A leader is one who guides and directs other people, he gives the efforts of his followers’ direction and purpose by influencing their behaviour. Therefore, leadership characteristics may be defined as the quality of behaviour of a person by which he is able to persuade others to seek the goals enthusiastically. According to George R. Terry, “Leadership is the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for mutual objectives.
Koontaz and O’Donnell have defined leadership as “the ability of a manager to induce subordinates to work with the confidence and zeal”. In the words of Robert Appleby, “Leadership means of direction. It is the ability of management to induce subordinates to work towards group ideals with confidence and keenness”.
Simply stated leadership is a process involving two or more people in which one attempts to influence the other’s behaviour towards the accomplishment of some goals.
An analysis of the above definitions reveals the following characteristics of leadership.
Leadership is a process of influence exercised by the leader of group members. A person is said to have an influence on others when they are willing to carry out his wishes and accept his direction. A successful leader is one who influences the behaviour, attitudes, and beliefs of his followers.
Leadership is a function of stimulation it involves motivating people to strive willingly towards organizational goals. A successful leader can subordinate the individual interest to the common interest of the group. He creates a goal congruency so that people enthusiastically wok to attain the goals.
Leadership gives the feeling of contributing to common objectives, A successful leader creates an environment under which every person feels that he or she is contributing to the attainment of organizational objectives. He recognizes the efforts and activities of every individual in the organization.
Leadership is related to a particular situation at a given point of time and under a specific set of circumstances. This implies that the leadership style will differ from one situation to another.
Leadership is a shared experience, A good leader shares ideas, experience, and credit with his followers. He lets the subordinates to influence his behaviour so that they are satisfied with the type of leadership provided.
Leadership is not headship or bossism, Headship implies the exercise of formal authority and control whereas leadership involves the use of persuasion to influence behaviour.
Leadership is an ongoing activity in an organization.
Leadership implies the existence of followers, by their willingness to be influenced by the leader, whose subordinates formalize the leader’s authority and make the leadership process possible.
Successful Leadership Leads to Goal Accomplishment. Leaders’ efforts to influence are aimed at some level of achievement.