What is Leadership?
The purpose of this paper is to introduce, discuss, and analyze the topic of leadership. Specifically it will discuss what leadership is, and what makes a great leader. Leadership can be anything from a fine commander on the battlefield to a bold CEO of a floundering company. It can occur at just about any age, and it is much more than simply wielding power, as this analysis clearly shows. Great leaders are not merely born; many of them develop their leadership styles through study, trial, and error, and the experience of success. Great leaders are as concerned about others as they are with themselves, and they are always concerned with change and growth of the organization and the people around them.
Many times, people confuse "management" with leadership, because managers and leaders have much in common. They both have power, they both use their power to run a business or operation effectively, and they both have other people that rely on them for information, ideas, and the direction of their daily activities. However, there are some vast differences between the two. A husband and wife writer team notes, "In contrast to the notion of 'management,' which suggests preservation or maintenance, 'leadership' implies a process where there is movement- from wherever we are now to some future place or condition that is different" (Astin & Astin). Managers push papers, influence those around them, and "handle" things, while true leaders take charge and make change, and that may be the most important aspect of a great leader.
Great leaders also maintain a value system that supports change and growth, and supports others. Good leaders want the people around them to succeed, and so they possess nurturing and supportive values that help others succeed. They create areas where people are respected and valued, and then support them in doing their jobs or activities, rather than monitoring or regimenting them. The Astins con