leadership(redirected from ringleader)
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leadershipthe process of influencing others to achieve certain goals. Effective leadership is often seen as the outcome of leadership qualities (traits) which some people have and some do not. In this conception, leadership is often seen as an autocratic activity, and leadership qualities are thought to include strength of personality, charisma, etc. Unfortunately, research into associated traits has been unable to prove conclusively a positive relationship between aspects of personality and effective management.
Academic work on leadership then shifted its attention away from what leaders are to what managers actually do in leadership roles. Two basic approaches to leadership were identified and have formed the core of theories of leadership and MANAGEMENT STYLE ever since. These are concern for production, as exemplified by SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT, and concern for people, as found in HUMAN RELATIONS philosophy. In the former, managers concentrate on getting the job done and their leadership style is essentially directive. In the latter, managers devote their efforts to ensuring that their subordinates are satisfied in their jobs, on the basis that a contented worker is an effective one. These twin dimensions are combined together in the Managerial Grid, devised by Americans Robert Blake (1918 -) and Jane Mouton (1930 -), as shown in Fig. 49. In their view the most effective form of management is Team Management, where leaders show a marked concern for people and for getting the job done.
However, research findings do not fully support this contention, leading some analysts to suggest that the situation in which leadership occurs needs to be considered too. American writer Fred Fiedler (1922-) has suggested that the extent to which tasks are structured and the nature of the leader -subordinate relationship (including the power resources of the leader) influence the effectiveness of leadership styles. A task-oriented approach is most effective where tasks are either highly structured or fairly unstructured and where the leader-subordinate relationship is very good or very poor. It is in the middling positions that a people-oriented style is most effective. Fiedler believed that managers find it difficult to change their styles and therefore advocated that managers should attempt to modify the situation to enhance effectiveness. Other writers, however, have argued, in what has come to be known as ‘situational management’, that leaders should adapt their style to the demands of the situation. It has been suggested that a critical factor is the job ‘maturity’ of subordinates, i.e. their capacity to direct their own job performance. At low levels of maturity a task-orientation is most appropriate to provide direction. As maturity increases leaders should adopt a people-orientation to provide support whilst reducing the amount of task direction. As individuals reach full maturity the manager can reduce both task-and people-orientation and allow individuals to perform the job as they see fit. In a sense, at this point successful leadership is the absence of overt leadership.