What is Leadership? Definition Meaning and Importance

Having an understanding of what leadership is and how it differs from management is important to becoming a successful leader. This article explores the different types of leadership, the qualities of a good leader, and the differences between leadership and management.

What is Leadership?

Often viewed as a contested term, leadership has been the subject of many definitions. It has been defined as the art of influencing others to accomplish group objectives.

Some people argue that leadership is a natural trait. Other say that it is something that is developed. In any case, leadership is important in almost all aspects of society. Whether it is a political, cultural or business setting, leaders are needed.

Good leaders inspire their followers to perform tasks and complete projects. They also provide a positive example of what is expected of them. Good leaders also encourage their team members to share their own ideas and help develop a common vision.


The qualities that make up effective leadership include: intelligence, self-confidence, strong communication skills, and openness to change. A good leader is also willing to take risks.

Leadership vs. Management: What’s the Difference?

Frequently, the term leadership and management are used interchangeably, and the two concepts have a lot in common. However, there are significant differences between the two. Understanding the differences can help you achieve the best possible balance of leadership and management traits.


Management is a very specific role within an organization. It involves controlling a group of people to accomplish a set of objectives. Managers have the power to hire and fire employees, assign tasks, and discipline staff based on performance. They also have the authority to set the tone for a work culture.


Leadership on the other hand, is more about influencing people to accomplish a specific goal. Leaders can be charismatic and motivate employees with interpersonal skills. Leadership is also a creative process. Leaders set the direction of a team or organization and inspire employees to do the same.

What Are the Different Types of Leadership?

Identifying leadership styles can help you improve your ability to motivate and influence people. There are several different types of leadership styles, each one with their own advantages and disadvantages. Each style has its place and appropriate uses.

Transactional leadership

The first type of leadership style is transactional leadership. Transactional leaders set clear goals for their teams and reward them for meeting those goals. They also monitor the team’s performance and impose consequences for missed goals. This style can be useful in organizations that have strong structure and discipline. However, it can also lead to diminishing returns and diminished morale.

A transformational leadership style can be useful in organizations that require frequent changes. It can also be effective in teams that have skilled employees. Typically, transformational leaders establish goals that are simple at first and grow over time. They are also known for being great communicators. They also encourage their team members to do their best and innovate.

Autocratic leadership

A leader who has whole controller over his team is called an autocratic leader. They never bend their opinions and rubrics for anyone. Moreover, their team has no say in the business choices. Moreover, the team is predictable to follow the path directed by the leader.

This ancient style of leadership has very few takers because it disheartens change. And modern leaders are changing the definition of leadership and redefining what leadership is with their path-breaking decisions.

Democratic leadership

In this type of leadership, team followers and leaders similarly contribute to objectifying business goals. Furthermore, they effort together and inspire each other to realize their own goals too. This type of leadership leads to a optimistic working atmosphere.

What Are the Qualities of a Good Leader?

Having the right leadership skills will help you to get ahead in your career. Whether you are working on your own or as part of a team, having the right tools is a good start. Some of the most effective leaders are those that are able to motivate others.

The best leaders have an appreciation for what others are capable of. Whether they are in a leadership position or in a managerial position, they know that they are responsible for guiding their team members towards success. A good leader is able to demonstrate the best way to get people to work together towards a common goal.

One of the most important characteristics of a good leader is a firm grasp of the fact that change is constant. They understand the need to adapt to a changing world and they are not afraid to take risks. In the context of business, this means they are open to experimenting with new methods to achieve their goals.

Honesty and Integrity

Leaders value decency and morality. They have persons who trust in them and their vision.


Leaders are self-motivating, and this makes them countless influencers. They are a good spur to their supporters. They help others to comprehend their roles in a improved situation.

Communication skills

Leaders possess great announcement skills. They are see-through with their team and share letdowns and successes with them.


Leaders are thinkers. They have a clear idea of what they want and how to attain it. Being good communicators, leaders can share their vision with the team effectively.

Never give-up spirit

Leaders challenge the status quo. Hence, they never give up simply. They also have sole ways to solve a problem.

Explore Leadership Training Programmers

Whether you are seeking to enhance your leadership skills or to become a new leader, there are many options to explore. You can enroll in a free online course or take a more in-depth program. The program should have a learning goal, be engaging, and include activities that will help you grow as a leader.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a leadership certificate program that teaches practical strategies for organizational leadership. The program includes a capstone project that reflects the learning goals of the program. You will also have access to a personal coaching call with the course creator, Cecilia Gorman.

The University of Michigan Ross School of Business offers a leadership development program that teaches best practices for influencing people. The course includes real-life stories and interviews with exceptional leaders. The program also includes assessments to measure your personal leadership style.

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