Much has been written about leadership: rules, pointers, styles, and
biographies of inspiring leaders throughout world history.
But there are
certain leadership ideas that we ourselves fail to recognize and realize
in the course of reading books.
Here is a short list of things you thought
you knew about leadership.
1. Leaders come in different flavors.
There are different types of leaders and you will probably encounter more
than one type in your lifetime.
Formal leaders are those we elect into
positions or offices such as the senators, congressmen, and presidents of
the local clubs.
Informal leaders or those we look up to by virtue of
their wisdom and experience such as in the case of the elders of a tribe,
or our grandparents; or by virtue of their expertise and contribution on a
given field such as Albert Einstein in the field of Theoretical Physics
and Leonardo da Vinci in the field of the Arts.
Both formal and informal
leaders practice a combination of leadership styles.
* Lewin's three basic leadership styles - authoritative, participative,
* Likert's four leadership styles - exploitive authoritative, benevolent
authoritative, consultative, and participative
* Goleman's six emotional leadership styles - visionary, coaching,
affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and commanding.
2. Leadership is a process of becoming.
Although certain people seem to be born with innate leadership qualities,
without the right environment and exposure, they may fail to develop their
So like learning how to ride a bicycle, you can also learn
how to become a leader and hone your leadership abilities.
leadership theories and skills may be formally gained by enrolling in
leadership seminars, workshops, and conferences.
Daily interactions with
people provide the opportunity to observe and practice leadership
Together, formal and informal learning will help you gain
leadership attitudes, gain leadership insights, and thus furthering the
cycle of learning.
You do not become a leader in one day and just stop.
Life-long learning is important in becoming a good leader for each day
brings new experiences that put your knowledge, skills, and attitude to a
3. Leadership starts with you.
The best way to develop leadership qualities is to apply it to your own
As an adage goes "action speaks louder than words."
always in the limelight.
Keep in mind that your credibility as a leader
depends much on your actions: your interaction with your family, friends,
and co-workers; your way of managing your personal and organizational
responsibilities; and even the way you talk with the newspaper vendor
across the street. Repeated actions become habits.
Habits in turn form a
Steven Covey's book entitled 7 Habits of Highly
Effective People provides good insights on how you can achieve personal
4. Leadership is shared.
Leadership is not the sole responsibility of one person, but rather a
shared responsibility among members of an emerging team.
A leader belongs
to a group.
Each member has responsibilities to fulfill.
positions are merely added responsibilities aside from their
responsibilities as members of the team.
Effective leadership requires
members to do their share of work. Starting as a mere group of
individuals, members and leaders work towards the formation of an
In this light, social interaction plays a major role in
To learn how to work together requires a great deal of trust
between and among leaders and members of an emerging team.
Trust is built
upon actions and not merely on words.
When mutual respect exists, trust is
fostered and confidence is built.
5. Leadership styles depend on the situation.
How come dictatorship works for Singapore but not in the United States of
Aside from culture, beliefs, value system, and form of
government, the current situation of a nation also affects the leadership
styles used by its formal leaders.
There is no rule that only one style
can be used.
Most of the time, leaders employ a combination of leadership
styles depending on the situation.
In emergency situations such as periods
of war and calamity, decision-making is a matter of life and death.
a nation's leader cannot afford to consult with all departments to arrive
at crucial decisions.
The case is of course different in times of peace
and order---different sectors and other branches of government can freely
interact and participate in governance.
Another case in point is in
When the staffs are highly motivated and competent,
a combination of high delegation and moderate participative styles of
leadership is most appropriate.
But if the staffs have low competence and
low commitment, a combination of high coaching, high supporting, and high
directing behavior from organizational leaders is required.
Now that you are reminded of these things, keep in mind that there are
always ideas that we think we already know; concepts we take for granted,
but are actually the most useful insights on leadership.