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Leadership As a Social and Psychological Phenomenon

Updated on November 14, 2016

Leadership theory

The problem of leadership is one of the important thing in social psychology’s area. Leadership as a socio-psychological phenomenon is determined primarily by the fact that it is one of the major factors of group integration. Leadership helps to achieve group goals with the greatest effect, and allows us to see the role of leaders in managing the groups or organizations.

In the book «An integrative theory of leadership» (1997) M. Chemers described leadership as «a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task».

In the context of interpersonal interaction leadership is considered as a personal influence on other people in a joint activity, or as a process where the some group members motivate and lead the way for others.

Leadership is the ability to use human and other resources to produce a result; it is the ability to influence people and groups positively, directing their efforts to achieve the goals of the organization

The main researches

Leadership became an object of research at the beginning of many century, when scientists began to study the management for the first time. But only between 1930 and 1950, lead was widely and systematically studied and scientifically proved. Contribution to the theory of leadership was made by ​​famous philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Montesquieu, Plutarch, Machiavelli and others. The greatest influence on scientists also had books written by of Herbert Spencer, Cesare Lombroso, Thomas Carlyle and especially Francis Galton. Their theories represents the idea that those who order, and those who obey are completely different. Leadership is based on individual characteristics, abilities which person gets from birth. Psychologists Sigmund Freud, Max Weber defines the quality of the leader – self-love, self-motivate, self-confidence and self-sufficiency, desire power, activity, sociability, the ability to give energy others around you.

One of theories, which explain the emergence of leadership in the group process, is the "social exchange theory" by sociologists George Homans (1961).

Social relations – is a constant process of exchange, where the main important not only material values, things, but also emotions, feelings. The emergence of leadership – is the result of psychological value exchange between the participants of interaction. Values ​​are presented as significant personal qualities, skills, knowledge, and experience and realized in interpersonal interactions with benefits for both individuals and the group members. The main component of the exchange here – status, presented with prestige and recognition. These components together with social approval, money and respect are considered as main rewards and values ​​in modern society. Level and the value of personal contribution to the overall result determines its group status (recognition of leadership), as a kind of reward from a group.

Leader Ship
Leader Ship

Who is the leader?

Now a days, there are many interpretations of the term «leader». Here are some of them: leader – one who takes more responsibility than others for the performing group tasks in a particular situation; leader – person who is authorized by members of the group to make decisions, concerning the interests and character of the whole group.

Well-known Russian psychologist L. Umanski offers an interesting model of leadership typology (on the content, management style, features of activity).

On the content he described such types:

- Leader-organizer, which can quickly and accurately distribute tasks, makes decisions, makes the monitoring of their implementation;

- Leader-initiator, which makes proposals, initiatives, shows a personal example, to offer a program of action;

- Leader-generator, which regulates emotional mood, supports a positive mood in the group, inspires team members to work.

On leadership style leaders can be authoritarian, democratic and combine the first two types.

On features of the following types of activity leaders: Universal (showing leadership in basic activities of the group) and functional (showing leadership qualities in only one type of activity); stable (showing leadership constantly) and situational (showing leadership qualities only in certain situations).

Leader always has the charisma. The English term «charisma» is from the Greek, which means «favor freely given» or «gift of grace». It means that the power is based not on logic, but on the strength of personal qualities or leader’s abilities. Here are some characteristics of charismatic personalities: expressive appearance, developed rhetorical skills, independence of character, confident demeanor. Very important for the leader and the following personality traits: self-confidence, creative approach to business, the ability to understand and influence people, management ability, emotional stability, honesty.

Based on this, we can say that almost every person can become a leader. But he should make an effort to it, to determine what kind of leader he wants to be and be patience, do self-education.

How to educate a leader?

Formation of leadership begins in early childhood, with a sample of parents, with the educational environment. And a good leader also learn from his parents, because how his father controlled the system of his family. And how his father guided his all children. It's not easy to guide a nation, it's a bid responsibility and it needs a honest and truthful leader. As i read and researched so i come to know that, a good and successful leader never thinks about his own benefits. He just want to get and give benefits to his nation. Like this Parents can play a vital role to give a honest leader to their nation in the shape of their son or daughter.

For education leader parents have to give the child more freedom, to impose on him the responsibility, to educate honesty, self-confidence. Educators should be able to see the child's ability and develop them. Future leaders can be seen as early as kindergarten. Because the desire to be a leader – one of the essential elements of human nature. Due to this desire a person moves forward, despite the possible losses.


In this article, we learned that leadership is a psychological phenomenon, and accompanies all our lives. If you want to be the master of your own life you must know well the secrets of the art of leadership.

Leadership skills are extremely important for everyone, but especially for specialists working with people: managers, social teachers, social workers, psychologists, educators, employees of social organizations, etc.

Tuituinnyk Olha

Cherkassy, Ukraine


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