The topic of leadership has become a constant debate. People are considered the individual with characteristics of a leader. What makes a leader have this characteristic? This is an excellent question that has prompted a great deal of discussion.

On the other hand, it happens that the issue of leadership is also embedded in psychological issues . It happens that human beings are gregarious, they live in communities. And for these communities to have a certain degree of order, they usually require the presence of a leader.

What is leadership? 

Asking about leadership implies entering a very shaky terrain due to its many definitions, according to the interests of the different approaches. A more comprehensive definition defines leadership as the social order of relationships between subjects , supported by the charisma of the individual.

Leadership is based on qualities or virtues that are considered extraordinary. Leadership represents the exemplary nature of the subject in a given context . Consequently, the quality of “extraordinary” is associated with the context and not with the individual himself.

There is no denying that leaders exist. Even in nature there are always communities of living beings where an individual leads the herd. In other words, the notion of leadership comes naturally . It is not the exclusive property of human beings. Therefore, there are those who consider that it even has a certain biological trait.

In that case, we want to focus on how human beings and understand the notion of leadership. Often times, this is unspoken behavior . For this reason, it is so difficult to understand it in a first notion.

What are the characteristics of leadership?

Several common characteristics can be drawn from all the definitions of leadership, namely:

  • Leadership is a process. The trait of leader does not reside only in his figure. A circle of influence is generated between the leader and his followers. Leadership is not a rigid and linear process. Understood under this criterion, the leader is not confined only to individuals who hold positions of power (formal leaders), but any individual can become a leader. 
  • Leadership implies influence over others. This characteristic is the exclusive power of the leadership. It is a fundamental condition of leadership that there is influence (power) over a group of people . The recruitment of followers by the leader and the trust in him by the latter are elements to take into account. In the history of mankind, there have been many leaders who managed to capture the attention of entire populations, who followed them blindly.
  • Leadership happens in a group context. Leadership is a social phenomenon , since the process of leading occurs within human groups. The goal of the leader is to influence individuals to achieve the common goals of the group. The collective could be a consortium, a university, a military unit, a religious group, etc.
  • Leadership implies the achievement of objectives or goals. It is obvious that the consummation of shared objectives or goals is the sense of leadership. Specific goals determine the relationship between the leader and his followers. The examples are obvious: a teacher will seek that his students achieve learning objectives; a political party will have the purpose of winning the majority of representatives in congress; an army captain, winning the last battle, etc.

And here we have a very special feature of this concept: leadership is positive The imposition or detriment of the group , by which a certain person exerts influence, is not considered as leadership.

Other characteristics of this peculiar concept

In addition, other characteristics have been determined to take into account regarding the “leadership” construct.

  • Under the idea that leadership is a trait (personal quality), the thesis is substantiated that leaders possess innate qualities that differentiate them from the rest of the subjects.

Even physical attributes, such as personality moods , skills and special abilities , such as charming public speaking , have even been described . For example, the ordering system that is produced from the charismatic influence.

  • Understanding leadership as a process, it is entirely supported by the context in which it takes place. In other words, this position maintains that leadership qualities are worthless if the proper context does not exist.
  • The notion of leadership is linked to ” power and authority ” and, moreover, they are expected factors.

The leader must possess the ability to influence others . But, power is dynamic in that the influence of leaders over others does not occur in the same magnitude and in the same way. In addition, that power constantly changes according to the context and the skills of the leader to make agreements.

  • These two concepts should be differentiated. The authority is the sum of rights, privileges and duties related to the exercise of a directorship. Now, that does not mean that leadership is also possessed , since it is not imposed, but is the ability to influence and summon others.
  • A subject may have the ability to influence a group and lack recognized authority ; They are the so-called emerging or informal leaders. Both power and leadership tend to overlap, as the axis of the question is knowing how to become a recognized reference with respect to their subordinates, how to make them part of the cause, from a position of power.

It is clear then that the notion of leadership is complex. Likewise, there is no single type of leadership. Leadership is heterogeneous. Perhaps, it happens that individuals who are leaders in certain circumstances … but not in others.

We want to discuss the various types of leadership in the following pages of this post. This is information that we have compiled to try to clarify this issue much better for our readers.

What are the types of leadership?

The leader is a person with certain qualities . But you can’t be a leader all the time. A simple example: someone has a great capacity to lead in their work, but at home they are not the head of the family.

