Major Trait for Definition of The Leadership

by Shamsul
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Definition of The Leadership

Initially, social psychology focused on the personality of “leaders”. We wanted to know if there were stable personality traits that could define the leadership.

However, “no single trait is enough to consistently characterize the leader. (read The Trait Theory) “Even intelligence has not proven to be a major trait for the definition of Leadership”. It was, therefore, a failure that led psychosociologists to become interested in a possible ideal style of command.

Researchers define leadership as “a process of social influence by which an individual leads a group to achieve objectives. Leadership involves not only getting other individuals to do something but also (unlike authority relationships) the ability to change the attitude of group members, mobilize them and encourage their support for common goals. Therefore, the leader must know how to generate motivation and train those who follow him much more than directing them in an authoritarian manner.

To conclude with the proposed definitions, leadership corresponds to the influence of an individual on the group. It is, therefore, personal, non-coercive, and based on communication. We can say that it is not based on the social or authority position of the protagonist.

Classically, we define a leader as trustworthy, whose destiny is linked to that of the group. He is a person with charisma and speaking skills.

There are Two Main Theoretical Approaches to Leadership:


The personalist approaches

The interactionist approach

The functional model

The contingency model

The model based on psychological group membership

The Personalist Approaches

It is based on the idea that leadership finds its source in the personality or behaviors of the leader. For example, Forsyth in 1990 told us that the leader knows how to adapt to the situations and that he has a sense of responsibility. He has qualities appreciated by others. Some studies show a correlation between a person’s height and leadership; the taller you are, the more likely you are to be a leader.

Blake and Mouton, in 1978, listed two dimensions of leader behavior: task orientation and relationship orientation.

Based on these two dimensions (production and relationship), Blake and Mouton distinguish five management styles:

The Autocrat: only controls production. The subordinate is only a means which must be rigorously controlled.

The Social Leader: favors the atmosphere and the climate (avoidance of conflict). Performance is only a means to the search for social cohesion. We leave subordinates autonomous.

Let Him Do It: he does not get involved in either dimension.

The Intermediary: seeks to compromise between the two dimensions.

The integrator encourages the commitment of its staff to productive dimensions. He strives to involve his subordinates in the planning and task control processes.

The Interactionist Approach

This second approach proposes that leadership is effective, provided that the relationships between the members of the group agree with the leader’s style.

We Can Define Three Models of Leadership:

The Functional Model

Hemphill and Coons in 1950 developed the LBDQ (Leadership Behavior Description Questionnaire) which included 150 items. It is from this questionnaire that they differentiated two categories of leadership behavior:

All consideration behaviors (people-centered) Consideration underlines the relational function of leadership.

All “structure initiation” behaviors (oriented towards task planning)

For Argyle in 1972, it seems that productivity is at its maximum when people have real freedom in carrying out their tasks while being with their supervisor.

In 1952, Halpin and Winer worked on industrial and military groups. They emphasize that the two dimensions (relational and structural initiation) are independent. They specify that the link between productivity and consideration is unstable but add that the link between consideration and job satisfaction (turnover, absenteeism, etc.) is important. For Argyl, the positive correlation between consideration and job satisfaction is practical if subordinates receive rewards.

Argyl adds to the two previous dimensions the following: the “democratic-persuasive” style.

The Latter Is Characterized by Three Ways of Acting By The Leader:

Motivating individuals through explanation and persuasion rather than orders

The opportunity is given to people to participate in decisions

Use of discussion and group decision-making techniques

The Contingency Model:

This model starts from the observation that the types of leader behavior and performance or group climates are often unstable and contingent. We owe this contingency model to Fiedler in 1967, who identified four components:

1- The personality of the leader. The author finds, via his LPC questionnaire, the two components seen previously. We have leaders who are concerned with obtaining satisfactory group results (task-oriented) and leaders who are more concerned with the group climate. Three situation factors are attached to these two components:

2- The relationship between the leader and the members of the group (attraction versus rejection)

3- The degree of structuring of the task, the number of possible solutions and the possibility of verifying the validity of the decisions taken.

4- The power associated with the position of the leader (reward, legitimacy, etc.)

It is the combination of these different factors that makes it possible to define the degree of control specific to each situation.

The Model Based on Psychological Group Membership

This conception contextualizes our perception of the leader by placing it under Tajfel’s interpersonal-intergroup continuum.

On the interpersonal pole, interactions between people are determined by their personal characteristics. Here, group memberships have little psychological salience and the leader will be judged in relation to his interpersonal skills (rewards, etc.).

On the intergroup pole, interactions relate to the group characteristics of Subjects, and collective memberships. Factors contributing to the salience of group membership are, for example, competitiveness. This is accompanied by a depersonalization effect. Thus, the leader will be judged according to his contribution to the group as a whole.

Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1958,1973) talk to us about situational leadership. They identified a range of behaviors based on four variables:

1- The characteristics of the leader (values, leadership qualities, confidence, etc.)

2- The characteristics of the group (Skills, autonomy, initiative, etc.)

3- The characteristics of the situation (Nature of the problems, customs, etc.)

4- The leader’s objective priorities (teamwork, motivation, change, etc.)

Seven leadership styles are established from the combination of these four variables, ranging from autocracy to self-management.

To conclude, it is important to analyze the leadership in its situational context. It cannot be said that one leadership style is superior to another. However, we can try to assess how a particular style is appropriate for a particular situation.

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1 comment

Niamat Ullah July 6, 2024 - 4:21 am

Well explained ✅

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