a leader and his followers

Leadership: Definition, Features, Qualities, Styles, and Functions

What is Leadership? Who is a Leader?

Leadership is the ability to influence the behavior and performance of an individual or group of individuals towards the achievement of common objectives in a given situation. It is the art of influencing and inspiring the behavior of others in accordance with requirements.

Leadership is the personal quality of an individual who organizes the efforts of the individuals and directs them to achieve common objectives. It is an important and necessary skill for achieving group performance.

A leader is one who has the ability to influence and persuade the behavior of his group members enthusiastically for the attainment of common goals. A leader must have the quality of guidance, inspiration, persuasion, influence, direction, motivation, communication, creativity, etc. A successful leader is someone whose followers accept his guidance undoubtedly.

A leader may be a political leader, a spiritual leader, a person elected from team members, or a person will be a leader who has knowledge and wisdom, and willingness to lead but remember leadership is a choice, not a responsibility because it possesses personal qualities of a leader. And personal qualities can not be robbed but they can be shared.

Leadership is not about size but it is about knowledge and wisdom.

a leadership example

In fact, leadership is the process of influencing human behavior. It is the character that is applied by the leader on his group members to reach a specified aim in a given job. A person is said to be a leader when his group members are ready to admit his instructions, guidance, and suggestions. Only a prosperous leader is able to inspire his disciples.

Leadership is applicable to managers. Managers also become good leaders. A manager is a successful leader when he possesses the leadership qualities to influence the behavior of his subordinates. He has to guide his subordinates in such a manner that organizational and individual objectives can be achieved. Thus, the manager must have a complete vision of how to operate resources and achieve organizational objectives.


George R. Terry – Leadership is the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for mutual objectives.

Stephen P. Robbins – Leadership is the ability to influence a group of people for the achievement of goals.

Koontz and Weihrich – Leadership is the art of or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically towards the achievement of common goals.

Keith Davis – Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is a human factor that binds a group together and motivates it towards goals.

Nature/Characteristics of a Good Leadership

Good leadership is consists of following nature and characteristics.

nature and characteristics of a good leadership

#1 Interpersonal Influence

Leadership is a process of interpersonal influence. A leader influences behavior and activities of subordinates through power, inspiration, reward, motivation, and other tools. A manager is said to be a leader when he is able to influence his subordinates in accordance with organizational requirements.

#2 Leaders and Followers

Leadership is a combination of leaders and followers. There should be a mutual relationship between a leader and followers. Followers are supposed to follow their leader’s footsteps only by getting inspiration from his conduct, ability, and behavior.

Similarly, followers influence the leader through their performance, effort, and behavior. They influence the behavior of each other through mutual wishes and not by the use of authority.

#3 Common Goals

Leadership aims at the pursuit of common goals, in other words, a leader and followers must have common objectives. The leader directs and guides the followers to gain planned objectives. Followers also perform their activities in accordance with the direction of the leader.

There is no meaning of leadership if the objectives of the leader and follower are different. Thus, the interests of individuals and those of organizations should be the same.

#4 Continuous Exercise

Leadership is a continuous managerial process. It continues till the existence of the organization. Managers have to influence the behavior and performance of subordinates on a regular basis.

Whenever leadership becomes poor, the performance of people turns into a mere routine function and organizational effectiveness may decrease. Hence, it is the responsibility of managers to guide and direct subordinates regularly.

#5 Leadership is Situational

It is a situational activity. The role of leadership assumes significance in critical situations. It is the duty of the leader to inspire subordinates to overcome critical situations and help them to lead to the destination in a successful way.

Thus, a leader must be innovative and creative to handle difficult and unexpected situations.

#6 Rest on Power

It rests on power rather than formal authority. Here, power focuses on the personal outstanding qualities of a leader through which he influences the followers.

In the context of the manager, some formal authority is rested due to managerial designation. But, at this stage, there is little value of formal authority in comparison to power i.e. personal quality.

#7 Blend of Inspiration, Motivation, and Communication

Leadership is a blend of inspiration, motivation, and communication. It is a process of influencing the behavior and performance of followers by inspiring them. A leader has to employ suitable motivational devices such as incentives, bonuses to stimulate subordinates. For this, there must be a clear and complete flow of information between supervisors and subordinates. In the absence of any elements, a leadership purpose can not be victorious.

Thus, leadership is a box of influencing qualities to behavior and performance of group members in order to to achieve predetermined objectives. A good leader is someone who coaches employees, generates enthusiasm, shows how it is done, says we, and develops people.


Functions of Leadership: Roles of a Leader For the Success of organization are:

  • Goal determination
  • Coordination
  • Represents the organization
  • Integrates objectives
  • Motivate employees
  • Organize activities
  • Encourage teamwork
  • Effective communication
  • Take initiative
  • Control and supervision

To be more precise, the function of a manager as a leader is to enhance the overall mechanisms of the organization to achieve the planned goals in stipulated time. Get a complete guide to these functions of a leader, here.

4 Popular Leadership Styles

Style of leadership simply can be defined as the behavior and actions shown by the leader while leading the team members. The primary leadership styles are:

  • Autocratic Style
  • Democratic Style (Participative)
  • Laissez-Fair (Free Rein Leadership)
  • Paternalistic Style

For a full guide to these styles visit here.

Qualities of a Good Leader

You may be thinking about what makes a leader good or even great? To be a greater leader a person must own some leadership qualities or skills. The essential qualities a person needs to be a great leader are as follows:

  • Physical Fitness
  • Confidence
  • Intelligence
  • Vision
  • Sense of Responsibility
  • Human Character
  • Optimistic Outlook
  • Flexible Attitude
  • Technical Knowledge
  • Patience
  • Organizing Ability
  • Motivation and Communication Skills
  • Human Relation Expert
  • Wider Perspective
  • Ability To Judgement
  • Empathy

The explanation of these top 16 qualities of a good leader, made simple here.

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