What makes a good leader for a group?Leadership is defined as a process whereby an individual has an influence a group of individuals to achieve a common goal’ (Northouse, 2010, p. 3). According to Ganta, and Manukonda (2014) leadership refers to a strength an individual hold over others in terms of impacting their behaviour, beliefs attitudes and values. A good leader does not only focus on the company or organisation goals and outcomes rather it also encourages each member of the group to strive and go beyond their goals and objective (Northhouse, 2009).
Historical research, proposed that a number of theories, models and approaches may explain the concept of leadership (Zakeer, Nawaz & Irfan, 2016). Therefore, it is important to start back through the evolvement of the focus of leadership in the past to understand models and approaches today. Leadership theories and approaches have been clarified and changed over the years; however, no theory has been proved to be completely irrelevant (Zakeer, Nawaz & Irfan,2016).
Therefore, it is crucial to understand that research has proved that there is not only one definite approach, theory or combination of characteristics that defines a good leadership (Rolfe, 2011). Despite this, good leaders are knowledgeable of the core leadership theories and approaches and therefore relevance of each approach depends on the situation to which its applied (Vroom & Jago ,2007). The following literature aims to explore previous research in the focus of engaging in essential components of good leadership. The attention of the current literature is directed on evolving theories and models of leadership, effective leaders and self-identity, leadership styles and emotional intelligence which all contribute to the formation of a good leader of a group.Throughout history there has been several emerging theories that account for becoming a good leader. The following literature will explore several existing theories which were once believed to explain good leadership and their progression forward. Firstly, the Trait Theory emerged from “great man” theory of leadership first proposed Carlyle who suggested that leadership was shaped by inheritable traits (Carlyle, 1941). Therefore, according to Cowley (1931) the study of leadership should consistently adopt the idea of the trait theory which was the first approach to understanding the concept of leadership. In the 1940s such trait theories experienced many criticisms such as being inadequate in predicting a great leader as it doesn’t take multiple factors into account and also criticized for being solely based on men in leadership (Stogdill, 1948). However, despite the rejection, the influence of the trait theory re-emerged in research as a result of various supporting empirical studies. Therefore, much research supports that good leaders are defined through there traits. Previous literature according to Judge et al (2002) highlighted that specific personality traits increase an individual’s likelihood of reaching a leadership position. The Big Five personality traits which was also known as the OCEAN model which consist of openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism (Rothmann and Coetzer, 2003) was agreed to explain such traits of effective leaders. As a result of this model, the strongest predictor of good leadership was extroversion in particular association with dominance and sociability and agreeableness was the weakest predictor of good leadership where by individuals tend to be passive and compliant, it makes sense they would be less likely to emerge as leaders(Judge et al, 2002, p.774).However, behavioral and situational analyses of leadership began to dominate the field of leadership research while leadership characterization by individual differences come to an end (Bass, 1990). Other dominant theories took the place of trait leadership theory, including Fiedler’s (1967) contingency model, During the 1970s and 1980s, effective leadership was believed to rely on the interaction between a leader’s behaviour content and need’ (White & Hodgson, 2003) and therefore dependent upon the situation otherwise known as the contingency theory. This approach suggests that there is no single best dominant style of leadership applicable to every situation, however effective leaders should be capable of adoting various styles of leadership and apply relevant styles to the nature of the given situation (Gill, 2011). So Fiedlers (1958) theory proposed that leadership is most effective when one’s situation matches their leadership style (Gupta, 2009). Aamodt (2015) stated that Contingency theory proposed that an individual’s leadership style is shaped throughout various lifespan experiences. According to Fiedlers Contingency theory, instead of educating others about a single leadership style, one should focus on assisting others to comprehend their personal leadership style and concentrate on relating their own style to a relevant situation (Aamodt, 2015). There are several theories and models of good leadership, however Transformational Leadership is probably the most popular of them. Based on Burns (1978) book on leadership, Bernard Bass (1985, 1996a) produced some extensive research on transformational leadership which became extremely popular and has since been the most applicable model of leadership throughout history. According to Burns (1978), transformational leaders go beyond expectations and therefore engage in extra ordinary efforts such as focus on higher order intrinsic needs. Shamir et al. (1993, p. 577) stated that transformational leaders cause followers to become highly committed to the leader’s mission, to make significant personal sacrifices in the interests of the mission, and to perform above and beyond the call of duty’. Therefore, because they can motivate followers to outstanding levels of accomplishment through empowering followers and offering them support, but also challenging them. Bass (1985, p.31) also stated that charisma is a necessary ingredient of transformational leadership’. Charismatic leadership is associated with an emotional bond connecting followers and leaders (Shamir, 1991). For instance, House et al (1991) discovered that as a result of the analysis of 34 US presidents, those who were most rated by as most effective presents had higher rates of charisma. Therefore, such leaders develop an appealing vision which corresponds with their followers’ needs. Bass (1985) explained that transformational leadership is defined by the four Is’ such as Idealised influence, Inspirational motivation Intellectual stimulation and Individualised consideration. Most experimental research, unfortunately, has focused on transactional leadership, whereas the real movers and shakers of the world are transformational’ (Bass, 1990, p. 23) The contrasting theory that often is compared with transformational leadership is transactional leadership (Burns ,1978). As stated by Bass, transactional leaders focus on the proper exchange of resources whereby providing followers with tangible resources in return for their support and loyalty. (Judge and Piccolo, 2004). Burns (1978) argued that transactional leadership practices lead followers to short-term relationships of exchange with the leader and that this connection does not go beyond the exchange It posits that workers are less