Yukl’s textbook on leadership, “Leadership in Organizations,” admits there are probably as many definitions of leadership as people that have tried to define it. The definition you use really depends on what you want to do with it – identify leaders, determine how they are selected, describe what they do, describe why they are effective, or determine whether they are even necessary.
Yukl’s focus was on managerial leadership, or leadership in the workplace. He settled on the following definition for managerial leadership:
Leadership is a process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives. ( p. 8 )
The slick thing about this definition is that anyone who engages in an influence process for the purpose of helping others understand what needs to be done, or that helps other individuals or groups accomplish shared objectives, is practicing leadership. We use the terms leader, manager, boss, and supervisor for people we normally associate with expectations to perform the leadership role, and we use the terms subordinate, direct report, staff, and follower to denote the folks we assume are the target of the leadership process.
Let me ask you two questions about the process of managerial leadership:
1. What are the most important things leaders want or expect from followers?
2. What are the most important things followers want or expect from leaders?
I’d really like to know your thoughts. If you can back your observations up with a citation or reference that we can all check out, that would be particularly appreciated. Please leave your comment at the end of this post. Thanks!!