Leadership has been defined by McKinney and Howard as “the person who can mesh divergent and conflicting forces, recognize and create opportunities, use the influence and morale basis of his or her position, and employ the minimal amount of resources to maximally achieve publicly desired ends.

The concept of leadership in Business Management has been surrounded by controversy arsing not from conceptual clarification but rather the identification of who truly is a leader. Leadership is synonymous with position, authority or with the task process or the exhibition of a particular behaviour.

Leadership is multi-dimensional, the use of influence, the dimension of interpersonal relations, leadership as an agent of change and gaol accomplishment.

3.2            Study of the Concept of Leadership

 The concept of power and its application is pivotal to leadership effectiveness. Power refers to the ability to influence other people. In the context of the organization, power refers to the ability to get things done or accomplishing one’s goal through people even in the existence of resistance and opposition.

 In an organizational context, leadership derive their power from the basic sources:

   Legitimate Power: This is a type of power that resides in anoffice, the occupant of that office inherits and exercises the power emanating from that office, and this becomes a basis to request others to comply. Since employees are likely to resist instructions given to them by a supervisor who is acting outside or beyond their jurisdiction or authority.

 Legitimate power is a power derived from position authority. The higher an employee moves up the organization hierarchy, the more power him or her exercises.

 Reward Power: This refers to the ability of the leader to reward.Those who comply with, exhibit effort or achieve organizational goals. The presence of this power is enough to induce compliance from those employees who desire the reward. 

Reward power as an instrument at the disposal of the leader is sometimes restricted in situations where reward is based on standard bargaining.

 Coercive Power: This is the use of punishment to accomplishorganizational goal. Employees comply with regulations or rules to avoid being sanctioned by the leader.

  Referent Power: Referent Power is deduced from the personalcharacteristics that leaders bring to organizational setting. These characteristics of the leader appeal to others in the work setting. 

These characteristics of the leader appeal to others in the work setting and consequently elicit the compliance.

 Expert Power: This refers to the expertise, competence or business knowledge possessed by the leader that makes subordinates to comply, because they believe that, they can learn from the leader. 


As a result of the central role played by leadership in organizational effectiveness research outcome have grouped them into three:


1)                 Trait

2)                 Behaviour


3)                 Situation 

The Leaders Attributes (Trait Theory)

 Leadership was traditionally presented in terms of the traits that the leader possessed and how they influenced the achievements of organizational goals.

A leadership trait is a physical or personality characteristics that can be used to differentiate leaders from followers. The trait theory was the dominant thought in the early 20th century; its focus was on the identification of the attributes or traits that are to be found in leaders. The central theme is that leaders are not made but born.

 Therefore there must be distinctive characteristics between the leaders and other members of the group. The trait theorists argued that individuals with a need for power prefer such professions as the military, clergy and teaching where they can truly control people.

The major characteristics of Trait Theory are as follow

 Drive: this is a set of characteristics that reflect a high level ofeffort. It included the need for achievement striving for continuous improvement, ambition, energy, tenacity and initiative.

 These derived, characteristics, though in-born in some people can also be acquired by others through behavioural modification.

Leadership Motivation: The instinct or desire to influencepeople is sometimes inborn in people. From the trait theory perspective.

 Leaders want to lead rather than be led. Leaders have a high view for power. A need for power induces people to attempt to influence others and sustain interest and satisfaction in the process of leadership.

 Integrity: this is the correspondence between action,behaviour and utterances and the extent to which a leader is honest and credible. Integrity also includes the extent to which a leader displays morality and subscribes to professional ethics. 

Self- Confidence: This is the ability to stir in the face ofdifficulties and that setbacks are only temporary restrain. Self-confidence allows a leader to stir in the midst of difficulties and obstacles, make decision despite uncertainty and instil confidence in others. 

Knowledge of the Business: Effective leaders have a high level knowledge about their industries or business, if a leader is to lead, show way, guide or direct or move others, such leaders must be knowledgeable in that endeavour. 

Group Approach


                     Wide participation in decision-making


                     Face-to-face group interactions

                     Mutual confidence is the primary integration in the organization


                     Inter-Group and Intra-Group communication


                     Growth for members of the organization is recognized as a priority objective.

 As the group approach to leadership become acceptable in theory, the leader’s role becomes primarily one of helping the group to clarify and achieve its goals. One important consequence of this change was a shift in emphasis or even displacement of organizational goals for the groups.


Another was almost unnoticed shift of leadership from executive to managerial and supervisory levels. The group approach also:


                     Produced a functional leadership that varied with group needs.


                     Recognized the latent power over time of group norms to transform externally, introduced rule like the one from the legislature.


                     Transform the leader into a co-ordinator partly leading and partly being led. 

The Situational Approach to Leadership

 The situational approach maintains that the situation dictates the qualities of leadership. Rather than adjusting the organization to fit the leader, here the leader is adjusted to organizational requirements. Among the situational variables identified are:

  Expectations of following

 Technology associated with the task to be performed

                     Pressures of schedules and the delivery environment.


                     Required degrees of interpersonal contact.

                     Various stages of organizational development 

There are six – identified organization development that calls for different kinds of leadership.


                     Creation of a new organization


                     Survival of a continuing system

                     Attainment of stability


                     Gaining reputation and prestige

                     Achieving uniqueness and adaptability

 Contributing to the society 

Forces in the Subordinates

 Before deciding how to lead a certain group, the manager will also want to consider a number of forces affecting his subordinate’s behaviour. Subordinates are influenced by many personality variables. In addition, such subordinate has a set expectation about how a boss should act in relation to him. The better the manager understands these factors, the more accurately he can determine what kind of behaviour on his part will enable his subordinates to act most effectively.

The manager can allow his subordinates greater freedom of the following essential conditions exists:


                     If the subordinates have relatively high need of independence.


                     If the subordinate have a readiness to assume responsibility for decision-making


                     If they have relatively high tolerance for ambiguity.

                     If they are interested in the problem and feel that it is important.


                     If they understand and identify with the goals of the organization.


                     If they have the necessary knowledge and experience to deal with the problem.


                     If they have learnt to expect to share in decision-making.


The restructure effect of many of the forces will of course, be greatly modified by the general feeling of confidence which subordinates have in the boss where they learnt to respect and trust him, he is free to vary his behaviour. He will not be perceived as an authoritarian boss on those occasions when he makes decision by himself.

Source National Open University of Nigeria


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