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Leadership, Present Problems - Essay Example

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Leadership, Present Problems

Followers often endow the leader with status or prestige. Aside from the prestige-role sometimes granted to inspirational leaders, a more mundane usage of the word "leadership" can designate current front-runners that exercise influence over competitors, for example, a corporation or a product can hold a position of "market leadership" without any implication of permanence or of merited respect. Note that the ability to influence others does form an integral part of the "leadership" of some but not all front-runners. A front-runner in a sprint may "lead" the race, but does not have a position of "leadership" if he does not have the potential to influence others in some way. Thus one can make an important distinction between "being in the lead" and the process of leadership. Leadership implies a relationship of power - the power to guide others. In 1994 House and Podsakoff attempted to summarize the behaviors and approaches of "outstanding leaders" that they obtained from some more modern theories and research findings2.
Power obviously is a pervasive reality in the life process of all modern-day organizations. Leaders regularly acquire and use power to accomplish specific work goals and to strengthen their own positions vis--vis the reading of general or organizational goals. It is possible to see every interaction and every social relationship in an organization as involving an exercise of power3. Hence the term power, influence and Leadership are full of ambiguity for a layperson, or within political contexts. Control under organizational change can be transformed into opportunity that exercise influence over the organization of work, and thus create opportunity for sustained growth. Leadership process has been conceptualized in numerous ways ranging from a hierarchical process to a dynamic group process. For example, charismatic and transformation theories have stressed the importance of group processes (Northouse, 1997)4. In contrast, military leadership has historically stressed the importance of tenacity, willpower and the ability to impose direction through rank (Horn, 2000)5. Thus, the role of power and the appropriate use of different types of power within each of these models differ significantly. Again, French and Raven's6 taxonomy of the six bases of power can be subsumed under Bass' position and personal dichotomy of power7. Specifically, legitimate, reward, coercive, and information power all fit under position power; while expert power and referent power can be classified as personal power. But, interestingly rather than focusing exclusively on power as a source of potential influence, research has examined the specific types of behavior used to exercise power. Abusive leadership produces negative outcomes at both individual and organizational levels. Quine (1999)8 found that staff that had been bullied had significantly lower levels of job satisfaction and higher levels of job induced stress, depression, anxiety, and intention to leave the job, compared to non-bullied staff. From depression to reduced productivity at work, bullying may cost organizations billions of dollars through absenteeism, high staff turnover, and legal action ...Show more

Summary

At the micro-level, the leader is concerned with influence between individuals, and at the macro-level there are leadership activities targeted on changing social systems and reforming organizations (Burns, 1978)1.
House defines "leadership" organizationally and narrowly as "the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members" (House, R…
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Leadership, Present Problems essay example
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