What is Leadership? Definition, Meaning & Importance | Emeritus India (2022)


What is Leadership? Definition, Meaning & Importance | Emeritus India (1)

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things,” believed renowned management coach and author Peter F. Drucker. He used the quote to demonstrate the difference between management and leadership.

Often, it is believed that a good manager is always a good leader. However, that is not true because behaviours that make a person a good manager are often not in favour of innovation. Continue reading to know what leadership is and how it is different from management.

What is Leadership?

“The action of leading a group of people or an organisation.”

That’s how the Oxford Dictionary defines leadership. In simple words, leadership is about taking risks and challenging the status quo. Leaders motivate others to achieve something new and better. Interestingly, leaders do what they do to pursue innovation, not as an obligation. They measure success by looking at the team’s achievements and learning.

In contrast, management is about delegating responsibilities and getting people to follow the rules to reduce risk and deliver predictable outcomes. A manager is responsible for completing four critical functions: planning, organising, leading, and controlling.

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Unlike leaders, managers do not challenge the status quo. Instead, they strive to maintain it. They evaluate success by seeing if the team has achieved what was expected.

Leadership vs. Management: What’s the Difference?

Leaders and managers apply different approaches to achieve their goals. For example, managers seek compliance to rules and procedures, whereas leaders thrive on breaking the norm and challenging the status quo. Here’s how leadership and management are different from each other.


Leaders and managers have different visions. Leaders are visionaries, whereas managers are implementers. Leaders set goals for their team. Managers ensure that the goal set by their superiors is achieved.

Organising vs. Aligning

Managers achieve their goals by delegating responsibilities among the team. They tactically distribute work among subordinates and organise available resources required to reach the goal.

Meanwhile, leaders motivate people. They concentrate on the personal development of their team besides working towards achieving organizational goals. They envision their team’s future growth and work towards achieving that.

Analysing and Assessing

A leader analyses and assesses every situation to achieve new and better results. Whereas a manager does not analyse or evaluate, they emphasise on questions like how and when, which assists them in achieving the goals. They accept and strive to achieve the status quo.

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What Do Leaders Do?

Leaders are not always people who hold higher ranks in an organisation. But they are people who are known for their beliefs and work ethics.A leader is passionate about their work, and they pass on their enthusiasm to their fellow workers, enabling them to achieve their goals. If you feel you do not possess the relevant skills currently, you can consider taking up one of the leadership courses or a leadership training programme.

What Are the Different Types of Leadership?

All leaders have a unique style that sets them apart from others. Hence, these different types of leadership styles will help you decide which type of leader you want to be. Accordingly, you would be able to hone your skills with the best leadership training programme. Read on.

Autocratic leadership

A leader who has complete control over his team is called an autocratic leader. They never bend their beliefs and rules for anyone. Additionally, their team has no say in the business decisions. Moreover, the team is expected to follow the path directed by the leader.

This archaic style of leadership has very few takers because it discourages change. And modern leaders are changing the definition of leadership and redefining what leadership is with their path-breaking decisions.

Laissez-Faire leadership

Laissez-Faire is derived from a French word that means ‘allow to do’. “The practice of non-interference in the affairs of others, especially with reference to individual conduct or freedom of action,’ defines dictionary.com. In this type of leadership, team members have the freedom to perform their job according to their will. They are given the freedom to bring in their perspective and intelligence in performing business functions. If you take up a leadership course, you’d get to learn about it in detail.

Democratic leadership

In this type of leadership, team members and leaders equally contribute to actualising business goals. Furthermore, they work together and motivate each other to achieve their personal goals too. This type of leadership leads to a positive working environment.

Bureaucratic leadership

In this type of leadership, leaders strictly adhere to organisational rules and policies. They make sure that their team members do the same. Bureaucratic leaders are often organised and self-motivated.

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There is no right or wrong leadership style. Therefore, it is up to you to decide the kind of leader you wish to become.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Leader?

1. Honesty and Integrity: Leaders value virtuousness and honesty. They have people who believe in them and their vision.

2. Inspiration: Leaders are self-motivating, and this makes them great influencers. They are a good inspiration to their followers. They help others to understand their roles in a bigger context.

