What is Leadership? Definition, Meaning & Importance

Transformational Leadership

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things,” believed renowned management coach and author Peter F. Drucker. He used the quote to demonstrate the difference between management and leadership.

Often, it is believed that a good manager is always a good leader. However, that is not true because behaviours that make a person a good manager are often not in favour of innovation. Continue reading to know what leadership is and how it is different from management.

What is Leadership?

“The action of leading a group of people or an organisation.”

That’s how the Oxford Dictionary defines leadership. In simple words, leadership is about taking risks and challenging the status quo. Leaders motivate others to achieve something new and better. Interestingly, leaders do what they do to pursue innovation, not as an obligation. They measure success by looking at the team’s achievements and learning.

In contrast, management is about delegating responsibilities and getting people to follow the rules to reduce risk and deliver predictable outcomes. A manager is responsible for completing four critical functions: planning, organising, leading, and controlling.

Unlike leaders, managers do not challenge the status quo. Instead, they strive to maintain it. They evaluate success by seeing if the team has achieved what was expected.

Leadership vs. Management: What’s the Difference?

Leaders and managers apply different approaches to achieve their goals. For example, managers seek compliance to rules and procedures, whereas leaders thrive on breaking the norm and challenging the status quo. Here’s how leadership and management are different from each other.

  • Vision

Leaders and managers have different visions. Leaders are visionaries, whereas managers are implementers. Leaders set goals for their team. Managers ensure that the goal set by their superiors is achieved.

  • Organising vs. Aligning

Managers achieve their goals by delegating responsibilities among the team. They tactically distribute work among subordinates and organise available resources required to reach the goal.

Meanwhile, leaders motivate people. They concentrate on the personal development of their team besides working towards achieving organizational goals. They envision their team’s future growth and work towards achieving that.

  • Analysing and Assessing

A leader analyses and assesses every situation to achieve new and better results. Whereas a manager does not analyse or evaluate, they emphasise on questions like how and when, which assists them in achieving the goals. They accept and strive to achieve the status quo.

What Do Leaders Do?

Leaders are not always people who hold higher ranks in an organization. But they are people who are known for their beliefs and work ethics. A leader is passionate about their work, and they pass on their enthusiasm to their fellow workers, enabling them to achieve their goals. If you feel you do not possess the relevant skills currently, you can consider taking up one of the leadership courses or a leadership training programme.

What Are the Different Types of Leadership?

All leaders have a unique style that sets them apart from others. Hence, these different types of leadership styles will help you decide which type of leader you want to be. Accordingly, you would be able to hone your skills with the best leadership training programme. Read on.

  • Autocratic leadership

A leader who has complete control over his team is called an autocratic leader. They never bend their beliefs and rules for anyone. Additionally, their team has no say in the business decisions. Moreover, the team is expected to follow the path directed by the leader.

This archaic style of leadership has very few takers because it discourages change. And modern leaders are changing the definition of leadership and redefining what leadership is with their path-breaking decisions.

  • Laissez-Faire leadership

Laissez-Faire is derived from a French word that means ‘allow to do’. “The practice of non-interference in the affairs of others, especially with reference to individual conduct or freedom of action,’ defines dictionary.com. In this type of leadership, team members have the freedom to perform their job according to their will. They are given the freedom to bring in their perspective and intelligence in performing business functions. If you take up a leadership course, you’d get to learn about it in detail.

  • Democratic leadership

In this type of leadership, team members and leaders equally contribute to actualising business goals. Furthermore, they work together and motivate each other to achieve their personal goals too. This type of leadership leads to a positive working environment.

  • Bureaucratic leadership

In this type of leadership, leaders strictly adhere to organisational rules and policies. They make sure that their team members do the same. Bureaucratic leaders are often organised and self-motivated.

There is no right or wrong leadership style. Therefore, it is up to you to decide the kind of leader you wish to become.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Leader?

1. Honesty and Integrity: Leaders value virtuousness and honesty. They have people who believe in them and their vision.

2. Inspiration: Leaders are self-motivating, and this makes them great influencers. They are a good inspiration to their followers. They help others to understand their roles in a bigger context.

3. Communication skills: Leaders possess great communication skills. They are transparent with their team and share failures and successes with them.

4. Vision: Leaders are visionaries. They have a clear idea of what they want and how to achieve it. Being good communicators, leaders can share their vision with the team successfully.

5. Never give-up spirit: Leaders challenge the status quo. Hence, they never give up easily. They also have unique ways to solve a problem.

6. Intuitive: Leadership coach Hortense le Gentil believes that leaders should rely on intuition for making hard decisions. Especially because intuition heavily relies on a person’s existing knowledge and life learnings, which proves to be more useful in complex situations.

7. Empathy: A leader should be an emotional and empathetic fellow because it will help them in developing a strong bond with their team. Furthermore, these qualities will help a leader in addressing the problems, complaints, and aspirations of his team members.

8. Objective: Although empathy is an important quality a leader must imbibe, getting clouded by emotions while making an important business decision is not advisable. Hence, a good leader should be objective.

9. Intelligence: A good leader must be intelligent enough to arrive at business solutions to difficult problems. Furthermore, a leader should be analytical and should weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. This quality can be polished with an all-inclusive leadership training program.

10. Open-mindedness and creativity: A good leader is someone who is open to new ideas, possibilities, and perspectives. Being a good leader means understanding that there is no right way to do things. Therefore, a good leader is always ready to listen, observe, and be willing to change. They are also out-of-the-box thinkers and encourage their teams to do so. If you enrol for a leadership course, all these things will be a part of the curriculum.

11. Patient: A good leader understands that a business strategy takes time to develop and bear results. Additionally, they also believe that ‘continuous improvement and patient’ leads to success.

12. Flexible: Since leaders understand the concept of ‘continuous improvement, they also know that being adaptable will lead them to success. Nothing goes as per plan. Hence, being flexible and intuitive helps a manager to hold his ground during complex situations.

Explore Leadership Training Programmes

A good organisation needs both effective managers and leaders. The key is to match the skillset with a high-quality education degree. Emeritus believes in providing high-quality and affordable online courses across various domains, including leadership and management. They have collaborated with top-tier universities across the globe to offer quality education.

Emeritus India hosts a series of leadership courses that offer insight into the real world and help you know more about leadership. Therefore, if you wish to pursue a degree that gives you insight into becoming a good leader, enrol for an all-inclusive leadership programme.

There is no right way to determine whether someone is a good manager or a leader because the roles and responsibilities of both a manager and a leader are different. However, a good leader and a manager are the fellows who learn from their mistakes. They work on themselves and motivate others to do so. Hence, always remember the most important quality for any manager or leader is self-belief.

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Nikhil is a passionate and free-spirited writer with 4+ years of experience. He has a keen eye for the ever-evolving content landscape, which helps him craft captivating content across various genres. He writes about marketing, data science, and finance for the Emeritus Blog. Beyond work, Nikhil is a dedicated pet parent who loves leisurely walks with his beloved puppers.
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