Included in collection: Leadership

Leadership Lecture

“Ah well! I am their leader, I really ought to follow them”. Ledru-Rollin, 1857.

(Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, 1979: 313)

“No man is a leader until his appointment is ratified in the minds and hearts of his men”.United States Infantry Journal, 1948.

(Gill, 2009: 1)


Significant literature surrounds the subject of leadership, not least the numerous biographies and autobiographies of those identified as being ‘good’ leaders. You will also possess your own views on the topic shaped by your personal experiences of leadership within families, social groups, educational institutions and ultimately your working environment.

In this chapter, the key academic concepts and theories will be outlined in an attempt to present the core arguments. However, whilst most agree that leadership is a critical success factor for any business, the way in which it is captured and expressed is challenging. Some consider leadership an inherent personal skill, others a learned art whilst still others view it through the prism of social science! The examination of leadership is further complicated when the importance of context (e.g. the nature of the business, the operating environment, the needs and wants of those being led etc.) is also addressed.

This chapter will provide the essential foundation for the examination of leadership. However, further reflection and critical self-examination will be required in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the topic. It is the resulting personal insights which support individual leadership development.


To be able to:

  1. Define leadership
  2. Understand the key/core leadership theories that exist.
  3. Appreciate the importance of leadership styles.
  4. Understand the difference between leadership and management.
  5. Consider leadership in context (e.g. strategic leadership).


Leadership is:

“Getting someone to do what you want them to do even if they don’t want to do it”.

“Getting someone to want to do what you want them to do”.

“…. the impact you have on yourself and the impact you have on people around you”.

(ILM, 2013: 5-6)

As intimated in the introduction to this chapter, it is challenging to settle on one definition of leadership, given the relationship aspects that must necessarily exist between the leader, individuals and groups. Perhaps one of the most compelling definitions - as it captures the importance of these interactions - is that proposed by Northouse (2010):

Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal

(Northouse, 2010: 5)

In suggesting this definition, Northouse is also recognising the essential considerations of context through goal setting - what leadership is required to achieve. From this, it could also be argued that a leader must possess the ability to motivate and engage with those being led. In order to exert this influence, how the leader interacts with people (i.e. the style, attributes or art of leadership) is also critical.

In attempting to capture what leadership is, it is sensible to consider the core areas of debate that exist which have shaped the literature on the topic:

  • Leadership vested in the person. It is the character or personality of a person that shapes their success as a leader.
  • Leadership embodied within processes. How leaders get things done, reflecting the particular situation being faced. These leadership processes will be different depending upon the setting i.e. culture and context. A leader is someone who can act differently.
  • Positional leadership. Someone becomes a leader by virtue of the hierarchical position that they hold. This is the core of the debate in relation to the differences between management and leadership (see 5.0 below).
  • Leadership achieving results. Unless the goal is achieved, how can someone be a successful leader?

(Grint, 2005).

One area of consensus that seems to exist within the literature is that leadership is about exercising power in some way. Irrespective of the arguments presented as to who, how and why someone is a leader, ultimately a power relationship exists.

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It is a leader’s ability to use power (and the ways in which they choose to use it) that achieves results - or not! Power can be rooted in the following:

  • Information. The leader possesses information that others do not. The leader is able to share this with others in a way that ensures it is accepted and that the resulting behaviours/actions are those required by the leader.
  • Reward and coercion. This is built around social dependence - people look to the leader as the source of reward (e.g. pay and promotion) or coercion (e.g. demotion and dismissal).
  • Legitimate. Others recognise the right of the leader to issue direction and demands.
  • Expertise. The leader possesses (or is believed to possess) knowledge that is accepted by others as essential or superior.
  • Referent. The leader is a source of respect and admiration, with others willing or wishing to emulate them.

(Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014)

Discussion Point:

Have you ever been in a position of leadership? If so, what was the source of your power as a leader? Was it effective? If so, why? If not, what (different) approach to power could have delivered the results you required?


The importance of leadership recognising and reflecting its operating environment has been noted as a critical success factor. Therefore, having considered how power relates to the concept of leadership, the culture of the business concerned must also be examined. Only in doing so, can the effectiveness of leadership be considered in context.

Diagram 1 outlines how a leader’s impact and how they are perceived by others are shaped by both the culture of the organisation and the way in which they (choose to) exercise power.


