Here is a compilation of essays on ‘Leadership’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Leadership’ especially written for school and college students.

Essay on Leadership

Essay Contents:

  1. Essay on the Introduction to Leadership
  2. Essay on the Meaning of Leadership
  3. Essay on the Types of Leadership
  4. Essay on the Trait Theory of Leadership
  5. Essay on Leadership Styles Based on Authority
  6. Essay on the Style of Leadership
  7. Essay on the Approaches to Leadership
  8. Essay on Ingredients Required to become a Successful Leader

Essay # 1. Introduction to Leadership:

Leadership is one of the most important aspects of studies of human behaviour in organization. It is the leader who creates working environment. The success of an organization depends upon the efficiency of the leader. It is the attributes, positive approach and the ability to solve problems that make a person leader. Leader should be able to turn the hopeless situation in favour.

In the environment of tough competition in the market where it is undergoing financial recession, layoffs is the order of the day, market is facing poor demand for product because everybody has enough and poor or no growth situation persists. In this situation leader should not loose his balance but turn the situation in his favour. He should be able to evolve techniques and lead the organization to win-win strategy.

Leader should be able to motivate employees. All leaders are not managers as they have to work in non-organized sectors while the managers work in the organized sectors. All managers should be leaders so that they are able to work efficiently. Warren and Benin have identified certain criteria between manager and a leader.

The same is given below:

Comperesion Between Manager and Leader Characteristics

Essay # 2. Meaning of Leadership:

Leadership means to inspire confidence and trust so that there is maximum cooperation from the employees within the control of a manager. Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically.

Although many definitions of leadership could be cited, the most would depend on the theoretical orientation taken. Besides influence, leadership has been defined in terms of group processes, personality, and compliance particular behaviour, persuasion, power, goal achievement, and interaction, role differentiation, initiation of structure, and combination of two or more of these leaders has an ability to lead effectively.

He is visionary and accomplishes objective by using discretion (authority). It is generally seen that good leader achieves willing obedience of their subordinates. They follow the leader unquestioned because he fulfils their desires, wants and needs. Leadership can be defined as influence, that is, the area or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically towards achievement of group goals.

People should be brought to such a pitch of their devotion to duty that they not only work willingly, but also work with utmost zeal. The leaders are like front line captain, who not only inspires his soldiers by physical presence but also brings down accurate fire from supporting weapons (utilizing skills) and displays high degree of bravery and is not perturbed by danger of enemy fire. Leader instills values of honesty, takes calculated risk and displays concern for employees and customers. They do not stand and wait to see in despair things taking shape.

Essay # 3. Types of Leadership:

The three relatively distinct leadership styles are:

1. Authoritarian,

2. Democratic, and

3. Laissez-Faire.

1. Authoritarian Leadership:

It is felt that this technique is old-fashioned, but it works well in many cases. The leader makes all the decisions (no matter it is right or not) and demands obedience from the people he supervises. All policies are determined by the leader without consulting the subordinates. The leader dictates to the subordinates, the techniques and activity steps, he tells them what to do next, he does not inform them about future plans and thus future steps always remain uncertain to a large degree.

The leader decides the particular work task for a person and the work companion of each person (worker). The leader tends to be personal in his praise and criticism of the work of each member (worker). The leader remains aloof from active group participation except when demonstrating. Authoritarian leadership is negative because the subordinates remain uninformed, they feel insecure and remain afraid of the leader. In authoritarian leadership, there is a tighter control and supervision over the persons (i.e. sub­ordinates).

Authoritarian leadership succeeds where:

(i) Subordinates shirk work but want security.

(ii) Subordinates do not want to take initiative.

The advantages of Authoritarian leadership are that:

(i) Decisions can be taken quickly.

(ii) Some people who simply work for fear of punishment remain disciplined and devoted towards the tasks given to them.

