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What Is Leadership? Definition, Qualities, Skills, Examples

Leadership is the action of directing a group of people or an organisation towards a shared objective. It entails mapping out where you must go to “win” as a team or an organisation, creating and attaining goals, taking action, and encouraging people to perform at their best. 

A successful leader’s fundamental attributes are honesty, ethics, inspiration, communication skills, vision, and the ability to encourage others. This blog will explore what leadership means, ‘what are the qualities of a good leader’, skills, and examples.

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What Is Leadership Definition?

Leadership is the capacity to organise and encourage a group to achieve a common aim. It is about influencing and directing others towards a desired end. Influential leaders possess the talents and attributes essential to inspire and empower their team members, promoting cooperation and productivity.

What Does Leadership Mean in Management?

Management leadership refers to a person’s capacity to establish and realise demanding goals, make swift choices, beat the competition, and motivate others to give their all. It includes providing the firm and its employees a direction and ensuring they know the road being pursued. 

Due to its focus on taking chances, criticising the status quo, and seeking innovation, leadership distinguishes itself from management. On the other side, management comprises assigning assignments and accomplishing tasks.

Here are some key characteristics and components of understanding what is leadership in management:

  • Defining and attaining objectives: Leaders in management are accountable for defining challenging goals for the organisation and ensuring they are achieved.
  • Taking swift and decisive action: Effective leaders make quick judgments and take action as needed.
  • Outperforming the competition: Leaders aim to outperform competitors and preserve a competitive edge for the organisation.
  • Inspiring others: Leaders encourage and inspire their team members to achieve their maximum potential.
  • Creating a positive corporate culture: Leadership also entails establishing the tone for the corporate culture inside the firm.
  • Influencing behaviour: Leaders have the power to influence the conduct of others and direct them towards the fulfilment of specified goals.
  • Motivating individuals: Leaders use their capacity to encourage individuals to carry out duties and accomplish organisational goals.
  • Creating value: Leaders focus on creating value and delivering results beyond what the team can do independently.
  • Influencing and enabling others: Leadership requires influencing, motivating, and empowering others to contribute to organisational success.
  • Differentiating from management: While management focuses on regulating and accomplishing tasks, leadership is about influencing and directing individuals inside an organisation.

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Significance of Leadership

Leadership is essential to any organisation, whether a business, school, or government agency. Here are some reasons why:

  • Guidance and direction: Leaders give guidance, inspiration, and motivation while reaching goals. They assist in developing a vision and mobilise people around a shared cause.
  • Improved communication: One of the most crucial roles of a leader is to encourage communication inside the company. Clear and precise communication is necessary for every team to work successfully. Influential leaders will make it a point to maintain lines of communication open at all times and establish an open and inclusive workplace where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts.
  • Increased productivity: Leaders define goals and objectives, helping team members to understand their roles and duties, boosting productivity, and eliminating misunderstanding.
  • Establishing corporate culture: Good leadership may help to build corporate culture and the developmental direction of a firm.
  • Motivation: Leaders spark passion and excitement by building a compelling vision and fostering a feeling of purpose within their people.
  • Decision-making: Leaders make key decisions that can affect a company’s performance.
  • Positive influence: Leadership isn’t about holding control over someone else. It’s about constructively encouraging individuals to attain new heights. Becoming a great leader is crucial because it helps people realise their potential and acquire new talents.
  • Consistent high performance: A genuine indicator of leadership is the organisation’s or team’s ability for consistent high performance, even when the original leader has gone on. If there has been an investment in the people and purpose of the team, they should be well-suited to go on effectively.

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Characteristics of a Good Leader

Here are some qualities of a good leader:

  • Integrity: Good leaders have strong moral and ethical beliefs and act honestly and fairly.
  • Self-awareness: They are knowledgeable of their strengths, limitations, and feelings.
  • Courage: Effective leaders are willing to take chances, make unpleasant choices, and fight for what they believe in.
  • Respect: They treat others respectfully, cherish varied opinions, and establish an inclusive society.
  • Empathy: Good leaders understand and respect the feelings and opinions of others, hence developing positive connections.
  • Effective communication: Great leaders are outstanding communicators in expressing their opinions and continually listening to others.
  • Teamwork: Leaders generate collaboration, appreciate input from others, and build a collaborative work atmosphere.
  • Accountability: Effective leaders accept accountability for their efforts and hold themselves and others responsible for results.

Leadership Skills

The abilities and capabilities of individuals to oversee operations, manage initiatives, and motivate teams to achieve objectives are known as leadership skills. Decisiveness, honesty, patience, empathy, active listening, dependability, creativity, connection-building, agility, flexibility, innovation, employee motivation, and decision-making are qualities that strong leaders demonstrate. Early career leadership development can signal leadership potential and position a person for promotion to a more senior position.

Knowing one’s talents and flaws is vital for growing as a leader, and performing a leadership self-assessment may assist. There are initiatives and resources available to assist people in building great leadership abilities.