Types of Power Lever

Power Culture

Role Culture

Task Culture

Person Culture

Reward Levers

Rewards offered for supporting key power figures

Rewards offered for following existing rules, regulations and procedures

Rewards for high task performance, project leadership and so on

Acceptance by Peers

Coercive Levers

Mistakes, misdemeanours and actions punished if they threaten key power figures

Punishment for working outside role requirements or breaking rules, procedures or communications patterns

Focuses on low task performances or differences of expert opinion. Rejection from elite group or cancellation of project possible

Threatened by/with group expulsion

Legitimate Levers

Rules and Regulations can be broken by key figures

Behaviour in keeping with defined authority, relationships, rules, procedures, job outlines and descriptions

Problem-solving ability through technical expertise. Senior management can be challenged on technical grounds

Behaviour according to needs of individuals in situation. Loyalty to those with whom one interacts, with allegiance to organisation as a whole

Personal Levers

Strong, decisive, uncompromising, charismatic behaviour. Manipulation by leaders. Low support for those who are not key power figures

Personal power from perceived rightful issuing, observance and interpretation of rules, procedures and allocation of work. Personal support offered only to fulfil role requirements

Status and charisma derived from problem solving skills

Personal power through sharing and partnership. Personal growth, developing supporting environment

Expert Levers

Knowledge and performance standards based not on professional criteria but on influence over others - political

Working solely within one’s specialist role - not crossing boundaries or disturbing existing role structure

Constant skills development to solve new and more complex problems. Driving standards higher

Behaviour and work standards developed by group members at any one time. Individuals expected to adhere to current informal standards

Information Levers

Information valued only if it helps achieve personal ends

Information flows according to role prescriptives and established patterns and procedures

Driving to acquire and share new information for better problem solving

Any relevant information to be shared among the group

Connection Levers

Making numerous contacts and connections vital, within and without the organisations. Generates a closed shop culture

Contacts and connections only required to fulfil role demands according to regulations - e.g. health and safety advisers

Extensive network of experts inside and outside the organisation. Loyalty to experts (profession, discipline) rather than organisation

A personal sympathetic/emotional link with others. Satisfy a need to be with people one likes

Sources: Kakabadse, Ludlow & Vinnicombe (1988), as adapted by Linstead, Fulop & Lilley, (2009).

Discussion Point:

What power levers do leaders use in your organisation? What alternative approaches (if any) would better reflect the dominant working culture? Does power have to be exercised differently in other parts of the organisation? If so, why?


Whilst power and authority are important to leadership, this needs to be linked to an ability to generate confidence and respect in those being led. Trust is critical and to generate it a leader needs to consider how they communicate with those being led. If a leader is to create a ‘trust environment’, it has been argued that they require five key competences:

  1. Self-awareness. Understanding how your moods and emotions drive both your behaviour and shape the behaviours and attitudes of those around you.
  2. Self-regulation. The ability to think carefully before acting, avoiding behaving on impulse.
  3. Motivation. Displaying passion and optimism, pursuing goals with energy and enthusiasm.
  4. Empathy. Building networks and creating meaningful relationships through an understanding of the feelings and emotions of others.
  5. Social skills. An ability to find common ground and develop a shared language of understanding to build and lead teams.

(Goleman, 2000)

This section has aimed to provide an understanding as to what leadership is and how power and trust relationships shape its effectiveness. The concept of trust within leadership begins to introduce some of the core competences seen to be required of an effective leader. Therefore, it is now appropriate to consider the relevant theories and the debate around leadership styles.



Trait theories focus on who (or what) the leader is rather than what they do. Trait Theories. On this basis, it can be argued that people can be selected for leadership positions based upon the key personal, social and emotional characteristics required. This supports the concept of the ‘born leader’, as those concerned are seen to possess inherent attributes.

Much literature and debate exists as to what these critical traits are, but the four core considerations can be outlined as:

  1. Emotional stability. Someone who is calm, confident and predictable, especially when dealing with stressful situations.
  2. Honest and self-aware. Someone prepared to admit and accept they have made mistakes, rather than hide them or blame others for their failings.
  3. Excellent interpersonal skills. Someone who is able to influence and guide others without having to be coercive.
  4. Intellectual ability. Able to quickly understand and appreciate the ‘bigger picture’ and explain it clearly to others.

(ILM, 2013)

Discussion Point:

Consider a ‘good’ leader that you have worked with in the past. What would you list as being their key traits? Which of these traits do you believe you possess?

