Why Study Leadership?
Before we discuss why we should study leadership we first need to define it. If you were to review scholarly resources on leadership you would find many different definitions. Perhaps Nahavandi (2015), who states that leadership definitions share three common characteristics, presented one of the best definitions:
- Leaders need followers in order to exercise both influence and persuasion.
- Leaders use their ability to influence and persuade others in order to achieve the goals of the organization, so leadership is “goal directed and action oriented” (p. 3).
- There is an assumption of some sort of hierarchy due to the presence of leaders.
Thus, Nahavandi defined a leader as “any person who influences individuals and groups within an organization, helps them establish goals, and guides them toward achievement of those goals, thereby allowing them to be effective” (p. 3). Nahavandi discusses her definition of leadership in the following video:
One of the things Nahavandi points out in the video above is that anyone can be a leader, but an individual may not realize it. Take the time now to peruse the Psychology Today website filled with useful and informative links to articles about leadership. Pay special attention to that titled “Leadership 101.”
Check Your Understanding
Instructions: Identify each of the below as either a leader or a follower. The items are randomly assigned to columns. Click items in the columns to add them to the other column.
Remember leaders help others get things done, so you must first have a group of people and then a goal. Your focus as a leader is helping others to achieve goals.
So, you may ask, why should I study leadership? Quite simply, each of you, regardless of your role within an organization, will be called on to perform a leadership role. Crucial to your success in doing so is having a clear understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader.