Life Skills Development/Module Two/Leadership

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Unit 5: Leadership


Leadership has probably been written about, formally researched and discussed more than any other single topic. Throughout the ages,it has been acknowledged that the difference between success and failure, whether in a business or in sports, can be largely attributed to leadership. Leadership is important for the purpose of maximizing human resource, yet, despite all the attention given to it and its recognized importance, leadership still remains pretty much an unexplainable concept. This unit is developed to provide you with information on the subject matter of leadership. It will include discussions on the concept and styles of leadership; leadership perspectives and strategies; the qualities of a leader and the difference between leadership and management among others. It is also designed to develop or strengthen your skills in leadership.

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Upon completion of this unit you will be able to:

  • Explain the concept of leadership
  • Identify various styles of leadership
  • Analyse one’s own leadership styles.
  • Explain the conceptual differences between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’
  • Identify factors of the dynamics of successfully leading others
  • Demonstrate assertiveness in putting forward good choices; motivating others,sharing tasks and following good leaders.

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  • Management can be defined as a process of coordinating actions and allocating resources to achieve organizational goals.
  • Motivation is a process that occurs internally to influence and direct our behaviour in order to satisfy needs. It is whatever influence our choices and creates direction, intensity and persistence in our behaviour.
  • Assertiveness refers to the act of being able to state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully.

What is leadership?

According to Michener, DeLamamater and Schwartz leadership is a process that takes place in groups in which one member influences and controls the behavior of the other members toward some common goal. Because of the various types of leader been identified, leadership then is something more than just personality or appointment. It is closely linked with behaviour.

Leadership is a dynamic process in a group whereby an individual within the group has the ability to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute voluntarily towards the attainment of the organiazational goals or tasks. Therefore a person who has this ability is known as a leader.

Nature of Leadership

The concept of leadership includes three aspects

  1. people
  2. influence
  3. goals

That is, it occurs among people, involves the use of influence and is used to attain the goals/tasks of its people.

Qualities of a Leader

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Do you think that a good leader possess certain qualities. If yes lets name some of these qualities.


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Search all aspects of yourself:
  • List the qualities that you possess that makes you a good leader.
  • List those qualities that you think need to be improved to become a better leader.
  • Identify ways how you can build yourself to become a better leader.

Bear in mind, that a leader is not only a person that supervises and directs others in the corporate world, but it also applies to the domestic, scholastic and religious domains.

Leadership Styles

Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction,implementing plans and motivating people.

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With the above statement, do you believe that there are different types of leadership?


Leadership Perspectives

The whole concept of leadership can be understood from a theoretical and cultural perspective. Three theoretical perspectives include behaviour, contingecy and contemporary theories among others. Behavoural theory has to do with the different styles of leadership as discussed before. Contingency theory acknowledges that other factors in the environment influence outcome as much asleadership style and leaders effectiveness depends upon something other than the leader's behaviour. The premise is that different leaders behaviour pattern will be effective in different situation. Contemporary approaches to leadership address the leadership functions necessary to develop people and organizations.It is based on the idea of empowering others to engage in pursuing a collective purpose by working together to achieve a vision of a preferred future. The earliest understanding of leadership viewed the leader as a specially gifted person having unique physical, intellectual and socio-psychological traits which made him more superior than others around him. According to this view, it is believed that leaders are born and not made. However there is not sufficient research evidence to support the view that there are inborn characteristics that make a leader. What is known, however, is that there is no set list of traits for effective leadership, hence it can only be understood in terms of what the leader does, not who he or she is. Leadership is not solely an attribute of personality, it occurs in a cultural context and is related to interpersonal relations and group operations. It is determined by the way the leader relates to his subordinates and how he is able to satisfy the members of the group he is leading. Organizations themselves appear to have cultures that are not independent of the larger societal culture but may be different from other organizations affected by the same culture. This culture is composed of beliefs, values and a set of norms about how one behaves and how things are done int institution. It results in a set of group norms of how people should respond to certain situations in the organization thus the process of making meaning out of what is happening is a cultural process. Leadership, then, is a function which involves the leader, the follower and the situation. It can be at the macro level of leading a country or organization and at the micro level of leading your family.

Leadership Strategies

A leadership strategy is the art of leading people or the "know how" of leadership. Strategies are plans designed to achieve a particular long term aim. They are useful in order to promote effective leadership. The following are some suggestions of strategies that can be considered in order to enhance leadership effectiveness:

  • Develop leadership skills
  • Understand the difference between leadership and management.
  • Set objectives but ensure that they are agreed upon by the people you lead.
  • Understand those factors that motivate people and apply them in your interactions with those you lead.
  • Reduce the effects of those factors that cause dissatisfaction.
  • Decide when, how and to whom to delegate authority and responsibility(the right person for the right job).
  • Use different styles of leadership based on the job to done and the people to be lead.

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You were given some strategies above to help you to lead successfully.
List some others that you think can help you.


Difference between Leadership and Management

Have a look on these pages

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Self Assessment

There has always been a controversey about leadership and management. With your knowledge of what is leadership and what is management, do you believe that there is a difference between leadership and management?


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In this unit we have looked into
  • the concept of leadership
  • various styles of leadership
  • Individuals own leadership styles.
  • The conceptual differences between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’
  • Factors of the dynamics of successfully leading others
  • Assertiveness in putting forward good choices; motivating others,sharing tasks and following good leaders.

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Kelly-Heidenthal,Patricia.2003 Nursing Leadership and Management 2nd edition,Thomson Learning,Inc.New York.

McMahon,Rosmary;Barton,Elizabeth and Piot,Maurice et al,1984.On Being In-charge,W.H.O publication, Geneva.

Daft, Richard. L. Management 5th edition, Harcourt College Publishers. U.S.A. 2000