Zaccaro (2007) arguers that leadership emerges from a combination of multiple traits. It is how these characteristics work together in specific situations that make a leader. On this basis, the attribute required can be outlined as the ability to integrate:

  • Cognitive capacities such as intelligence, creativity and the ability to master complexity.
  • Personality such as being open to new experiences and more engaging and extrovert.
  • Motivation and values. Wishing to lead and motivated by success.
  • Social capabilities. Using social and emotional intelligence to persuade and negotiate effectively with others.

(Zaccaro, 2007)


The basic tenet of behavioural theory is that leaders can be trained and developed to behave in certain ways.

McGregor (1960), proposed two different approaches built around the premise that people were either ‘work shy’ (Theory X) or motivated by work (Theory Y). For Theory X situations an authoritarian leadership approach is required, whilst a more engaging and participative approach can be taken when dealing with Theory Y personnel.

Theory X employees prefer to be directed and will avoid work and responsibility when they can. They lack ambition and seek only employment security. Therefore leaders need to be more coercive, using sanctions and punishments to achieve objectives.

Theory Y employees enjoy work and will be committed to the goals set because they value achievement. They thrive when given the opportunity to take on responsibility. It is assumed that there are many of these people in the organisation and that they are keen to fulfil their full potential.

Discussion Point:

What characteristics and behaviours are leaders likely to display when dealing with Theory X and Theory Y employees?

McGregor’s work has provided the foundation for further behavioural studies, identifying two main leadership approaches:

  1. Consideration - focussed on relationships and feelings where the leader supports and involves followers. Open communications, team-working and trust are core elements and subordinates appear highly satisfied with the leader.
  2. Initiating structure - task or goal focussed with high levels of planning and control. Whilst such leaders are generally regarded as more effective, unless they also displayed at least some of the ‘consideration’ behaviours noted then followers were more discontent.

(Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014)

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Contingency theorist argue that there is no one best style or approach to leadership and that leaders are able to adapt their approach to reflect the situations they face. Effective leadership is about finding the best fit between behaviour, context and need (Hodgson & White, 2001).

Fielder (1969) argued that the relationship between the leader and the team, the structure of the task required and the authority/power of the leader established the effectiveness of the leadership approach adopted. However, the extent of any adaption would be limited by the preferred leadership orientation of the individual concerned (either task or relationship oriented). On this basis, Fielder believes it is easier to change the leader to suit the situation, rather than expect the leader to change their approach.

A less stark view of contingency theory can be taken. Whilst it can be argued that leadership orientation is essentially fixed (shaped by the leader’s character, background and personality traits), an insightful review of the situation being faced can be made. This would provide the motivation required to adjust the approach taken in order to improve leadership performance (Schedlitzki & Edwards, 2014).

Case Study 1: Mission-Command in the British Military

In considering a range of leadership models, the British military have sought to apply the lessons learned in conflict over many years. One of the most critical observations stems from World War 1 and the dangers of directive leadership.

An over-prescriptive or inflexible approach to leadership can lead to military units being unable to respond efficiently and effectively to new threats, emerging tasks and fast-changing scenarios. The traditional (civilian) observer’s view of the strong, central leader commanding from the centre of the battlefield can create a culture lacking in challenge, innovation and agility.

The British military has aimed to adopt the ‘auftragstaktik’ (literally mission-tactics) approach. This concept recognising that emerging, favourable situations will never be fully exploited if lower level leaders have to wait for instructions or follow rigid, established procedures at all times. Consequently, they are actively encouraged to work in support of the mission rather than just follow set orders. People are given the freedom to adapt to any evolving situation, providing that they carry out the mission concept of their superiors.

With the ever increasing complexity of the defence environment and the significant reduction in the resources available to meet them, subordinate commanders must feel able to challenge the status quo without risk to their own careers. Military education and training mechanisms provide people with the knowledge and support required to establish the crucial balance between following orders and exercising independence in judgement.

Underpinning this approach is the concept of ‘servant-leadership’. The aim is to avoid the development of a gap between the leaders and the led which can erode the cohesion and combat effectiveness of the military force. Leaders are visible and, where appropriate, expose themselves to the same hardships and dangers faced by ‘their’ personnel. Success is built upon an understanding and appreciation of people.

(Latawski, 2011, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, 2014)


The essence of situational leadership is for a leader to adapt their leadership style to take account of both team and individual competences.

