What is leadership? Leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization. From Abraham Lincoln, who had powerful persistence as he kept his nation together during the Civil War and signing the Emancipation Proclamation, which helped to end slavery in the United States to Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her bus seat and comply with racists segregation policies in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, (lifehack, n.d.), leaders have been able to pull together the support largely because they have had integrity. Leadership has always been a positive word all throughout, associating with people who not only have a positive attitude but also a focused approach.
The Arcade Dictionary of Word Origins explains the trace “a prehistoric West and North Germaniclaithjan,” which was derived from laitho, meaning way or journey, from which comes the English word load. Etymologically then, lead means to go along one’s way. ( Benedictine University, n.d.) The word “leader” entered the English language around the year 1300 and the methodical study of leadership began over 600 years later in the 1930’s. Over the last 75 years leadership has literally been defined in hundreds of different ways by both academics and practitioners. (Holistictoolkit.com, n.d.) Leadership has been a significant presence in the recorded history of humans and it is one of the world’s oldest obsessions, rivaling in age the very emergence of civilization. The topic of leadership is familiar to all peoples and it knows no cultural boundaries. ( Benedictine University, n.d.)
There can be a lot of characteristics that associate with leadership like the above mentioned, having a positive attitude and a focused approach but other than that having a decisive mind, being an empowering character, having communicative ability and also not to forget having an empathetic nature contribute to leadership immensely. (lifehack, n.d.) All of these are leadership qualities, or traits rather, are must haves for a proper leader. For example, Abraham Lincoln, he sure had a positive attitude even after losing 27 elections before getting the presidency finally. His determination was not suppressed. He had a focused goal to abolish slavery and treat every citizen equally once he became the 16th president of the United States. Lincoln’s father was a wood cutter and he was very poor. He observed how brutally the slaves were treated by the white people. He had sympathy towards the slaves. The truly had a charismatic, an empowering and an empathetic nature. Moreover, he was a very good speaker, it is said that he used to practice his speaking and communication skills by talking to the trees in a jungle.
Over the course of history, there have been plenty of leaders and there still are leaders today whose main aim is to make a difference to our world and to make it a better place for all of us. Firstly, in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor who had bold courage, was the first woman justice on the Supreme Court. O’Connor served as the swing vote on a number of important cases for controversial issues like abortion, affirmative action, election law, sexual harassment and the death penalty. She serves as a powerful example for women in the legal profession and is a reminder that great leaders are not afraid to stand for justice, even when their peers do not agree with their beliefs. Secondly, humble sacrifice of Nelson Mandela, as the first South African president elected in fully democratic elections, he and his country move past an era of apartheid after serving almost 30 years in prison. Even after being imprisoned for so many years, he is a reminder that great leaders must often sacrifice their personal comfort to accomplish their goals. Finally, Angelina Jolie’s concept of “giving more, taking less”. Angelina Jolie has distinguished herself by becoming a humanitarian and focusing much of her attention on how she can use her influence to give to others. She joined the UN’s refugee agency in 2001 as a goodwill ambassador and then as a special envoy, which has enabled her to take 50 field missions to countries like Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. She has used her global influence to bring attention to women rights issues in war-torn countries and other humanitarian challenges. Her ability to focus on how she can use her position of influence to give more to those in need is a reminder that great leaders give far more than they take. (lifehack, n.d.)
Furthermore, there are the different types of leadership styles that exist in work environments. It’s only the culture and goals of an organization that determines which type of leadership suits to the firm. (Management study HQ, n.d.) There are two main types of leaderships those include transactional leadership and transformational leadership. Additionally there are three main styles of leaderships. Firstly Autocratic leadership, for example, Hitler was an autocratic leader because nobody had a say in what happened and they couldn’t speak out against his regime or they’d be killed. Second style is Democratic Style, for example, Obama is a democratic leader because the elected members of the government have a say just as much as he does. Lastly, Laissez-faire Style, for instance, Ghandi was a laissez-faire leader because he encouraged peaceful protesting and he didn’t direct the group, they all came together to work towards a common goal.
At present, leadership is the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization. Leadership is found and required in most aspects of society, from business to politics to region to community-based organizations. It’s not so surprising that even animals show great leadership. For example, wolves and elephants make great leaders and role models to their species. Great leaders have the ability to make strategic and visionary decisions and convince others to follow those decisions. The consensus is leaders create a vision and can successfully get others to work toward achieving that goal. They do this by setting direction and inspiring others to want to succeed in achieving the end result. Moreover, they are capable of getting people excited and motivated to work toward the vision. Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower articulated this idea when he said, ‘Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” (TechTarget, n.d.)