2. Democratic leadership:

Democratic leadership is most popular today. The leader discusses and consults his subordinates. He draws ideas from them, supervises and lets them help set policy. A democratic leader promotes participation of subordinates and develops strong team work. All policies come out of group discussions, the subordinates being constantly encouraged and assisted by the leader. The leader gives decision only after consulting his subordinates.

Actually the decision emerges out of the subordinate group itself. Subordinates know the long term plans on which they are supposed to work, thus they are kept well informed. Division of tasks is left upon the group; individuals are free to work with whomsoever they choose. A democratic leader is objective ox fact-minded in his praise and criticism; he tries to be a regular group member in spirit without doing too much of the work.

Democratic leadership:

(i) Motivates subordinates to work, and improves their attitude towards work.

(ii) Promotes healthier relations between workers and management.

(iii) Minimizes employee-grievances.

(iv) Raises the employee-morale.

Democratic leadership works very well if the subordinates (also) feel their responsibility, tend to be reasonable and do not take undue advantage of the democratic leadership.

Free Rein or Laissez-Faire Leadership:

This is the most difficult to use type of leadership. The leader acts as an information centre and exercises minimum of control. The leader depends upon subordinate’s sense of responsibility and good judgement to get the work done.

There is a complete freedom for group or individual decision, with a minimum of leader participation. The leader supplies various materials, gives information when asked but takes no other part in work discussion.

The leader makes no attempt to appraise or regulate the course of events. Actually, a Free Rein leader does not lead the subordinates but leaves them entirely to themselves; the responsibility for accomplishing most of the work lies on the shoulders of the subordinates.

The subordinate group establishes its own goals and solves its own problems. The leader is simply a contact man, he ignores leader’s contribution, he intervenes least and avoids power. Free Rein leadership can work only if the subordinates are highly educated, brilliant and they possess good sense of responsibility.

Essay # 4. Trait Theory of Leadership:

Not all managers are effective leaders and not all leaders are effective managers. It is therefore difficult to identify effective managers and leaders. Early studies of leaders defined them by traits they were supposed to exhibit. Sometimes it was also called “attributes” that the leader possesses. The theory therefore was called “trait theory” or attribute theory of leadership. It is also known as “great man’s” theory.

A leader might be described as loyal, brave, trustworthy or companionate. But all these qualities may not be found in a successful leader. Therefore long fist of unending traits may be listed as desirable for a leader. Despite these difficulties, Davis3 has identified four characteristics that leader tends to have. They are more likely to be present in middle and upper-level managers than in those who hold lower-level supervisory positions.

Their characteristics are as under:-

1. Intelligence:

Leaders tend to have higher degree of intelligence than their followers.

2. Social Maturity and Breadth:

Leaders have a tendency to be emotionally mature and to have a broad range of interests. They are members of somewhat exclusive social club.

3. Inner Motivation and Achievement Drives:

Leaders want to accomplish things, when they achieve one goal they seek out another. They are inner motivated and do not depend on outside forces for their motivation.

4. Human Relations Attitude:

Leaders are able to work effectively with other persons. They understand that to accomplish any task they must be considerate of others. Many studies of traits have been undertaken.

Ralph. M.stogdill found following traits in a effective leader:

Physical Traits:

Such as Energy, appearance, height, intelligence, ability and personality traits such as adaptability, aggressiveness, enthusiasm and self-confidence. They also have task related characteristics such as achievement drive, persistence and initiative and social drive like cooperativeness, interpersonal skills and administrative ability. Not all leaders possess all the traits.

Trait theory of leadership gives no guidance as to how much of any trait a leader should have. The theory is not conclusive. Most of the traits identified in successful leaders are actually the pattern of behaviour.

Another way of analyzing leadership behaviour in terms of skill possessed by the leader. There are three types of skills, which are required to be used appropriately at different levels of management.

These are shown in figure below:

Proportions of Skill required

Human skills are important for all the levels of management. They are concerned with interpersonal relationship between managers and other persons who come in contact with the leader. The leaders apply internal motivation to the employees so that their willing obedience and cooperation is obtained.

