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An analysis of leadership-leadership as a function. Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Oke Olumuyiwa Oladunni, Nigeria Mar 28, 2003
Globalization   Opinions
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An analysis of leadership-leadership as a function.

Are successful leaders born or “made”? Does success as a leader rest on the possession of a certain abilities and traits, or are there many combinations of characteristics which can result in successful youth leadership? Is youth leadership or its potentials- a property of the individual, or is it a term for describing between people?

Before, it was earlier believed in the 19th century that leadership was a property of the individual and that limited number of people was uniquely endowed with abilities and traits which made it possible for them to become leaders. Moreover, these abilities were believed to be inherited rather than acquired.

It is quite unlikely that there is a single basic pattern of abilities and personalities traits characteristics of all leaders. The personality characteristics of the leaders are not unimportant, but those which are essential differ considerably depending upon the circumstances. The requirements for the successful political leadership are different
from industrial management or educational or youth leadership. Failure is as frequent as success in transfers of leaders from one type social institution to another.

Even within a single institution such as a youth organization, different circumstances require different leadership characteristics, a comparison of successful youth leaders in different historical periods in different cultures, in different organizations. The leadership requirements of a young, struggling youth organization for example are quite different from those of a large, well established youth organization.

Within an individual organization different functions (fund raising, grant writers, campaign team) demand rather different abilities and skills of leadership. Youth leadership is successful in one function sometimes, but by no means always successful grant writer would not make a successful moderator (or vice versa!).
On the other hand, leaders who differ notably in abilities and traits are sometimes equally successful when succeed each other in a given situation. Within rather wide limits, weakness in certain characteristics can be compensated by strength in others. This is particular evident in partnerships and teams in which leadership functions are in fact shared. The very idea of the team implies different supplementary patterns of abilities among members.

Many characteristics which have been alleged to be essential to be leaders turn out not to differentiate the successful leader from unsuccessful ones. In fact, some of this integrity, ambition, and judgment for example is to be found not merely in the leader but in any successful member of an organization.

Among the characteristics essential for leadership are skills and attitudes which are acquired or modified extensively through learning. These include competence in planning and initiating action in problem solving, keeping communications open in problem solving, keeping communications open and functioning effectively in accepting responsibility and in the skills of social interaction. The few outstanding leaders in many fields have been unusually gifted people, but these prominent leaders differ widely among themselves in their strength and weakness. There is no base universal code of personal qualifications for leadership. We must look beyond that if we which to understand what leadership is all about.

Leadership is not the property of an individual but a complex relationship among these variables- the characters of the following characteristics of the organization such as its purpose and structure, social economic. These so called variables are situational influences in leadership that operates in a subtle and unnoticed as well as in an obvious ways.

If we accept the point of view that leadership consist of the relationship between leadership, its followers, the organization, we must recognize that we cannot predict the personal characteristics of the human resources than an organization will require in a decade or two. As a matter of fact, there is not much evidence that wish academic achievements represents a necessary characteristic for leadership. There may be positive correlation but if not large enough to provide a basis for recruiting leaders. In fact, the current President of the United States of America would have been passed over at graduation by a management recruiter who relied in this correlation! Of course, there are positions requiring high intellectual capacity, but it does not follow that there is one correlation between its characteristics and success as a leader. It is rather saddening that intellectual achievement as measured by consistency in the all subjects. There is a little reason for assuming that high motivation and hard work in school.

Finally, if leadership is a function - a complex relation between leader and situation - we ought to be clear that every promising member recruited is not a potential member for top management. Some people in some organization will become outstanding leaders as fundraisers, campaigners, moderator etc. Some people in a youth organization will become outstanding leaders in fundraising or as program facilitators. Many of these people would not be effective leaders in top management positions of the youth organization at least under circumstances prevailing in the organization. We should place high value in such people so as to enable them to the fullest of the potentials in the role they can fill best. We should also find ways to reward them which thereby persuading them to consider outstanding leadership at any level is a precious thingReferences

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Oke Olumuyiwa Oladunni

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Oke Olumuyiwa Oladunni, My brother thanks for this article. You have shared some insights into the world of leadership. I pray most leaders, especially African Leaders get to read this article. Keep more of this coming, I am behind you solidily. Chris (TIG Member).

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