Depending on the situation being faced and the competences of those being led, then a leader needs to be either directive or supportive. From this, Hersey & Blanchard (1993) developed four distinct leadership approaches:

  1. Directive. The leader provides specific instructions and monitors work closely. As there is little freedom of action granted to the individual or team, there is no requirement for much supportive behaviour.
  2. Coaching. The leader is focussed on enabling people to participate in determining how tasks are to be completed. Whilst the leader still takes the final decisions, they are much more supportive and work closely with their teams to arrive at the decisions required.
  3. Supporting. Here, the leader outlines the outcomes required, supporting others in the development and implementation of an appropriate course of action. Less direction is required.
  4. Delegating. A more ‘light touch’ approach. Responsibility for task completion rests with the team/individuals concerned.

This relationship between competence, motivation and leadership is shown at Diagram 2.

DIAGRAM 2: Hershey-Blanchard’s Situational model

Competence and Motivation

High Competence   

High Commitment

Medium to High Competence

Variable Commitment

Some-to-Low Competence

  Low Commitment

Low Competence

High Commitment







Appropriate Leadership Style









(Hersey, Blanchard & Johnson, 2015)

Adair’s (2002) Action Centred Leadership Approach highlights the requirement to adapt leadership styles to balance the demands of the task, the team and individuals. Diagram 3 provides an illustration of Adair’s thinking





Adair’s model disagrees with the idea that effective leaders possess a common set of traits, but it does state that they have the competence to handle a number of different scenarios. Leadership becomes more effective as the overlap and balance between these three aspects increases.

Discussion Point:

When have you adapted your leadership approach to reflect the competence levels of the people you were working with? Did you do so consciously?


Transformational leadership theory is essentially regarded as being a blend of both behavioural and trait theories. Essentially, a transformational leader is able to use their attributes to influence others through their behaviours and attitudes. They articulate a goal and/or vision that is used to transform an organisation.

A transformational leader is one who inspires. They share core values with the people they lead. They are often passionate and enthusiastic and this combined with their level of knowledge (both of their people and the business) gives them credibility. They generate confidence in those being led.

Transformational leadership is often linked to change management. Such leaders are visible and accountable, setting the standards they expect of others through their behaviours and attitudes.

Transformational leadership is seen to contrast with transactional leadership which is built around maintaining links with rewards for performance. Burns (1978) stated that a transformational leader creates significant change in the life of people and organisations, redesigns perceptions and values and changes staff expectations. As the transactional approach is rewards-based, Burns argued that the two styles were mutually exclusive. A transformational leader puts the good of their people and the organisation first.

Bass (1990) argued that leadership can be both transformational and transactional, but noted how people appeared willing to work harder for the transformational leader as they were stimulated and empowered to deliver change.

Case Study 2: Anand Rooney and Greene King

Greene King is arguably the UK’s leading integrated pub retailer and brewer. Since 2005, Greene King has been led by Anand Rooney who has overseen a sustained period of expansion and increasing profitability.

Anand effectively managed the transition from the assigned leadership of his predecessor (i.e. based on their formal position in an organisation) to ‘emergent leadership’ where he generated genuine support for his expansion plans. Anand instinctively appreciated that leadership is predominantly about people and their ability to communicate effectively with each other. Ultimately, it is argued that he gained committed followers rather than indifferent subordinates.

Anand’s skills and attributes as a leader are underpinned by cognitive intelligence (using intuition and imagination to make decisions and solve problems), spiritual intelligence (valuing people and giving them a sense of worth), emotional intelligence (responding to the feelings and needs of others in a manner that influences and inspires) and moral intelligence (maintaining the essential difference between right and wrong). Importantly, Rooney possesses the behavioural ability to adapt his leadership style to reflect the situation and circumstance being experienced.

Anand has been able to build a shared group identity, consistent with the company’s values and cultures, articulating a vision that is understood and shared throughout the business.

It could be argued that Anand’s willingness to adopt a more flexible and engaging leadership style has provided an element of competitive advantage in that it appears relatively rare within the market concerned. This participative and collaborative style of leadership seems to have been critical to Greene King’s success over this period.