Technical skill involves the ability of employees to know the technical aspect and operation and maintenance of machine, tools and allied fixture they work with. Lower level managers who are in close contact with workers have to know it in greater details as compared to higher managerial cadre. The former spends considerable time on utilization of technical skills.

Conceptual skill involves the ability to view the organization in strategic term. It is most important for top level management where long term planning and futuristic thinking is required. As managers move to higher position in the organization they must develop and utilize the conceptual skill increasingly.

But at times managers are found wanting of this skill. Training, development and exposure to various situations would make the managers to cope up with higher responsibility, based on skill, maturity and understanding.

Essay # 5. Leadership Styles Based on Authority:

i. Autocratic Leadership:

This type of leadership is practiced by the managers concentrating on power and authority within themselves. Leader expects high degree of compliance by subordinates; he is dogmatic and positive in his approach.

Manager exhibiting this type of style has the ability and enforces decision by use of rewards and fear of punishment. Communication tends to be primarily in one direction from manager to follower. Some autocratic leaders are seen as “benevolent autocrat.” Though they listen considerably to their followers’ opinion before making any decision, the decision remains to be their own.

They seemingly consider their subordinate’s ideas but when it comes to decision making they are more autocratic than benevolent. An advantage of autocratic leadership is the speed of decision-making, as the leader does not have to obtain group members approval.

Autocratic Leaders

However there appears to be a low morale syndrome on the group members because their views are not given due consideration and may resent the decision and support the same as little as possible. The pattern of communication with subordinates and influence exercised over them in various leadership styles is given in figure above.

Flow of Communication and Influence

ii. Democratic or Participative Leadership:

In contrast to autocratic leadership, democratic or participative leader consults subordinates encourages participation in decision-making. In the process of interaction with subordinates, democratic leader suggest actions or decisions and obtains views of those under him. He has respect for subordinate’s views and does not act without their concurrence. The leader is supportive.

This style of leadership has various advantages, which include high morale and support of subordinates, smooth implementation due to subordinates being party to decision making.

Because of the participation of subordinates, the quality of decisions is better as compared to the autocratic leader. Disadvantages include slower decision, lack of accountability for decisions per se and possible compromise in the process of trying to please majority of the people involved in decision-making.

iii. Laissez-Faire Leadership:

A leader who practices laissez-faire leadership is also called “free rein” leader who uses his power very little giving subordinates full freedom of action and independence for setting their goals and means of achieving them. This type of leaders depends heavily on subordinates and sees their role as one of aiding the operation of followers by furnishing required information when asked for and acts only as contact between various departments and outside agencies (external environment).

Here the leader attempts to exercise very little control or influence over the group members. Such type of leadership style promotes individual growth and freedom of action for goal setting. However, the loose control by the leader over the group may lead to lack of group cohesiveness and unity of purposes toward organizational objective. This may ultimately lead to inefficiency and even worse to chaos.

Essay # 6. Style of leadership:

“Managerial Grid” style of leadership was developed by Robert Blake and Jane mouton. The managerial grid model explains concern of a manager for production and people. Blake and mouton’s model helps to measure a managers relative concern for people and task and reflects bi-directional nature of leadership.

The managerial grid shown at figure identifies a range of management behaviour based on the various ways that the task oriented and employee oriented styles, which have been explained as a continuum on a scale of 1 to 9.

Blake and mouton have very clearly emphasized the concern for people and production. Concern for people includes such elements as degree of personal commitment towards goal achievement, maintenance of self-esteem of people, assigning task based on trust, provision of good working conditions and maintenance of good inter-personal relationship.

When a manager has concern for people, he is more worried about fulfillment of various need factors that are included in hygiene factors of McGregor in his motivational style. As far as the leadership style that displays concern for production includes elements like output of the workers, work efficiency, quality of policy decisions, various processes and procedures that are followed during the production line.

It also includes creativity, research and development undertaken, quality of product produced and last but not the least services provided by the staff. Let us now study four styles of leadership.

