Leadership Theory and Practices


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Introduction To Leadership

A very renowned and popular saying about leaders is that “they are not born, in fact, they are made”. In other words, leaders are made with hard efforts and this is only the price, which all individuals in an organization are required to pay in order to accomplish the goals of the organization (Northouse, 2012).

Definition Of Leadership

According to Northouse, leadership is not simply a trait or feature, which resides in an individual; rather it is a transactional event that takes place between the leader and the followers (Northouse, 2012). Further, in other words, it can be said that it is a process, which affects and is affected by the followers. Other than this, there are many definitions being given by a range of scholars and authors. All of them have demonstrated the same concept, but the way through which it has been expressed to others is quite different (Lees & Mabey, 2007).

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Four Characteristics Described In Kouzes And Posner

Kouzes and Posner in their book “The Leadership Challenge” have defined four main characteristics that must be possessed by leaders in order to become effective as well as persuade people to willingly follow the leader. These features are honesty, inspiring, forward-looking and competent (Bolden, 2004).

  • Honesty – This is considered the single most important feature that should reside in leaders. Whether individuals follow the direction of a leader in a battle or in a boardroom, they always insist that he must be ethical, truthful as well as principled (Burke & Cooper, 2006). Further, all followers are looking for integrity, honesty and character in their leaders, as these factors help in tiding them to the values and culture.
  • Inspiring – The next attribute is inspiring. People expect their leaders to be inspiring, and who can motivate others to do the task more efficiently. He or she must be energetic, and enthusiastic and must possess a positive attitude towards the future (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). If leaders are able to inspire people while defining the content of the work then they can make the context of the work quite meaningful.
  • Forward-looking – This feature is in fact the most important one, which all leaders must engross. Individuals in the organization expect their leaders to have a sense of direction as well as concern for the future of the company. Nobody will be going to follow that leader who is lost. Thus, in order to be an effective and good leader, he or she must have a clear destination in their intellect.
  • Competent – Competent is defined as a leader’s track record of getting things done. People want their leaders to have basic comprehension in relation to the fundamentals of a particular industry, professional or service environment and market, although they know that they can’t be expected to possess technical knowledge about the nitty-gritty of the business (Jung & Avolio, 1999).

Kouzes And Posner Characteristics And Trait Approach Of Northouse

All the above features being defined by Kouzes and Posner will add up to make a leader more credible and this is being regarded as the foundation of leadership. Further, these attributes are indicative of the trait approach of Northouse. The trait approach was also a systematic attempt to study leadership (Katharine, 2010).

Leader Exemplifying The Above Definition And Features

The leader, which has demonstrated the above-stated four features is “Robert A McDonald”. He is the CEO of Procter and Gamble. He has significantly adopted various approaches and traits in order to achieve a competitive edge over the other rival firms in the market (Robert McDonald, 2012).

How Robert A Mcdonald Used These Characteristics To Increase The Effectiveness Of The Organization?

Robert A McDonald is very honest and inspiring. Through these features, the company is growing at a skyrocketing pace. He always used to inspire people to perform better. Always keeps himself enthusiastic in each and every situation and the result of this is that the employees come up with innovative ideas, and certainly the firm is tremendously achieving a competitive edge over others (Procter & Gamble Co/The (PG: New York), n.d).

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Example Of Situation When I Demonstrated The Above Characteristics

I do possess these qualities and features and I have also demonstrated the same on some occasions. I have participated in various quiz competitions, where I have exemplified my competence and stood first. Another example illustrates by the inspiring feature. During my graduation, my college organized many events for social welfare, wherein a blood donation camp was shouldered on me. Through positive energy, attitude and enthusiasm, I have inspired many people to donate blood and put their hand in this noble cause.


Attributing to the above discussion, it can be said that leadership is a well-defined process that helps influence the behaviour of people with an aim to achieve the ultimate goals of the organization (Ball, 2008). It is the key to leading the company to the path of success and growth. Further, he or she is required to possess certain characteristics as described by Kouzes and Posner in order to be effective in their field.


Books and Journals

  • Ball, B. C. (2008). Determining the Role of Community College Presidents in the Implementation of Institutional Effectiveness. Morgan State University.
  • Bolden, R. (2004). What is leadership? Leadership Southwest Research Report. pp 5-7 and 28-30.
  • Burke, R. & Cooper, C. (2006). The new world of work and organizations: Implications for human resource management. Human Resource Management Review. 16(2).pp.83-85.
  • Jung, D. I. & Avolio, B. J. (1999). Effects of leadership style and follower’s cultural orientation on performance in group and individual task conditions. 42(2), pp.208-218.
  • Kouzes, J. M. & Posner, B. Z. (2007). The leadership challenge. 4thed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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