Define Leadership Style

Leadership style relates to a leader offering guidance, attaining goals, and motivating others. It is created by various characteristics, including personality, beliefs, abilities, and experiences, and may considerably influence leadership performance. Here are some points to get a clear idea of what is leadership style:

  • Democratic Leadership: This method entails sharing decision-making powers among group members by supporting the interests of the group members and fostering social equality.
  • Charismatic Leadership: This style entails possessing a broad range of expertise, a self-promoting attitude, a high/excellent energy level, and a willingness to take chances and employ out-of-the-box techniques to motivate followers to think independently.
  • Servant Leadership: It is defined as putting the team’s needs first, focusing on mentoring, empowering, and supporting team members, and focusing on personal and professional progress.
  • Transformational Leadership: This approach comprises inspiring and motivating people to attain their maximum potential, fostering creativity and innovation, and developing a vision for the future.
  • Coaching Leadership: This approach entails offering direction and support to team members, concentrating on their development and progress, and enabling them to reach their goals.
  • Autocratic Leadership: It entails making choices without input from others, retaining firm control over the team, and employing incentives and punishments to motivate team members.
  • Laissez-Faire Leadership: This style entails giving decision-making power to team members, offering little advice and assistance, and allowing team members to work independently.

Difference Between Management and Leadership

The table below summarises the key differences between leadership and management:

Leadership Management
Focuses on the questions of what and why Focuses on the questions of how and when
Motivates, influences and empowers employees Work to accomplish goals and manage activities
Creates a vision Sets goals
Inspires and influences people Controls and directs people/resources
Creates positive, non-incremental change Ensures things are done efficiently and effectively
Builds shared values and shapes the culture Implements and maintains the organisational culture

 

Types of Leadership

Here are some of the most common types of leadership styles:

  • Visionary Leadership
  • Transactional Leadership
  • Charismatic Leadership
  • Transformational Leadership
  • Democratic Leadership
  • Strategic Leadership
  • Pacesetting Leadership
  • Coaching Leadership
  • Servant Leadership
  • Bureaucratic Leadership

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Things That Leaders Avoid

Here are some things that great leaders don’t do:

  • Demand loyalty: Great leaders inspire loyalty rather than demanding it.
  • Use people: Successful leaders focus on developing people instead of utilising them.
  • Settle: Great leaders continually seek development and refuse to settle for mediocrity.
  • Suffocate: They don’t suffocate originality or innovation but promote and develop it.
  • Ignore criticism: Great leaders listen to and handle criticism rather than ignoring it.
  • Allow emotions to take control: They don’t allow their emotions to dictate their behaviour but instead maintain calm and make reasonable judgments.
  • Avoid accountability: Great leaders take responsibility for their choices and actions.

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What Makes a Good Leader?

Becoming a better leader is a continuous journey of personal development. Here are some tips and strategies from various sources to help you improve your leadership skills:

  • Build connections: Strong relationships are crucial to effective leadership. Connect with your team members, create trust, and foster enduring connections.
  • Engage in honest, open communication: Communication is key for good leadership. Foster a climate of open communication where team members feel comfortable sharing their opinions and ideas.
  • Encourage personal and professional growth: Support the growth and development of your team members. Provide chances for study and promotion, and encourage them to attain their full potential.
  • Bring pleasant energy and listen: Be sympathetic and care for your followers holistically. Listen to their problems, suggestions, and criticism, and establish a good and supportive work atmosphere.
  • Think thoughtfully and communicate clearly: Develop critical thinking abilities and make educated judgments. Clearly express your objectives, goals, and vision to your staff.
  • Guide change: Embrace change and guide your team through it. Adapt to changing conditions and persuade others to accept change as well.
  • Seek self-awareness and personal development: Understand your own motivations, strengths, and flaws. Continuously concentrate on enhancing yourself as a leader.
  • Serve as a role model: Lead by example and show the characteristics and behaviours you demand from your team members. Be enthusiastic, devoted, and ethical in your acts.
  • Encourage creativity: Foster a culture of innovation and creativity. Encourage your team members to go outside the box and submit their unique ideas.

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Conclusion

Leadership involves many aspects of life, including politics, business, social organisations, and intimate relationships. They encourage and motivate people to collaborate to attain common goals and bring about good change via their choices and actions. Effective leadership can improve the world and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. 

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FAQs

How does leadership apply to management roles?

Leading and encouraging others, speaking effectively, giving advice and inspiration, and boosting productivity and progress are all examples of leadership acts. Managers who follow these well have the power to create a terrific work environment, inspiring employee engagement and driving corporate success.

What are leadership skills for effective leadership?

Team building, open communication, decisiveness, empathy, active listening, creativity, delegation, positivity, reliability, effective feedback, timely communication, flexibility, humility, risk-taking, the ability to teach and mentor, self-awareness, focus on relationship-building, credibility, a bias for action, empowerment of others, and innovation are just a few of the many skills that make up effective leadership.

How does leadership contribute to the success of a team or organisation?

Leadership is essential for an organisation's or team's success because it provides direction and vision, motivates and inspires team members, promotes communication and collaboration, and fosters unity and productivity.

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