HROB 2010 May 21, 2017
Unit 1: Introduction to Foundations of Leadership
- Chapter 1
The Evolution of Leadership Definitions
Although each of us intuitively knows that we mean by the word leadership, the word
can have different meanings for different people and at different points in time:
o Emphasized control and centralization of power with a common theme of
o The ability to impress the will of the leader on those lead and induce obedience,
respect, loyalty and cooperation.
o Traits became the focus of defining leadership, with an emerging view of
leadership as influence rather than domination.
o The interaction of an individual’s specific personality traits with those of a group.
o Leadership being defined as the behaviour of an individual while involved in
directing group activities.
o Three themes dominated leadership definitions during this decade:
1. Continuance of group theory, which framed leadership as what
leaders do in groups.
2. Leadership as a relationship that develops shared goals, which
defined leadership based on behaviour of the leader.
3. Effectiveness, where leadership was defined by the ability to
influence overall group effectiveness.
o The prevailing definition of leadership was behaviour that influences people
toward shared goals was underscored by the definition of leadership as “acts by
persons which in which influence other persons in a shared direction”.
o The Burn’s (1978) definition became the most important concept of leadership
to emerge stating that leadership is the reciprocal process of mobilizing by
persons with certain motives and values, various economic, political, and other
resources, in a context of competition and conflict, in order to realize goals
independently or mutually held by both leaders and followers.
- 1980s HROB 2010 May 21, 2017
o Do as the leader wishes: leadership still predominantly delivered the message
that leadership is getting followers.
o Influence: the efficiency of the leader to get followers to do things.
o Traits: many people’s understanding of leadership was based on trait
o Transformation: Burns was credited for initiating a movement defining
leadership as a transformational process where leaders and followers raise one
another to higher levels of motivation and morality.
- Into the 21 Century
o Emerging research emphasizes the process of leadership, whereby an individual
influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.
o Authentic leadership: the authenticity of leaders are emphasized.
o Spiritual leadership: focuses on leadership that utilizes values.
o Servant leadership: puts the leader in the role of a servant by helping the
followers become more autonomous, knowledgeable, and like servants
o Adaptive leadership: leaders encourage followers to adapt by confronting and
solving problems, challenges and changes.
Definition and Concepts
Despite the multitude of ways we conceptualize leadership, there are several central
a) Leadership is process
- Leadership is not a trait, but rather a transactional event that occurs between the leader
and the followers.
- The leader affects and is affected by the followers, therefore it is an interactive event.
b) Leadership involves influence
- How the leader affects followers.
- Without influence, leadership does not exist.
c) Leadership occurs in groups
- Leadership involves influencing a group of individuals who have a common purpose.
d) Leadership involves common goals
- Leaders direct their energies toward individuals who are trying to achieve something