Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill, regarding the ability of an individual or organization to "lead" or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations . In US academic environments leadership is defined as "a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task". Leadership seen from a non-academic perspective encompasses a view of a leader who can be moved both by communitarian goals but also by the search for personal power.
Leadership is a holistic spectrum that can arise from:
- Higher levels of physical power, need to display power and control others, force superiority, ability to generate fear, or group-member's need for a powerful group protector (Primal Leadership),
- Superior mental energies, superior motivational forces, perceivable in communication and behaviors, lack of fear, courage, determination (Psycho energetic Leadership),
- Higher abilities in managing the overall picture (Macro-Leadership),
- Higher abilities in specialized tasks (Micro-Leadership),
- Higher ability in managing the execution of a task (Project Leadership), and
- Higher level of values, wisdom, and spirituality (Spiritual Leadership),
where any Leader derives its Leadership from a unique mix of one or more of the former factors.
Characteristics of a Team
- There must be an awareness of unity on the part of all its members.
- There must be interpersonal relationship. Members must have a chance to contribute, and learn from and work with others.
- The members must have the ability to act together toward a common goal.
Ten characteristics of well-functioning teams:
- Purpose: Members proudly share a sense of why the team exists and are invested in accomplishing its mission and goals.
- Priorities: Members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and by when to achieve team goals.
- Roles: Members know their roles in getting tasks done and when to allow a more skillful member to do a certain task.
- Decisions: Authority and decision-making lines are clearly understood.
- Conflict: Conflict is dealt with openly and is considered important to decision-making and personal growth.
- Personal traits: members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well utilized.
- Norms: Group norms for working together are set and seen as standards for every one in the groups.
- Effectiveness: Members find team meetings efficient and productive and look forward to this time together.
- Success: Members know clearly when the team has met with success and share in this equally and proudly.
- Training: Opportunities for feedback and updating skills are provided and taken advantage of by team members.
Leadership, although largely talked about, has been described as one of the least understood concepts across all cultures and civilizations. Over the years, many researchers have stressed the prevalence of this misunderstanding, stating that the existence of several flawed assumptions, or myths, concerning leadership often interferes with individuals' conception of what leadership is all about.
- Leadership is innate
- Leadership is possessing power over others
- Leaders are positively influential
- Leaders entirely control group outcomes
- All groups have a designated leader
- Group members resist leaders