vision inspired, passive not self-motivated and require structure, instruction and monitoring in order to complete tasks correctly and on time. However, just because transaction leadership may not be independently as strong, its behaviour and attributed are often joined with transformationl leadership to constitute to the full range leadership model (Zehndorfer, E. 2013). Therefore, good leaders often adopt the transformational approach in order to have long term positive effect on the organisation itself as well as followers. A good effective leader of a group adopts a shared group identity whereby considering the groups values and opinions (Reicher, Haslam & Platow ,2007). Such leaders share social identity while also representing what distinguishes their group from others (Stepphens et al., 2014), therefore they are the most prototypical of their group. Many studies emphasise the vital importance of social identity approach. For example, Bass stresses that the best leaders are the ones that visualise themselves as group members while also understanding followers’ interest as their own personal interest (Bass,1985). Similarly, Lynn, & Kalay, (2015) stresses the importance to emphasise that all roles of members are of significance importance and therefore it is crucial for each member to be crystal clear of their role. The most effective leaders dene their group’s social identity to t with the policies they plan to promote, enabling them to position those policies as expressions of what their constituents already believe (Reicher, Haslam & Platow ,2007). It is also necessary eliminate any source of discrimination from the group in order for all group members to be treated at the same standard. (Nair, 1994). Reicher, Haslam & Platow (2007, p.27) also established that a feature shared by the failing companies, was a compensation gap’ between members of the same group. Therefore, in order for a group, organisation or company to thrive it is necessary to maintain an equal payment to avoid follower’s perception of financial inequity. A prime example of social identity in terms of leadership was expressed by Gandhi, who expressed his rejection to opulence whereby encouraging Indians to embrace their Khadi cloth by creating a monopoly of their own material by spinning and also adjust to a universal dress code rather than focusing on foreign luxuries (Sangita, 2017). The most desirable traits whether its physical or personality of a leader match the culture of their followers. Antonakis, House & Simonton (2017) also illustrate the idea that leaders who appear overly intelligent or clever often erode their effectiveness as a leader, this is also noticeable by Bushes presidential strategy over the years. Bush tended to maintain a shared level of identity with his followers in order to adopt an effective leadership approach (Reicher, Haslam & Platow, 2007). According to the social identity strategy, no xed set of traits can secure good leadership because the most desirable traits depend on the nature of the group being led (Reicher, Haslam & Platow, 2007). However, such leaders must attempt to relate with followers of the group and mould the groups identity in a way that makes their policies appear to be in line with their former beliefs. (Gaffney, Rast III, & Hogg,. ,2018)The style of which a leader adapts shapes how effectively they may impact their group and therefore their likelihood of good leadership. Lewin, Lippit and White (1939) proposed that there were three different styles of leadership such as Autocratic, Democratic and Laissez-faire. Overall according to Lewin’s study, democratic leaders are most effective in terms of positively influencing groups (Khan et al., 2015). For instance, according to Lewin’s study, despite democratic children being less productive than the authoritarian children, but their contributions were of a much higher quality (Bond and Shiu, 1997). Smith (1998) highlighted that if highly structured tasks are present and the leader has a strong relationship with the employees, the overall effectiveness of the approach will be increased on the part of the employees and therefore democratic style of leadership results in effective achievements due to leader and follower relationship. His findings further revealed that democratic leaders encourage group performance and can work with a small but highly motivated team (Smith 1998). Another important aspect of this style is that members experience a sense of belonging and a feeling of connectedness indicates a presence of trust relationship and togetherness among the leader and followers (Preece, 2000). An example of democratic leadership study was explored by Wageman (2001) who assessed 34 teams in Xerox on the relationship between their leadership, and performance. Results discovered that effective leadership was about coming to an agreement with others in order to focus on a mutual goal and therefore was democratic and it wasn’t about either bossing followers around or complete lack of guidance (Wageman, 2001). Finally, democratic leaders adopt a group learning strategy whereby they trust and raise the knowledge of the group and they recognise when they are wrong (Bunderson & Sutcliffe, 2003) Therefore, democratic leaders are more likely to be respected by their followers as they practice open 2-way communication, share critical information, and freely disclose their perceptions and feelings with the people they work with to maximise their groups performance (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2016, p.1066).What creates a disparity between the great leaders and good leaders? According to Goleman (2004) the greatest leaders share a strong level of emotional intelligence (EI). EI involves the ability of an individual control their personal emotions and also to understand and manage the emotions of others (Mayer, Salovey and Caruso, 2008). Self-regulation, self-awareness, social skills, motivation and empathy ae essential components when adapting to effective EI (Zehndorfer, 2013). EI has been proposed to be significantly related to valuable skills in a manager, leader or employee (Bass 1990; Goleman, 1998), and has also been related to the evocation of transformational leadership (Ashford & Humphrey, 1995; Ashkanasy & Tse, 2000). The significance of EI is highlighted throughout results of various studies. For instance, Golemen (2004) stated that when managers in company adapted a EI system, their results outperformed yearly earnings goals by 20%. Therefore, an individual may avail of the best possible training, have a strong IQ and spectacular, however without EI they cannot transform into a good leader (Goleman, 2004). Goleman (2004) calculated the significance of technical skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as important components of excellent performance and results highlighted that EI was found to be two times more important than other components in job performance. Goleman also recognised that leaders may have different personalities and qualities and still be effective, however, it is essential that such leaders have the capacity to alter in various situations and adopt various types of leadership. Therefore, as a result of previous literature on El, it is clear that good effective leaders adopt a strong level of EL to maximise the efforts of the leadership group.