3. Communication skills: Leaders possess great communication skills. They are transparent with their team and share failures and successes with them.

4. Vision: Leaders are visionaries. They have a clear idea of what they want and how to achieve it. Being good communicators, leaders can share their vision with the team successfully.

5. Never give-up spirit: Leaders challenge the status quo. Hence, they never give up easily. They also have unique ways to solve a problem.

6. Intuitive: Leadership coach Hortense le Gentil believes that leaders should rely on intuition for making hard decisions. Especially because intuition heavily relies on a person’s existing knowledge and life learnings, which proves to be more useful in complex situations.

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7. Empathy: A leader should be an emotional and empathetic fellow because it will help them in developing a strong bond with their team. Furthermore, these qualities will help a leader in addressing the problems, complaints, and aspirations of his team members.

8. Objective: Although empathy is an important quality a leader must imbibe, getting clouded by emotions while making an important business decision is not advisable. Hence, a good leader should be objective.

9. Intelligence: A good leader must be intelligent enough to arrive at business solutions to difficult problems. Furthermore, a leader should be analytical and should weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. This quality can be polished with an all-inclusive leadership training program.

10. Open-mindedness and creativity: A good leader is someone who is open to new ideas, possibilities, and perspectives. Being a good leader means understanding that there is no right way to do things. Therefore, a good leader is always ready to listen, observe, and be willing to change. They are also out-of-the-box thinkers and encourage their teams to do so. If you enrol for a leadership course, all these things will be a part of the curriculum.

11. Patient: A good leader understands that a business strategy takes time to develop and bear results. Additionally, they also believe that ‘continuous improvement and patient’ leads to success.

12. Flexible: Since leaders understand the concept of ‘continuous improvement, they also know that being adaptable will lead them to success. Nothing goes as per plan. Hence, being flexible and intuitive helps a manager to hold his ground during complex situations.

Explore Leadership Training Programmes

A good organisation needs both effective managers and leaders. The key is to match the skillset with a high-quality education degree. Emeritus believes in providing high-quality and affordable courses across various domains, including leadership and management. They have collaborated with top-tier universities across the globe to offer quality education.


Emeritus India hosts a series of leadership courses that offer insight into the real world and help you know more about leadership. Therefore, if you wish to pursue a degree that gives you insight into becoming a good leader, enrol for an all-inclusive leadership programme.

There is no right way to determine whether someone is a good manager or a leader because the roles and responsibilities of both a manager and a leader are different. However, a good leader and a manager are the fellows who learn from their mistakes. They work on themselves and motivate others to do so. Hence, always remember the most important quality for any manager or leader is self-belief.


What is the meaning and importance of leadership? ›

The action of leading a group of people or an organisation.” That's how the Oxford Dictionary defines leadership. In simple words, leadership is about taking risks and challenging the status quo. Leaders motivate others to achieve something new and better.

What is leadership definition PDF? ›

In its most basic form, leadership is defined as the art of moving others to want to struggle for shared aspirations. Therefore, a leader is an individual who possesses the ability to encourage, motivate and/or influence others.

What is leadership very short answer? ›

Leadership is the ability of an individual or a group of individuals to influence and guide followers or other members of an organization.

What are the 7 importance of leadership? ›

A leader must be able to motivate their team. A team that is easily motivated will overcome obstacles to achieve goals. A good leader will understand the different needs of each team member and knows ways to satisfy them. By creating a great environment, it will support and encourage team members.

What are the 4 definitions of leadership? ›

Affiliative: Leaders create emotional bonds and harmony. Democratic: Leaders build consensus through participation. Pacesetting: Leaders expect excellence and self-direction. Coaching: Leaders develop people for the future.

What is the main meaning of leader? ›

Definitions of leader. a person who rules or guides or inspires others.

What is the meaning and definition of leadership class 11? ›

Leadership — Leadership can be described as the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of an organization or a group of which they are members.

Who gave the definition of leadership? ›

Peter Drucker: "The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers."

