According to many management theorists, four basic management functions exist. These are planning, organizing, directing, and controlling. Directing is an essential function in any enterprise. In fact, directing helps managers ensure quality performance and achieve the organization’s goals.
There are four primary elements of directing – supervising, motivating, leadership, and communication. Today, we will explore leadership and its characteristics.
Elements of Directing – Leadership
Leadership is a process which managers use to guide, direct, and influence the work of their subordinates in the desired direction. It is also the ability of the manager to induce the employees to work confidently and with vigour.
In simple words, leadership skills allow a manager to influence others for the realization of a goal. Further, leaders must have an eye set on the future and motivate people to achieve the visions. Keith Davis defines leadership as follows:
‘Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor which binds a group together and motivates it towards goals.‘
Of all the elements of directing, leadership is the most important for the realization of the organization’s goals.
Characteristics of Leadership
- Leadership is an interpersonal process where a manager influences and guides workers for achieving the organization’s goals.
- A good leader needs to be intelligent, mature, and have a strong personality.
- Leadership is a group process and needs at least two (or more) people interacting with each other.
- A leader can shape and mold the behaviour of a group in the direction he wants.
- There are no best leadership styles. A good leader understands that he needs to tackle the situations as they arise.
How can a manager cultivate a leadership attitude?
Interpersonal relationships between a leader and the followers are integral to the success of a leader. Therefore, in order to cultivate leadership skills, a manager must try to improve his attitude towards his subordinates.
While knowledge, understanding, and other skills are also important, a leadership attitude can get things done when the going gets tough. Here are some behavioural patterns that are important for a leader:
A leader is always aware of the factors which can lead to success as well as failure. Further, he is clearly aware of his job, the people involved, and the situational considerations for maximum efficiency.
(source – picserver)
Empathy is the ability to look at a situation from someone else’s perspective. This is a quality which is a must for a good leader. In an organization, many managers assume that their subordinates will look at situations as they perceive them.
However, every individual has different experiences and perceive situations differently. Therefore, it is important for managers to have empathy as a personality trait so that they can put themselves in the position of their subordinates and understand their issues and perspectives.
Many managers tend to have preconceived notions about situations or the attitude and behaviour of their subordinates. Usually, these notions tend to guide them in the wrong direction and also away from the team. Therefore, they must learn the skill of observing problems and their probable causes objectively.
No manager wants to be unfair or overly emotional in his dealings and thinks that he is doing a good job. However, his subordinates might think otherwise.
Therefore, a manager should always know how his subordinates perceive him and the effect of his attitude and behaviour toward them.
In fact, this can be helpful in fine-tuning the leadership style to suit the team. Self-Awareness can also help a manager improve and cultivate habits which can garner better support from the subordinates.
Solved Question for You
Question: What are the characteristics of leadership?
The characteristics of leadership are:
- It is an interpersonal process involving at least two (or more) people.
- Intelligence, maturity, and also a strong personality are the essential traits of a good leader.
- Leadership skills allow managers to mold the behaviour of their subordinates as they want.
- It is primarily about tackling situations as they arise.