In this way, it seems that there are scenarios where certain leaders express themselves and others where it is not so simple . Therefore, we want to show below a list of the types of leadership that exist:

  • Charismatic leadership. Charisma is one of the most powerful leadership qualities. A charismatic leader has a particular charm that inspires others to blindly follow him. 
  • Bureaucratic leadership. He is the leader who coordinates his employees to follow objectives and tasks, according to specific regulations, following the law, institutional or company policies.
  • Participatory or democratic leadership It is inclusive leadership, which allows the participation of people in decision-making.
  • ‘Laissez-faire’ leadership. The strategy is “let it be” and, in effect, leaders unleash team members to work.
  • Task-oriented leadership. It describes the leader only dedicated to the task; concentrates on getting the job done, and can become authoritarian.
  • People-oriented leadership or relationship-oriented leadership. Contrary to task-oriented leadership, leaders are fully focused on coordinating, supporting, and developing their teams.
  • Transactional leadership . Part of absolute obedience to the leader at the time of signing the employment contract.
  • Transformational leadership . It is the class of leadership best viewed, as it is based on constant encouragement and inspiration from the team.
  • Autocratic leadership. It is leadership based on absolute power over its workers or teams.
  • Natural leadership. It is the informal, spontaneous leadership, in the hands of a person who, at any level of an organization, leads by satisfaction.

The variety of leaderships is infinite . We have just made a small selection here. The truth is that we want to delve into another theme of this matter: the various areas where the condition of leader is expressed.

Leadership, its importance in various areas

Leadership is not the niche of a select few of the privileged . It can be seen in many people with whom it is shared daily.

Leadership is present in mothers who have a definitive influence on their children, deciding the way in which they are educated; in a teacher who encourages the knowledge of science and art in his students and who has alumni with degrees in physics or mathematics.

Ultimately, everyone is a leader insofar as they are capable of influencing other people; in sons and daughters, in friends, in students, in employees.

Leadership in the academic area

The transformational leadership in academic or educational area, as in other organizations, is vital. The communication successful with faculty and staff is one of the pillars of that leadership.

Therefore, school leadership , embodied for example in a director, facilitates the development of the educational curriculum, promotes the construction and maintenance of a school climate and culture that enhances and stimulates the development of collaborative norms, attitudes and values .

Leadership entails a significant redundancy in the achievement of quality and excellence in all educational activities. In fact, the best universities and research centers in the world stand out for having exceptional leadership.

At the school leadership level, young people from an early age already demonstrate natural aptitudes .

In general, students manifest four types of leadership: task leadership (typical of the student who provides material for tasks), intellectual (who proposes alternative responses), social-emotional (who encourages group members) and coercive (who draws attention by sabotaging group dynamics). In any case, there will always be a student who leads the group, he is the natural leader.

Leaders in the sports and business field

Sport and physical activity have an important social role and personal improvement, which make them tools with a great capacity for mobilization and convocation. 

Regarding the relevance of leadership , both in the company and in sport an unquestionable truth dominates: there is no team without a leader, nor a leader without a team.

Both in companies and in sports, leadership is linked to the ability to influence individuals to work enthusiastically to achieve common goals. It is verified then in business management as in sports, the need for committed leaders.

Business and sport are two very competitive models based on similar principles: a winning strategy, a real team, emotions properly channeled, persistence and the temper between flexibility and lucidity. Transformational leadership meets those principles.

If the qualities required of the best business leaders (tenacity, perseverance, negotiation skills, discretion, sobriety, flexibility, charisma, integrity, creativity, innovation, strategic vision, etc.) are taken into consideration , they are not so different from those owned by great athletes and coaches.

The similarity occurs especially between high-performance athletes with high-level companies.

The current socio-sports context , with corporate sports that dominate the world scene, requires that the management of sports organizations be very complex, because it requires the management of an enormous amount of knowledge of a different nature, to offer increasingly better services. , following a policy aimed at excellence.

For example, the football industry, its leaders, not only deal with the sporting aspects themselves , but also with the commercialization of various products related to football.

As a final consideration

The issue of leadership has been a topic of interest for centuries . Human beings look for directors, leaders. Not in vain in past times there were figures such as pharaohs, kings or emperors.

Great figures in history have been leaders: Napoleon, Alexander the Great , etc. It is a matter worth studying, since it has also been the cause of fierce confrontations. People fight for leadership, getting to have serious disputes for it.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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