(CEO Dossier, 2015)


Bass & Avolio (1990) developed a full range leadership model (FRLM) which sought to capture the four core factors underpinning transformational leadership:

  • Idealised influence. The ability to articulate a mission or vision for the organisation. This also involve charisma, requiring leaders to be strong role models and demonstrate high standards of ethical and moral behaviour.
  • Inspirational motivation. Inspiring others to put organisational interests before their own. Using symbolism and emotional engagement to get everyone to accept and support a shared vision for the future.
  • Intellectual stimulation. Encouraging innovation and creative behaviours. Setting challenges that encourage people to consider new perspectives, reviewing their current values if necessary.
  • Individualised consideration. Developing others - creating a supportive environment through coaching, mentoring and advice. By encouraging the development of others, organisational goals are achieved.

(Bass & Avolio, 1990)

The FRLM concept also addressed the core components of transactional leadership and recognised the existence of ‘laissez-faire’ approaches - essentially the absence of anything that would be accepted as leadership by most observers (e.g. delaying decisions and abdicating responsibilities). For transactional leadership, Bass & Avolio noted the following approaches:

  • Contingent reward. Specific rewards for directed effort - a leader gets followers to perform tasks in exchange for rewards such as pay and advancement.
  • Management by exception. Active management where the leader takes corrective action for every work error or rule infringement. Passive management where the leader allows greater leeway, with smaller infractions being allowed.

Diagram 4 provides an illustration of the FRLM approach.













(Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014)


Seven leadership approaches to decision-making have been suggested:

  • The leader takes the decision and announces it having considered the various options and courses of action. Others are not involved.
  • The leader takes the decision and ‘sells’ it to their subordinates. Here, the leader takes the time to explain their rationale and the benefits they see in taking the course of action proposed.
  • The leader presents their decision along with background information and invites questions. This more consultative approach is likely to be seen as more motivating as staff will better appreciate and understand the issues involved.
  • The leader proposes a decision and invites discussion. This develops the level of consultation undertaken and the leader can change the decision based on the inputs received. However, the final decision still rests with them. People are likely to be highly motivated as they feel they are able to influence decisions.
  • The leader presents the issue or problem, obtains other views and then decides. This allows the leader to capitalise on the more detailed knowledge and experience that their subordinates may possess.
  • The leader presents the issue or problem, outlines any assumptions and constraints and allows the team to decide. Whilst the leader remains accountable (and retains control should the decision reached proved unacceptable) significant responsibility is devolved.
  • The leader allows their subordinates full freedom of action to identify the issue, develop suitable options and implement them. Whilst highly motivating, the leader must be confident in the competence and capabilities of those involved.

(Tannenbaum and Schmidt, 1968)

From this, it is possible to propose a number of leadership styles for discussion.

Discussion Point:

Which of the above decision making approaches best reflects your personal style? Do you adapt your approach to reflect the needs of the team and the situation being faced?


Authentic leadership requires the person concerned to display a pattern of behaviour that draws on their own experiences and beliefs to promote a positive (ethical) climate. They are transparent in their relationships and dealings with followers and promote both self-development and development in others.

Trust (see 2.2 above) is a critical enabler for authentic leadership. This is supported by holding and demonstrating strong values and has been described as leading from/by the heart. Standing by their fundamental beliefs whatever the circumstances ensures that the leader is recognised for their strong moral character.

Distinctions have also been drawn with approaches such as ethical leadership (being both morally good and doing the right things in the right way for good reasons), servant leadership (empowering and developing others - giving clear direction whilst showing humility) and spiritual leadership (generating a sense of meaning, engagement and involvement). However, it is argued that these are dimensions of the same authentic approach to leadership as they are all rooted in values, behaviours and relationships.

It can be stated that this is the core of successful/enduring leadership, rather than a separate style or distinct approach.

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A dictatorial approach is taken by the leader, allowing only minimal involvement in decision making. Followers are only motivated through a fear of punishment and/or the application of sanctions.

The leader relies on exerting their power through authority i.e. the rights assigned to them (legally or through their organisational position) to control work, assign tasks and set the procedures and rules to be followed. In doing so, they are less likely to see any requirement to persuade or influence their followers.

Discussion Point:

There may be times or situations when an autocratic leadership style is appropriate. What circumstances would support/justify such an approach?


A charismatic leader is prepared to act in unconventional ways in order to achieve their vision. This requires high levels of confidence (both in their own capabilities and the vision they have articulated) in order to effectively engage their followers. Their self-belief allows them to take personal risks and make sacrifices and will seek to engage their followers through personal persuasive appeals built around the vision rather than rely on established authority structures.

