The definition of leadership normally varies largely based on the context within which it is applied and from whose perspective the definition is sought. Leaders will often have a different opinion on how to define leadership when compared to the followers that they lead. Generally, leadership is perceived as the ability to influence a few individuals or a group of people towards the attainment of an underlying task of the objective.
Some people perceive leadership as being a synonym to the term management. Yet, others, particularly scholars and academicians, have clearly distinguished these two terminologies. Consequently, leadership refers to the ability to influence people while management has been used in reference to the organizing of people and resources in a given task.
Effective leadership, on the contrary, refers to the superior ability of an individual to strategically organize and influence people to overly achieve certain goals and objective. To this end, effective leadership is primarily underpinned by the leadership qualities that the leaders possess within the framework of the underlying goals or objectives that are primarily being pursued at a given point in time.
Definition of Leadership Skills
Leadership skills refer to the inherent competencies and capabilities that a leader possesses that enable her to formulate winning and efficient approaches in the accomplishment of the given task or objective. In this regard, leadership skills can be categorized into different classes and distinctions. Effective leaders are those individuals who are able to identify the necessary skills required within a specific context based on the corresponding characteristics of their team members.
The different effective qualities of a leader must include people skills. These skill sets enable the leader to interact and engage constructively with their team members first before they can pursue the underlying tasks or objectives. Essentially, people skills are all about how well a leader is capable of getting along with the team members that she leads. Naturally, people tend to be less effective and productive in instances where their emotional and social sides are not appropriately appealed to. The effective leader must be able to engage with her team members first as people and then next as the members of the team if the pursued objectives are to be achieved successfully.
Superior leadership qualities also entail the ability of a leader to organize and allocate resources efficiently. Collectively, this capability is referred to as organizational skills. There are different types or resources that are required and subsequently utilized in the pursuit of the goals and objectives of an underlying task. These resources may include time, finances, physical equipment, intangible resources and so forth. The effective leader must possess the ability of discerning which resources are required for a specific task and apply them accordingly in ensuring that the objective at hand is achieved as required.
Effective leadership skills also include the ability of the leader to exhibit charisma. Charisma refers to the likability or overall ability of a leader to influence her team members because they possess a warm persona. This warmness creates cohesion within the team and enables the creation of a harmonious environment for the pursuit of the team’s objectives. However, there are different types of leadership styles that do not require and individual to become charismatic. In some instances, the leader is instead feared by his followers and it is this fear which coerces the team members to achieve the goals and objectives that they are expected. Such leadership styles are generally ineffective in most contexts though they apply appropriately in other areas such as in the military.
Leadership development within an organizational context entails to a large extent the ability of the leader to lead by example. Many academicians and theorists in the leadership school of thought assert that the ability of a leader to lead by example ultimately distinguishes them from what is generally referred to as a manager. Consequently, managers are seen as merely belting out instructions and expecting that the tasks will be completed. Leaders, on the other hand, will also give instructions but will show their team members how the tasks or objectives should be undertaken. This clear distinction often results in higher competency and efficiency levels within teams that are led by effective leaders as opposed to those that are steered by conventional managers.
Effective leadership styles entail a host of personal character traits that ultimately trickle down to the underlying team members. These characteristics include diligence and the ability of the leader to clearly articulate what is required of the team and to work hard towards its accomplishment.
Integrity and ethical behavior are also key requirements that the effective leader must possess as part of their core leadership style. In most instances, the underlying team and its members will take on the personality of the leader at its helm. Teams that are led by ethical, diligent and charismatic leaders will most certainly perform better within a given task than those that are led by less admirable individuals notwithstanding the context within which the team operates.