieve something together. Therefore, leadership occurs and has its effects in contexts where individuals are moving toward a goal. (Northouse, 2003) From this and the other definitions it can be concluded that leadership is a function of the leader, subordinates and the situation working together for a common goal.

The most important leadership traits include honesty, creativity, inspiration, and intelligence. I believe...