What is leadership definition essay? ›

Leadership Essay Introduction: Leadership is defined by how well you lead a team into the goals and objectives set by you. Leadership is also defined by the clarity and quality of goals that you set for your followers. It is not easy being a leader. A leader is simply not someone who will please everyone on his way.

What is leadership one word? ›

Then again, maybe we can define leadership in one word... Art. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower.

What is good leadership? ›

Good leaders possess self-awareness, garner credibility, focus on relationship-building, have a bias for action, exhibit humility, empower others, stay authentic, present themselves as constant and consistent, become role models and are fully present. Dr. Jennifer Varney. Sep 12, 2022.

Who is a good leader? ›

Good leaders are uplifting. They praise employees for a job well done, taking time to coach and train if there are lapses in performance. In good times and bad, good leaders bring out the best in their employees by encouraging them to be their very best.

What are the 11 factors of leadership? ›

Napoleon Hill: The 11 Major Attributes of Leadership
  • Unwavering Courage. ...
  • Self-Control. ...
  • A Keen Sense Of Justice. ...
  • Definiteness of Decision. ...
  • Definiteness of Plans. ...
  • The Habit of Doing More Than Paid For. ...
  • A Pleasing Personality. ...
  • Sympathy and Understanding.
19 Feb 2015

What are the 7 types of leadership? ›

There are seven common leadership styles in management, each of which has its place in a leader's toolkit:
  • Autocratic Leadership.
  • Pacesetting Leadership.
  • Transformational Leadership.
  • Coaching Leadership.
  • Democratic Leadership.
  • Affiliative Leadership.
  • Delegative Leadership.
16 Oct 2019

What are three definitions of leadership? ›

“Leadership is about the ability to drive results, set the vision and share it, create an environment of success, and remove obstacles.” —

How many definitions of leadership is there? ›

According to Warren Bennis in Leaders (1997) “academic analysis has given us more than 850 definitions of leadership”.

What is leadership theory? ›

What is a Leadership Theory? A leadership theory describes how and why certain individuals become leaders. The focus is on the characteristics and behaviors that people can adopt to enhance their leadership ability. According to leaders, strong ethics and high moral standards are essential qualities of a good leader.

What is leadership and examples? ›

The definition of leadership is the position of guiding a group, or the ability to lead. Leadership can exist in both formal and informal groups. For example. Formal setting (such as within a large corporation) - The leader of the group is usually someone who has been appointed to a high position of authority.

What is the importance of good leadership? ›

“With good leadership, you can create a vision and can motivate people to make it a reality,” Taillard says. “A good leader can inspire everyone in an organization to achieve their very best. Human capital is THE differentiator in this knowledge-based economy that we live in.

What is the importance of leadership styles? ›

The Importance of Leadership Style

It plays a significant role in the job they have and the way they communicate. Having an awareness of your personality style can allow you to communicate better, assess others' needs, and forge productive relationships.

Who founded leadership? ›

If Peter Drucker was the man who invented management (as a book about him claimed), then Warren Bennis was the man who invented leadership as a business idea. Central to his thinking was a distinction between managers and leaders. Managers are people who like to do things right, he argued.

When was leadership first defined? ›

While the term "leader" was noted as early as the 1300s and conceptualized even before biblical times, the term leadership has been in existence only since the late 1700s (Stogdill, 1974).

Why leadership is a process? ›

Leadership Is A Process, Not A Position

It requires an ability and opportunity to affect the actions of others, ultimately leading to positive organizational outcomes. A position can be given instantly, but leadership is a lengthier process that involves building trust.

What true leadership means? ›

A true leader makes an effort to help develop their team's skills so they can reach their full potential. They lead by example and establish strong, trusting relationships to ensure success within the team and for the organization as a whole.

What is self leadership? ›

Self leadership describes how you lead your own life – setting your course, following it, and correcting as you go. Life and business are often intertwined, so it also reflects how you work with clients, sales prospects, colleagues, and the leadership in your organization.

What is a leader not? ›

Leadership is not about telling and controlling.

Leadership will always involve some degree of telling people what needs to get done. But the best way to make that happen is by helping others figure out what needs to be done on their own.