Managerial Grid

Impoverished Management 1:1:

Under this style (as shown in the figure-left bottom corner,) is referred to as impoverished management or Laissze-faire type of management. Managers do not involve themselves with the work or people, they only mark time and have abandoned their job. They act as messenger to pass information from superiors to subordinates.

They neither display any concern for people nor for the production. They display minimum involvement in the job they are assigned to. This amount to exertion of minimum efforts on the part of leader to get required work done is appropriate to sustain organizational membership.

Team Management 9:9:

At the extreme opposite is team management style of leadership where managers mesh interest of people and production needs in the balanced manner. Their involvement is total. They are real team leaders who have full knowledge, skill and aptitude for job and also concern for the welfare of workers.

Blake and Mouton argue strongly that style 9:9 is the most effective management style. They believe, this leadership approach will, in all situations, result in improved performance, low absenteeism, and turnover and high job satisfaction.

Country Club Management 1:9:

Leaders who follow this style of leadership display very high concern for people and very little interest for production. They create a very relaxed and friendly environment. There are no organizational goals and exist very loose style of functioning. The working environment is workers welfare oriented.

Autocratic-Task Oriented 9:1:

This leadership style concentrates on setting of organizational goals, development of effective operations systems, utilization of organizational resources, achievement of objectives and stress on quality of work and production. The leader functions in an autocratic way with no or very little concern for people.

Middle of the Road Management 5:5:

Managers have both concern for people and production. They set moderate production goals and achieve them. They have equal concern for people and work. They achieve reasonably satisfactory results in maintain high morale of workers and meet production requirements. The managerial grid is widely used model for training and development of managers.

The model cannot determine a particular style of a leader because leadership is influenced by personality traits, skills, attitude of the leader and the followers. Apart from the above situational factors in work environment and the organizational culture affects the leadership style to a great extent.

Essay # 7. Approaches to Leadership:

i. Contingency Approach to Leadership:

As studied earlier, Trait Theory is not conclusive and behavioural approach to leadership depends largely to the nature and content of the work and prevailing organizational culture. Researchers therefore began trying to identify those factors in each situation that influence the effectiveness of a particular leadership style. Contingency approach to leadership is therefore important.

The theory focuses on the following factors:

(a) Task requirements

(b) Peer’s expectations and behaviour

(c) Employees characteristics, expectations and behaviour

(d) Organizational culture and policies

ii. Behaviroural Approach to Leadership:

Leadership Styles-Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H Schmidt-a Model:

Every leader has to undertake two major functions in any organization i.e. one task related functions and two functions that will promote group effectiveness (maintenance). Managers who have task-oriented style of leadership will closely supervise employees as far as the progress of the work is concerned. Getting the job done is given more emphasis than employee growth. On the contrary managers who have employee oriented style of leadership will put more emphasis on employee motivation rather than controlling subordinates.

Managers seek friendly, cooperative, trusting relationship with employees. It may be noted that no manager is either task oriented or employee oriented. Every manager uses little of each style.

They have developed a leadership continuum on which various styles of leadership have been shown ranging from highly boss centered to highly subordinate centered. The same has been shown in figure below.

The most important element that may influence managers’ style can be seen along the continuum.

Behaviroural Approach to Leadership

These are explained in following paragraph:

1. Leader:

The forces that operate while leading subordinates are the managers personality, skill, ability and attitude towards the work, employees and the organization he is serving. Confidence in subordinates and his personal inclination towards leadership style which play a dominating role in selecting a particular style of leadership.

2. Subordinate:

According to Tannenbaum and Schmitt, a manager can allow greater participation and freedom when employees crave independence and freedom of action, want to have decision – making responsibility, identify with the organization’s goals and are experienced enough to deal with a problem efficiently. They should possess experience that leads to “participative management.”

When these conditions are nonexistent, the managers initially can have tight control and use authoritarian type of leadership. They can later modify the style as employees develop skill, confidence and organizational commitment.

