The Social Influence Of Leadership On Human

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For many years, many people (scholars) have had lot of interest in leadership, there have been many debates and some occasional confusion explaining the concept of leadership or what it really means. (Bass 1981) (Northouse, P 2016) Even now, defining it is not as easy especially given how enormous and complex it is. “There is no general consensus about the delimitation of the files of analysis”. According to Bass (1999), “the definition of leadership is related to the purpose associated with the attempt to define it, and so presents a wide range of possibilities. It could be seen as one of the processes in a group, could be due to someone’s personality or traits, an exercise of influence a particular type of action or behavior, form of persuasion, a power relationship, can be used to achieve goals, the result of interaction among people”. (Bass, 2000).

The study of leadership is one of the most important areas in Organizational Behavior and this is because many academic researchers have had keen interest with the topic right from the 18th century (Zaccaro, 2007) even though it’s said much further throughout human history. (Hogan & Kaiser 2005). Leadership has got critical effects on individuals, teams and performance in organization. If performed well it positively influences individuals, groups and teams. (Hogan & Kaiser 2005). In order to handle daily life challenges, leadership skills are very much needed to find opportunities on how to handle difficult situations. This is through leaders providing opportunities by creating job and income opportunities. (Vijay, S 2017).

Most researchers have defined leadership according their individual perceptions or how they understand it and also the aspects of the subjects that they are mostly interested in. After a wide review of the literature, Stogdill (1974) came to a conclusion that there are quite many definitions of leadership as the number of people who have attempted to define the concept however we can say; “Leadership is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members”. (House et al 1990).

Leadership as a social influence process encourages the leader to seek find the different ways in which employees can participate in activities that enable the company to reach organizational goals. Most organizations at the moment need effective leaders who understand the various complexities of the rapidly growing and changing environment. (Northouse, P 2013) One could ask what makes up Effective leadership? Over the years, a number of scholars have come up with various traits and characteristics that make one a good leader and this can be seen through the Trait approach. This was widely used in the 20th century as it was one of the first efficient ways of understanding leadership. Traits were highly thought to be one of the things that showed who a great leader is. The theories that were developed with were called “great man “theories as their emphasis was on mainly ascertaining the qualities that the great social, political and military leaders had for example Abraham Lincoln, Joan of Arc, Mohandas Gandhi among others”. (Bass, 1990; Jago ,1982). Some of the traits and characteristics include the following;

Leadership effectiveness can be seen from a Leader’s “Intelligence” (Northouse, P 2016). This is defined as the aggregate of the global capacity to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively with the environment. (Wechshler, D 1994). ‘Intelligence is positively related to leadership and this is based on an analysis of a series of recent studies on intelligence and various indices of leadership’, Zaccaro et al (2004) found support that leaders tend to be more intelligent than non- leaders. Having strong verbal and communication skills, perceptual ability and reasoning appears to make one a better leader, it’s good to be bright however a leader’s intellectual ability should not differ too much from that of his subordinates as there will be difficulty in communication with the followers. This is simply because ahis ideas might be too advanced for the followers to understand, accept or handle. According to a study conducted by judge et al (2004) the average correlation of observer-rated intelligence and leader emergence was r=.60 compared to intelligence and leader emergence which was r=.25. This shows that intelligence is important but less than commonly assumed (small to medium sized relations to effectiveness. Apparent intelligence (being considered intelligent) may be more important than actual intelligence as a leader who’s perceived as intelligent by his or her followers is better than a leader who is just intelligent.

Another trait is having self -confidence, this plays a great role in making one a leader. (Northouse, P 2016). This is when person believes in one’s self, their skills and capabilities. A person should believe in themselves first and also believe that they can make a difference in the people’s lives they lead. An example of a leader with such traits includes Steve Jobs for example its said that when he told people what he wanted to create, many people didn’t believe in him, some even thought it would be impossible however despite the negative attitude he pushed through as he never for once doubted that his products would impact on the world. (Stone 2011) “For leadership to be effective, a leader needs to exhibit determination which is one’s desires to get something done. It has characteristics such as initiative, their perseverance, dominance and drive”. (Yukl, G 2013). Such people are usually assertive, they look for problems and find ways of solving them. They also do not easily give up when faced with hard situations They take on the lead especially in situations where their subordinates require to be directed or told what to do. (kidder, 2004; Partners in Health 2014)

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Integrity is another important leadership trait, it shows how honest and trustworthy a person is. It’s seen through people who are principled and take responsibility for their actions. They also inspire their followers to be confident in them due to the fact that they are trusted to be able to do the things they promise to do. They are usually very loyal can be relied on and do not usually tell lies. Integrity is one thing that makes it easy for subordinates to be trusted and be easily relied upon. (Northouse, P 2013)

Looking at personality, for the past 25 years, researchers came to a conclusion regarding the factors that make up a personality and these were referred to as the Big 5 Personality factors. (Goldberg, 1990; McCrae & Costa, 1987). They include the following;

“Neuroticism” – the level at which someone can manage his or her emotions for example anxiety, in times of uncertainty, depression among others.

“Extraversion or positive affectivity”- affectivity is a personality trait that predisposes individuals to experience positive emotional states, feel good about themselves and the world around them. Extraverts tend to be sociable, affectionate, and friendly (Jones, Gareth & George, Jennifer).

“Openness to Experience”- is the extent to which a person is original, has broad interests and his willingness to take risks. This is beneficial for jobs that change frequently, require creativity and innovation or involve considerable risk. (Jones, Gareth & George, Jennifer).

“Conscientiousness” – these are good at planning, better organizational skills, can be easily relied on and good at making decisions.

“Agreeableness”- The tendency of being more accepting, work well with people and also trust them. Judge at al (2002) conducted a major meta- analysis of 78 leadership studies and found a strong relationship between the Big 5 Traits and Leadership however, among the five, Extraversion turned out to be strongly associated with leadership, followed by conscientiousness and openness and low neuroticism.

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