How do you become a leader? ›

How to Be a Leader
  1. Be an empathetic leader.
  2. Be a good listener.
  3. Be a model for embracing change.
  4. Incorporate a shared vision.
  5. Develop your followers.
  6. Communicate realistic and clear expectations.
  7. Learn how to handle failure.
  8. Continue your education.
29 Mar 2021

What is modern leadership? ›

Modern leadership involves sharing information, creating a higher level of trust, and promoting a sense of inclusion and belonging. These leaders care and invest more time into their team members' wellbeing, career goals, contributions, and accomplishments.

What makes a leader successful? ›

As well as providing direction, inspiration, and guidance, good leaders exhibit courage, passion, confidence, commitment, and ambition. They nurture the strengths and talents of their people and build teams committed to achieving common goals.

How do leaders behave? ›

Good leaders aren't afraid to make decisions, especially hard ones. They avoid delaying decisions or letting their personal views intervene. They look at things carefully, research well, try and see every angle, and make a decision and then stick to it. This will directly influence employee behavior.

What is the key of leadership? ›

The key to leadership success is to learn to effectively delegate both the responsibility for completing assignments and the authority required to get things done. Many bosses feel that they need to control every little thing that their employees do.

What is a leadership policy? ›

Policy leadership are activities that leaders in organizations take to guarantee that the internal and external policy environments keep on being beneficial to the purpose, culture, and changing circumstances of the organization.

What are the 10 principles of leadership? ›

My Ten Principles Of Leadership
  • Believe in the power of every individual.
  • Build a “we vs. ...
  • Embrace humility, listen to others.
  • Create energy: inspire the team.
  • Make decisions consistently, find a framework and use it.
  • Understand all the stakeholders involved.
  • Respect and honor technology.
  • Love and study people.
12 Jun 2021

What are the 5 importance of good leadership? ›

Leadership entails; having a clear vision, the ability to communicate the vision to team members, the ability to organize in an effective and efficient manner, inspiring subordinates towards the fulfillment of the organization's goals, and balancing the conflict of interest of all subordinates and stakeholders.

What is the importance of leadership essay? ›

Leadership, without doubt, is a significantly important function of management. It helps to aggrandize efficiency and to fulfil an organization's goals. Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce the subordinates to work with confidence, determination, courage and zeal.

Why should leadership be important? ›

They are important skills to have because a good leader is able to bring out the best abilities in his/her team members and motivate them to work together in achieving a shared goal. A good leader is also organized and keeps the team on track and focused to avoid delays.

Is leadership important in our lives? ›

Leadership is an important life skill that youth should learn in their development. Learning experiences should help youth learn how to how to lead by developing qualities that will help you know how to assist a group or person in meeting their goals.

What is successful leadership? ›

Good leaders aren't afraid to make decisions, especially hard ones. They avoid delaying decisions or letting their personal views intervene. They look at things carefully, research well, try and see every angle, and make a decision and then stick to it. This will directly influence employee behavior.

What are leadership roles? ›

A leader is someone who is in charge of organizing, guiding, and managing others. They are visionaries who motivate and encourage their team to reach the desired outcome. Understanding what leadership entails is essential to your success if your duties call for you to lead others.

What are the top 7 keys to successful leadership? ›

7 Keys to Becoming a Super Effective Leader
  1. Don't take It all too seriously. Without a doubt, running a company is serious business. ...
  2. Recognize achievements. Every employee wants to do a good job. ...
  3. Set goals. ...
  4. Delegate wisely. ...
  5. Think about lasting solutions. ...
  6. Make time for employees. ...
  7. Communicate.
29 Jan 2018

What is leadership summary? ›

Leadership is a process by which an executive can direct, guide and influence the behavior and work of others towards accomplishment of specific goals in a given situation. Leadership is the ability of a manager to induce the subordinates to work with confidence and zeal.

What leadership means to you? ›

Leadership is the act of guiding a team or individual to achieve a certain goal through direction and motivation. Leaders encourage others to take the actions they need to succeed. To be a great leader, it is necessary to learn and cultivate the skills it takes to be effective.


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