3. Situation:

The forces of situation play a decisive role in selecting leadership style. They include organizational value system, tradition, delegation of authority, group cohesiveness and time management. The level of organizational effectiveness is an important factor to be considered.

iii. Fiedler’s Contingency Approach to Leadership:

Fiddler carried out intensive work on leadership. He believes that most of the leaders are inflexible and tries to fit in every situation they face. If they succeed they are considered good leaders. Fidler feels that matching the managerial style with the situation or changing the situation to match the manager’s leadership style can achieve effective group performance.

The research is based on the leadership styles similar to the employee oriented leader or the task oriented leader studied earlier. What differentiate Fidler’s model is the measuring instrument he used in his research work. Fidler measured leadership style on the scale that indicated the degree to which a person described favourably or unfavorably.

He coined the concept of least preferred co-worker (LPC) -The employee with whom the person could work least well. As per Fidler’s findings one, a person who describes his least preferred co-worker in a relatively favorable manner (high LPC rating) tend to be permissive, human relations oriented and considerate of the feelings of his men.

But a person who describes his least preferred co-worker (LPC) in an unfavorable manner- (low LPC rating) tends to be managing, task oriented and less concerned with the human relations aspect of the job. Two, the scores on the Assumed Similarity between Opposites (ASO) Scale-ratings based on the degree to which leader see group members as being themselves.

Fiedler identified three variables to determine the ideal leadership style as given in Figure:

Fiedler's Model of Leadership

(a) Leader-Member Relationship:

If a manager is able to establish good relations with his workers based on personality, skill and knowledge he may be successful leader and does not have to depend on power and authority. Leader-member relations were measured on LPC scale, either they were good or bad depending upon the degree of cohesion, co-operation and the level of conflict prevailing between the leader and led.

(b) Task Structure:

High task structure is related to a task where all actions required to be taken are explained in sequential manner and employees understand and anticipate what is coming next. On the contrary when a task is unstructured, the employees do not know as to how to handle the work and group-member’s role become ambiguous.

(c) Position Power:

In this situation power derived by the leader from his formal position and other power bases are not considered. Fiedler feels that a leader having a strong power position can obtain (wield) followership more easily than a leader not having a formal power base. The position of power is determined by the amount of control which the leader has over allocation of resources, determina­tion of salaries, rewards, punishments and hiring of people.

Essay # 8. Ingredients Required to Become a Successful Leader:

Every group in the organization has a leader.

A successful leader has within him the following ingredients:

i. The Ability to Use Power Effectively:

A leader inherits power by virtue of his appointment. Known as the legitimate power apart from the above he achieves willing obedience by using one or more of power bases like expert power, referent power, reward and coercive power. Line authority also facilitates to influence subordinate.

ii. An Ability to Comprehend:

Human beings have different motivational needs at different times and situations. The ability to comprehend relates to understanding people, their needs, expectations and what a leader has been doing to satisfy them. This is a continuous process that gives a leader the understanding of his subordinates and an ability to explore the situation to his advantage to get the organizational goal achieved.

iii. Ability to Inspire:

Inspiration is best judged when subordinates work with zeal in hopeless situation. Leader must identify each individual’s capabilities, skill and inspire them. Inspiration emanates from a leader who may have charm, an appeal, devotion to duty, which subordinates further want to enhance them by loyally obeying the leader willfully. Inspirations also come from charismatic personality of the leader. Subordinates promote what leader desires.

iv. Leadership Style:

Leadership style is firstly the ability of a leader to act in a manner that will develop a climate conducive to the response from the led and secondly arouse motivation among the employees, leader must design and maintain an environment for efficient performance. He should identify motivational needs, desires of the subordinates and work out a plan that fulfills motivational needs and aspirations of the employees.

Organizations practices must include appropriate reward system, freedom of action in work environment, recognition, open communication system and very informal and cordial behaviour pattern among various layers of organizational structure. Leaders must be participative, face the same problems as his subordinates, work in the identical environment and not show the signs of tiredness.

He must be loyal to his subordinates and follow an appropriate leadership style taking into consideration the organizational climate and the environment he has to work. His approach must be reconciliatory.