A charismatic leader is often seen to be a master of rhetoric. This means that they can adapt their communication and engagement approaches to suit the needs of the audience without losing their visionary focus. They will take an inclusive approach to link people to the vision outlined so that they feel a part of the process.


Democratic leadership has also been described as facets of collective or distributed leadership. Some will argue that they can be seen as distinct styles, but for this discussion the overlapping facets mean that they are extremely similar concepts.

In this context, leadership is not limited to the senior management team of an organisation or the more formal authority structures. It is a more dynamic process, whereby the leader emerges in response to the need for specific knowledge or competences to address the issue or situation concerned.

Examples of democratic leadership could include cross-functional working groups brought together to manage a specific task. The collaboration and social interactions that result are likely to develop more intuitive working relationships that are less dependent on formal structures or status. Each individual can be a leader depending on when their particular functional specialism becomes the main focus of action or attention for the working group.

The more widely accepted and understood concept of the leader is not discounted. It is accepted that someone remains responsible and accountable for the outcomes of teamwork.

To be effective, democratic leadership requires:

  • Respect and trust for and between team members.
  • Collective support and protection.
  • Open communication - engaged discussion not debate.
  • A strong, shared common goal.
  • Strongly held shared values and beliefs.
  • Team objectives to be seen as more important than personal objectives.
  • A broad acceptance of the leadership approach, with everyone empowered to take decisions.

(Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014)


“The goal of transformational leadership is to ‘transform people and organizations in a literal sense - to change them in heart and mind; enlarge vision, insight and understanding; clarify purposes; make behaviour congruent with beliefs, principles or values; and bring about changes that are permanent, self-perpetuating, and momentum building”

(Bass & Avolio, 1994: 3)

The transformational theory that underpins this leadership style is discussed above (3.5). This illustrates one of the key challenges in any review of literature on leadership - the confusion and interlinking that exists between authors as to styles, theories, behaviours, models and traits! Whilst the key attributes of what can be described as a transformational leadership style have been discussed (see also Diagram 3), five particular practices can be identified:

  • Model the way.
  • Inspire a shared vision.
  • Challenge the process.
  • Enable others to act.
  • Encourage the heart.

(Iszatt-White & Saunders, 2014: 84)


“We do not in the Army talk of ‘management’, but of ‘leadership’. This is significant. There is a difference between leaders and management. [Leadership represents] one of the oldest, most natural and most effective of all human relationships. [Management is] a later product, with neither so romantic nor so inspiring a history. Leadership is of the spirit, compounded of personality and vision; its practice is an art. Management is of the mind, more a matter of accurate calculation of statistics, of methods, time tables and routine; its practice is a science. Managers are necessary; leaders are essential”

General Sir William Slim, 1957

(Adair, 1989: 217-220)

Significant debate exists within the available literature as to the differences between leadership and management. Whilst numerous interdependencies and similarities exist, some clear distinctions can be made between both the roles and the qualities required.

From the points presented in this chapter, it is argued that leadership requires people to be able to understand (or at the very least be aware of) the importance of the more emotional and human aspects of an organisation. A leader must be able to inspire and motivate without having to rely on existing organisational structures to engage with people. In setting an appropriate example, a leader demonstrates empathy, demonstrating an almost instinctive understanding of culture, values and the supporting team and individual identities.

Management is focussed on more tangible aspects, particularly the requirement to achieve the goals and targets set. Management is about dealing with complexity to produce orderly and consistent results whilst leadership is about dealing with change (Henry, 2011: 354).

Ultimately, whilst both seek to achieve the goals set, reflecting the mission, vision and values of the organisation (see 6.0 below), management is a relationship founded in authority whereas leadership requires to be ability to influence and shape behaviours, beliefs and feelings. (Schedlitzki & Edwards, 2014). 

Discussion Point:

Think about when you have been a manager and when you have been a leader. What do you think are the critical differences between the two roles? Can you be a good manager without also being a leader?


In seeking to outline a difference between leadership and management the focus inevitability shifts to the more intangible aspects that set leaders apart. Attempts to capture this difference often focus on the ‘art’ of leadership i.e. the qualities required to move from assigned authority based on a formal title or organisational position to then emerge as a leader. The ‘art’ is to gain committed followers rather than indifferent subordinates (Manning & Curtis, 2009: 1).

