It had often been said earlier that leadership is an inherent quality in certain individuals, but there are also leaders who are made through management institutions, by organizations, through institutions like the armed forces and even through political relationships, etc. There are certain qualities that a leader must have or develop to be a leader and remain a leader and those are the subject matter of discussion now.
The situation in the world is changing and it has come to a position in the beginning of the twenty-first century, that certain characteristics are seen as requirements for being able to influence future changes. Some of them are the ability to bring together individuals as much as possible for them to take a collective action, demonstrate collaborative decision and inclusive decision making for the entire group, maintain a flexible and responsive reaction in reference to all changes, be ready to engage in continuous learning and improvement, communicate to the group a set of visions, purposes and values; be ready to develop, nurture and build up others so that they can also become leaders; view the problems with a global perspective and view the difficulties of individuals in the light of global perspectives; use imagination and creativity for resolution of difficult problems; be ready to regularly view new ideas which are different from the ones that are being followed; maintain the operation from a systemic view and be capable of passing on and influencing changes in the policies as made by others in the total system. (Overview)
The leadership role also changes with the economic situation and the other participants in the activity. If we think of a welfare activity, then when a situation of weak economy comes up, then it is likely that more persons will approach the organization for help, and similarly there will be more individuals approaching the state for help also, which the government will find it difficult to service due to their weaker positions in terms of finance. Again, the help may have to be provided in different areas and the states will have to choose some from them -- child care, transportation, education and training, etc. Certain laws for helping the people may also have to be changed or at least viewed differently. This may even be with regard to the help that can be extended to individuals within their lifetime as per existing laws. Some essential types of help may have to be continued and these may be with regard to health care while other equally important functions may have to suffer like child care, transportation, education and training and disregarding of previous incomes. (Devolution in Practice: An Update) Thus there are essential requirements for changes in leadership and not all those changes are due to the desire of the leader individually.
There are three components of leadership which are required most by leaders under many circumstances, and especially in their roles as managers rather than social leaders. The most important thing for managers to be leaders is their total commitment and direct involvement in all activities of the organization so that the organization can be successful. This is required from managers at all levels. The basic reasons for success can be viewed as being the demonstrated ability to lead the organization through the changes that it has to undergo, a direct commitment and willingness to find a solution for the difficult issues that the organization faces and a direct example of their commitment through the relationship that they maintain with all their colleagues and the colleagues include those whom they are supposed to lead. All success or failure is a direct product of the abilities of the individuals who are the leaders of the organization as they have to lead, guide and educate through their own personal example. This is the ability to work in teams, to coach, support and encourage others, promote conditions in which others will be to perform at their best can also be viewed as the qualities of leaders. This can be defined differently by saying that leaders have an important task to develop individuals so that they can delegate their responsibilities and the primary responsibilities of a leader is to create, articulate and inculcate values within the others whom they are leading. In other words, it can be said that they are supposed to be leaders and not dictators of the team. (Leadership)
The above theories are however only good as theories as some new aspects of leadership difficulties have to be considered. These matters affect the leaders' perception of themselves as also the related stress and mood regarding the situation in which leadership is being provided. Even if the leader is ready to work in teams, there are situations in which the subordinates do not have clear concept of their own abilities and knowledge of their own functions. One may argue that it is the duty of the leader to inform the subordinates of their roles, but this is often not practically possible where the leader has just come to the group and the subordinates have existed in the group for a long time. In that case, the subordinate's behavior will be prompted by previous experience rather than the expectations of the new leader. (Situational Leadership)
The second point is of the receipt of resources and support by the leader from the authorities of the organizations. If the authorities do not supply the right amounts and required types of material then all efforts of the leader will go in vain and the subordinates will begin to feel that the leader is not able to live up to his statements and finally come to the conclusion that the leader is not a good leader. Another important point today is the required coordination with external groups. Today most of the work is done internationally and thus, it is important for leaders to get the required support from the external agency. Otherwise, the leader's efforts of leading his team will be a failure as the team will not get the required support. What this can make clear is that the styles of leaders can be variable and not always related to their relationships with their groups. It is also not correct to say that a more aggressive style of functioning by the leaders can resolve their difficulties. (Situational Leadership) These are changes in leadership styles which many leaders of today have had to go through to continue being leaders of their teams.
Now it is important to look at another organization which has a continued demand for leadership -- the armed forces. Here one of the most important requirements is viewed to be of vision as that is supposed to be the direction in which the team is supposed to move. This is however felt to be very confusing and has been described as being like "nailing Jell-O to a wall." At the same time, the concept of vision has to be appropriate, possess standards of excellence, purpose and direction. In other words, it has been stated that organizational vision has to be ambitious, articulated easily and generally understood. (Developing a Leadership Philosophy)
The importance of vision in the forces are being emphasized by saying that where there is no vision, the people would tend to perish. At the same time, many leaders of the forces have stated that the concept of vision is more like as being compared to that of the commander's intent. This also means that vision has to be one which is shared, communicated to and understood by all members of the organization if the organization is to succeed in a proper manner. This also means that the subordinates have to share that vision, support it and act according to the vision. If that is not done, the success will not come. This however confirms again that vision is well connected with the intents of the leader. An example of vision and intent becomes even clearer when we consider the outcomes of an airborne operation. This means that the airborne troops need to be dropped behind the lines of the enemy. Further they may not be having good contact with their leaders, but even if the vision or commander's intent has been communicated to the soldiers, their operations are not in any sort of great difficulty as they also know the purpose of their operation, the methods of getting the operation completed and the ultimate objective of the entire operation. (Developing a Leadership Philosophy)
The difficulty here is with regard to whether all this can be communicated fully by the leader to the followers. At the same time, it is to be understood that in any essentials of leadership, there has to be the importance of communicating vision. The other difficulty is that vision itself may continue to be changing and this is because of the reasons relating to the personnel and equipment changes that would be happening. The leader is thus…