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The Theory Of Leadership in Organization

Updated on September 28, 2015

What is Leadership?

Ir is crystal clear that virtually everyone knows what leadership is all about. But based onncarefuk study and research I have come to develop what I titled, "The Theory of Leadership in Organization" as an organized body of ideas intended to explain deeply the principle of leadership so as to gain deeper insight into its meaning. Needless to say, we all should know by now that leadership is not tied to position, but rather to quality. Richard J. Spardy affirmed this when he said, "...leadership is a function, and not a quality researved for the titled head of an organization or institution ". Although, leadership is not all about occupying a position, but in most cases it is not usually tied to social positioning , as in, beimg the head of a nation or being the chairman or Chief Executive Officer of an organization. It however has to do with the position of influence and ability. John C. Maxwell on his principles of leadership taught that, " True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed or assigned, it comes only from influence. Leadership is about influencing people to follow, it is not the position that makes a leader; it is the leader that makes a position. If you see a disparity between who is leading the meeting and who is leading the people then, the person running the meeting is not the real leader"

Another point I would like to emphasize here is the fact that it is not necessary you lead a group of people to become a leader. There are people who have qualities of leadership, but believe they cannot lead simply because they lead no group of people. As a matter of fact, everyone on the surface of the Earth is a leader. Leadership is what people naturally possess, it is a universal attribute, it is an innate capability. A proof of the fact that everyone is a leader is that every individual leads himself or herself through " labyrinths" of solving problems, as he or she perceives them, and then uses his or her time or/and energy to solve those problems. The fact that we can lead ourselves is sure evidence that we can lead others, which in turn means we all have the capability of leadership. Besides, the experiences of many of our top leaders ( whom Warren Bennis Interviewed) convinced me that leadership skill could be learnt. Bennis seems to imply that leadership skill can be taught to anyone.

Leadership as we know,is the act of leading oneself or people in the right direction. In other words anyone who is qualified to lead himself or group of people must understand the destination and the way to it. For instance in life, anyone who will succeed must understand his goal and work in accordance with the laws of life as a guide to achievement. For success to be experienced in any area of human endeavour, there must be understanding of roles of operation, followed by the application of the knowledge got if what you desire is result. If the desired result is got, it is as a result of the obedience to the rules. Thomas A. Kempis said that: "The only "safe" ruler is he who has learned to obey willingly". This led Francis Bacon to remark: "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed". Deductively, it is safe to conclude that leadership quality is obedience to the rules of life". A good leader therefore, is one who understands where he is leading himself and his people and then uses the rules of life as guiding compass for direction.

Lesdership Capability

It is however apparent that leadership is a universal human capability, which is always present in all individuals and among people; but everyone won't lead in the same direction. Of course, we all won't live solving the same problem; we are only to lead in the direction of the problem we are capable of solving. Of course ,it is possible you have leadership qualities but not leading, simply because there is no problem that calls for hour leadership attention. But that does not deny the fact that you are a leader. Psychologist and anthropologist Alexander Leighton wrote a series of "social postulates" in the appendix of the first his book, "Governing of men". One postulate implied that " when a group of leaderless people are exposed to an external threat over which they have no control, leaders will emerge. If there was no need, there wouldn't be leadership. If there was no problem, you wouldn't know leaders are there or around. Until there is a need, there wouldn't be a feed. A leader feeds any need that arises. Leighton concludes that, " leaders are always there and will emerge when the situation requires it".

In accordance with the knowledge about leadership explained above, any organization or institution that must succeed massively must learn to involve all the members in the decision making. This however brings me to the three levels of leadership;

1.The lower level leadership.

2. The middle level leadership.

3. Higher leadership.

In order to bring about enormous aggregate of leadership, the three levels of leadership must be involved in decision-making of an organisation, institution or what have you. A real leader, understands that the three levels are of equal importance because one cannot exist without the other. All need work together to produce an applaudable result in leadership. The two method of decision-making are centralization and decentralization of decision-making.

Of course there is no such organisation or institution that doesn't explore decision-making strategy. People incorporated in decision-making, however, depend upon the knowledge of the leadership in position of authority. Centralization of decision-making, I.e., authoritarianism and/or total Italianism, suppresses the leadership function in an organisation. However many believe it provides the strongest leadership but in truism it doesn't. It strategies to "control" or "take charge" and the like to suppress leadership.

Decentralization of decision-making on the other hand frees people to participate in the affairs of the organisation. This dynamics simply provides at all levels a more effective leadership function, which according to Richard J. Spardy is a universal human capacity and is therefore more effective and efficient.

A great leadership is what you have when decision-making is not done by the higher-level leadership alone at all. Cecil H. Bell Jr. wrote, "Adopting a conscious policy to decentralize decision-making in organizations and institutions in which higher levels produce enormous amount of leadership. As individuals are assigned problems, you thrust them into the dynamics of the "Socratic method" and the creative thinking process, which they cannot avoid. They become aware of the problem, experience frustration in solving them, achieve insight and learn. The organisation and society of which the individual is a part mine towards better problem resolution in the future. And all people involved become engaged in an overall process of civilization.

Richard J. Spardy said, "In order to develop leadership well, all decision making in an organisation or institution should be made at the lowest level possible, consistent with two basic premises. First, adequate information is available with which to make a valid decsion. Second, adequate resources are available to implement the decision reached. If either adequate information or resource is not available, the decision should be moved up one level higher in the organization or institution until both valid information and adequate resources to implement the decision are available"



Conversely, the leadership style that embraces centralized decision-making calls disaster and often leads to exhaustion of the leader. It is a truism that the "one man band" or organisation is the weakest. The strongest organisation is one in which anyone could live, from top to bottom and the work would continue with little or no interruption. The best leader seldom tells subordinates what to do, but rather provides a creative climate and processes in which people tell themselves what to do to most effectively accomplish their objectives. Leadership by self-direction and self-motivation to the maximum extent possible for all people in society, organisations, and institutions is the goal. This is democracy in action.


Not everyone who leads is a leader

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    • ogochukwu1 profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from NIGERIA

      Thanks Linda i appreciate your encouragement

    • Linda Robinson60 profile image

      Linda Robinson 

      3 years ago from Cicero, New York

      Excellent hub Ogochukwu very interesting lots of fascinating and knowledgeable information. I really got a lot from it and very much enjoyed reading it. Linda


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