Essay Example about Leadership: Theory and Practice

Published: 2022-04-18
Essay Example about Leadership: Theory and Practice
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership analysis
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1311 words
11 min read

Leadership is a term that has over time had its mean defined and re-defined. Depending on the researcher's point of view, leadership finds a different meaning every time depending on the context of the situation or application. It has been said that leadership has as many meanings as the number of people who have tried to define it. Many people understand what leadership it, however putting the meaning to the word is difficult because every time someone will try to define it according to their understanding (Northouse, 2015).

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After many years of trying to come up with a common definition of leadership, scholars came into agreement that one definition cannot be concluded, however, there was one agreement and that was that leadership has the following aspects in it; it is a process, it involves influence, it manifests itself among groups and it involves common goals. Therefore, according to the book referenced in this essay, leadership was defined as, a process in which a person influences a set of individuals to attain a similar goal.

The text focuses on leadership as an inter-relationship between leaders and followers. The two sets of individuals rely on each other for the aspect of leadership to come in play meaning that no one is superior or inferior to the other. According to this chapter, leadership assumes different natures and they end up conflicting with daily norms for example; how trait differs from process leadership, how appointment and emergence of leaders differs and how coercion, power and the aspect of management generally differ from leadership.

Trait Versus Process Leadership

Individuals often look at a certain characteristic of a person and use that to determine if one qualifies to be a good leader or not. The characteristics often looked at include; physical features like weight and height, personality traits like extroverted people and traits like language fluency and intelligence. Looking at physical properties or the above characteristics could limit leadership because a person would be convinced that if they do not possess certain traits that it means they cannot and may never be leaders. However, leadership as a process as defined in this chapter shows that leadership is an interaction between the leaders and followers and thus it is something that can be learned and one does not necessarily have to be born with those traits (Poitras, Hill, Hamel, Pelletier, 2015).

Appointment Versus Emergence of Leaders

Assigned leaders are people who are appointed due to certain qualities or due to positions that they hold in an organization. Some of the times these appointed leaders do not end up performing up to everyone's expectations. Emergent leaders are people in an organization whom exhibit qualities of influence, commitment to the job, coming up with new ideas and seeking others opinions. These people do not initially want to be leaders but with the growing development and interest in the organization they end up making some of the best leaders (Reid, Dold, 2017).Power and Leadership

Power has been defined as the ability of an individual to influence. It is a common thing to view people in leadership positions as people having power, this is because they are able to influence individuals on different concepts. Over the years the concept of people in leadership positions having power has evolved and nowadays power is actually seen as being in the position of the followers. In many organizations, power is classified into two, that is position power which is derived from a particular position or rank and personal power which is the capacity of influence a leader derives from being liked by the people. Coercion, on the other hand, is also a form of power but in this case, the people are made to do something against their own will. It involves the use of force, threats, and punishment on the followers.

Leadership and Management

Leadership is closely related to management because they both involve the element of influence. Both of them involve working with individuals and the accomplishments of goals effectively. However, leadership traces back millions of years ago during the ancient times where leaders were looked upon for direction, council and a sense of safety, whereas management emerged with the rise of industrialization in pursuit of finding order and reducing chaos in organizations.

The Imperfect Board Member

David is a businessman who is completely dedicated to his work to an extent where he does not get time for his times sometimes. He bumped into his old friend, Trevor at a community meeting in his neighborhood and after interacting with him he discovered that he had so many things he could learn from him that would help him in his everyday interactions, from his workplace to his home (Brown, 2007).

David was chosen to be a board member of his neighborhood's community development group. This was a voluntary position, meaning that they were not paid but they contributed to it free of charge. According to David, this was a complete waste of time and he did not see any progress that could be made by the board. Having been frustrated by his own board at his work, he was convinced that such a board especially a voluntary one could not amount to anything resourceful.

The first thing that Trevor told David was that the purpose of the board was to direct and protect and this had David thinking to a point where he anticipated meeting up with Trevor because he liked the way he saw things from a different perspective. They had their first board meeting several weeks later and David was amazed to find out that every board member arrived on time. He was convinced that everyone would arrive late and he, therefore, decided to lag behind for a while. Upon arriving late he found almost everyone had introduced themselves and had said their visions for the board.

After the meeting, David was curious as to why the chairman of the board insisted on everyone intruding themselves as he saw this as a waste of time. He met up with his friend Trevor whom he asked that question. Trevor replied that in order for the board to direct and protect the people of their community they, first of all, had to connect. David saw this as an important tool that he would use in his next board meetings. In their conversation, Trevor explained a lot of things that David saw to be useful in his next meetings and how he would manage his board.

He learned that he does not always have to wait for everyone to arrive in order to start meetings and in the case where a member was late, they would be penalized accordingly. He also learned that he could use some structured conversation during the meetings in order to get the contribution of everyone without necessarily having every board member contribute. Trevor also explained to David of a working structure, in which everyone had their roles in a company and how breaking the chain of command could hurt the company's runnings. David saw that as a very helpful plan as it explained; communication, accountability, and authority which is a matter that normally brings issues to many companies and finally brings their collapse. At the end of the day, David learned a lot of things about leadership that would help him with how he ran his own company and how he would also interact with his family at the same time.


Brown, J (2007). The Imperfect Board Member: Discovering the Seven Principles of Good Governance. New Jersey, Wiley.

Northouse, P (2015). Leadership: Theory and Practice, 7th edition. California. Sage Publications.

Poitras, J., Hill, K., Hamel, V., & Pelletier, F. B. (2015). Managerial Mediation Competency: A MixedMethod Study. Negotiation Journal, 31(2), 105-129.

Reid, W. M., & Dold, C. J. (2017). Leadership Training and the Problems of Competency Development. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 23(1), 73-80.

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