Form the aspects presented within this chapter, the essential skills and attributes for the art of leadership could be considered as being:

  • Able to helping people find meaning and relevance in complex events.
  • Able to create consensus around objectives, priorities and strategies.
  • Able to build commitment and confidence.
  • Able to build and maintain mutual trust and cooperation.
  • Able to create shared group identities consistent with organisational culture and values.
  • Able to develop others as leaders.
  • Able to set an example of moral behaviour, promoting social justice (fairness).

(Yukl, 2010: 506-507)

However, whilst knowledge is a key attribute for both management and leadership, the art of leadership also requires intelligence:

  • Cognitive Intelligence - using intuition and imagination.
  • Spiritual Intelligence - understanding that people need to be valued and have a sense of worth;
  • Emotional Intelligence - responding to the feelings/needs of others in a way that influences and inspires;
  • Moral Intelligence -differentiating between right and wrong and acting accordingly;
  • Behavioural Ability - Adapting leadership styles to match the situation.

(Gill, 2009)

However, it should be noted that this is but one interpretation that seeks to bring together many of the topics covered in this chapter. This remains a critical area of debate and discussion, which explains the continued popularity of leadership biographies!

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“[Strategic] leadership is concerned with creating a shared vision of where the organisation is trying to get to, and formulating strategies to bring about the changes needed to achieve that vision”.

(Henry, 2011: 434)

“Strategic leadership encapsulates entrepreneurial processes and strategic vision…. It is concerned with strategy development and change”.

(Gill, 2009: 59)

Strategic leadership focuses on the top management team within an organisation. It seeks to bring together all of the qualities and aspects of the leader outlined in this chapter to bear on the development and implementation of an organisation’s mission, vision and corporate strategy. A key element of strategic leadership is knowing if and when to act e.g. changing a company’s competitive position in the market.

The six components of strategic leadership have been described as:

  1. The ability to determine strategic direction.
  2. The development of human capital.
  3. The exploitation and maintenance of core competencies.
  4. Sustaining an effective corporate culture.
  5. Operating ethically.
  6. Establishing strategic control.

(Gill, 2009: 59)

All of this effort should be focussed on creating and sustaining a competitive advantage. This requires the strategic leader to possess a sound knowledge of market trends, issues and opportunities and how the company is currently situated in that market. They need to be able to know enough about how their organisation operates - its strengths and weaknesses - without getting captured by the detail. Getting embroiled in internal management aspects could lead to a loss of the essential broader market/environmental context required.

Strategic leadership is often focussed on the delivery of change. Consequently, much of the debate around the qualities required of the senior executives involved focusses on transformational theory and transformational leadership (see 3.5 and 4.5 above).


This chapter has sought to capture and review the core leadership theories and approaches that exist in order to provide a solid grounding for the further study of this complex area. Whilst most people are able to recognise a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ leader, identifying the processes used to reach that decision are far more challenging.

The case studies provide some context, but further reading is required. Often, a more detailed appreciation of what constitutes leadership can be obtained from a review of what went wrong in an organisation. Consequently, any changes in the senior leadership of any large organisation should be studies carefully - what new attributes or qualities of leadership are gained or lost in the change?

Diagram 5 provides an outline framework and summary to consider some of the issues discussed. Taking time to consider your personal approach to leadership will also help to develop your thinking on this topic.

What do you think makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ leader?

What formal training and development can be put in place to develop future leaders? Are leaders ‘born’ or ‘made’?

Would a good military leader automatically make a good business leader? Why? (or why not?)



Assumes leaders are born and not made. Leadership consists of certain inherited characteristics or personality traits. Focusses attention on the person in the job and not the job itself.


Attention is focussed on the functions and responsibilities of leadership, what the leader actually does and the nature of the group. Assumes leadership skills can be learned and developed.


The kinds of behaviour of people in leadership positions and the influence on group performance. Draws attention to range of possible managerial behaviour and importance of leadership styles.


The way in which the functions of leadership are carried out and the behaviour adopted by managers towards subordinate staff. Concerned with the effects of leadership on those being led.


The importance of the situation. Interactions between the variables involved in the leadership situation and patterns of behaviour. Belief that there is no single style of leadership appropriate to all situations.


A process of engendering motivation and commitment, creating a vision for transforming the performance of the organisation and appealing to the higher ideals and values of followers.


Based on the personal qualities or charisma of the leader and the manner in which the leadership influence is exercised.


More of a philosophy based on an ethical responsibility of leaders. A spiritual understanding of people; and empowering people through honesty, respect, nurturing and trust.

(Mullins, 2013)


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