Leadership can refer to a person who is a leader, to a trend-setter, an influential group or even a product that influences other products in the marketplace. Leadership insinuates that someone, or indeed something, is the receiver of respect and has status but most of all it is associated with power and authority. Just to have power should not be confused with leadership, however; there also needs to be the ability to influence others.
Qualities of Leadership
To fulfill a leadership role, there must be talent and charisma. Leaders must have a clear purpose or sense of mission. To encourage others and the ability to delegate are also seen as important. For some, leadership traits depend on the type of followers. Theories abound but most would agree that successful leadership usually involves some kind of vision and movement toward a collective goal.
Process of Leadership
In order to be a legitimate and effective holder of power and authority, there is a process which needs be followed. There is no one process, however. There is the traditional way of selecting a leader because of bloodline or seniority as happens in monarchies or tribal chiefdoms. Then there is the more modern electoral system where leaders are chosen because of skill, character or any of a number of reasons that appeal to voters.
Leaders and Followers
In order to have a leader, there must be followers. The relationship between the two defines the type of leadership. Leaders are found not only in the political or business arenas but also anywhere people have relationships – some children may find leadership in a classmate or teacher, some may find leaders in friends or peers. Leaders can also be found in the animal world, the most obvious examples being chimpanzees and wolves.