What Leadership Means Essay

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What Leadership Means

Leadership is 'the behaviour of an individual when he is directing the activities of a group towards a shared goal'. (Hemphill and Coons,
1957, p.7)

A leader is interpreted as someone who sets direction in an effort and influences people to follow that direction. How they set that direction and influence people depends on a variety of factors. To really comprehend the 'territory' of leadership, one should briefly scan some of the major theories, notice various styles of leadership and review some of the suggested traits and characteristics that leaders should have.

There are many leadership theories. Arthur G. Jago (1982) proposed a framework that organizes leadership theories based on each theory's
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Initiating structure: Initiating structure, also known as job-oriented behaviour, refers to leadership behaviour that is aimed at careful supervision of employee work methods and performance levels.

Some research indicates that those leaders that were high in consideration would be more effective than those who were high in initiating structure, particularly in regard to maintaining employee satisfaction and performance and reducing turnover and absenteeism.
Subsequent research argued that being high in both dimensions was necessary for effective leadership.

As the early researchers ran out of steam in their search for traits, they turned to what leaders did - how they behaved (especially towards followers). They moved from leaders to leadership - and this became the dominant way of approaching leadership within organizations in the
1950s and early 1960s. Different patterns of behaviour were grouped together and labelled as styles. This became a very popular activity within management training ? perhaps the best known being Blake and
Mouton?s Managerial Grid (1964; 1978). Various schemes appeared, designed to diagnose and develop people?s style of working. Despite different names, the basic ideas were very similar. The four main styles that appear are:

Concern for task / production.
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