After years of working as an academician and management trainer, coach and consultant, I daresay that no organization can survive in today’s business environment, unless there is a strong leadership ahead. It is, definitely, one of the most important concepts in the world of business, widely used by scholars and practitioners and also long a topic of interest among historians and philosophers.
Indeed, the concept of leadership has been around since such great leaders as Sun Tzu, Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and many other outstanding and powerful historical leaders. Statesmen and military generals have long been the subjects of central interest in empirical studies of leadership. However, since the first attempts at defining leadership in a scientific way, there have been many different definitions of this complex phenomenon: indeed, scholars have defined it in many different ways. More specifically, leadership has been linked to many other topics such as followership, vision (shared purpose), change, inspiration and motivation, personal responsibility and integrity, influence and many more.
In the academic world of business, leadership can be defined or studied from many perspectives; these are individual, dyadic (one to one), group (one to many) and organizational (one to the whole organization). What I personally like (and emphasize on in my training workshops and seminars) is what is called “Transcendent leadership” which talks about “the strategic leader who leads within and amongst the levels of self (being proactive and self-aware in developing and improving self), others (influencing others), and organization (the alignment of three key areas of environment, strategy, and organization)”. Managers can achieve high performance for their companies only if they display a high level of leadership in all three areas of self, others and organization.
What organizations need the most is leaders who are proactive and self-aware in improving and developing themselves, able to communicate and influence the members of their organizations effectively, and also able to create an alignment amongst their surrounding environment, organization and strategy.
What is your opinion about that? How do you think we can look at leaders and leadership? Do you think talking about leadership from individual perspective is enough for us to understand this phenomenon?
I have discussed this issue in more detail in my recent book.