This is the ability to influence people’s behavior. It is the ability to influence people to willingly follow one’s guidance and adhere to one’s decisions. A leader is the one who obtains followers and influences in setting and achieving of objectives.

1. Educator role

  • A leader will teach employees job skills, acceptable behavior and organizational values.
  • Managers work habits, attitudes and behaviors serve as a role model.
  • A leader is also responsible for formal training.

2. Counselor role

  • This role involves listening, giving advice, preventing and helping employees to develop solutions to their problems.
  • A leader is expected to show an awareness and concern for the employees.

3. Judge role
It involves

  • Appraising subordinates’ performance.
  • Enforcing policies, procedures and regulations.
  • Setting disputes and dispensing of justice.

4. Spokesperson role
By the end of the topic you should be able:

  • Identify the characteristics of successful leaders
  • discuss the roles of leaders
  • Describe the leadership styles that are used world over
  • Explain the theories of leadership
  • A leader speaks on behalf of the subordinates, the department and the organization.

1. Emotional appeal

  • A manager should be a rational decision maker, problem solver and is expected to use his/her analytical skills in the process of decision making.
  • S/he should have a great vision which can alter the mood of the followers.

2. Needs of followers

A leader should meet the needs and fulfillment of his/her followers. This helps in securing voluntary compliance.

3. Personal traits
– A leader should have the following traits:-

  • Positive attitude and perception towards people.
  • Self motivated.
  • Should have self confidence and communication ability.
  • Have trust in other people and also be trustworthy.

4. Leadership matches

  • A leader should match his/her personal traits and the situational demands e.g. dancing when they are dancing.

5. Leadership effectiveness

  • A leader aims at realizing and achieving the goals of the department and to satisfy the employees’ needs.

They should have the following:

  • A strong desire for task accomplishment; want to perform.
  • Persistent pursuit of the organizational goals.
  • Creativity and intelligence to solve problems.
  • Willingness to accept to their behavioral consequences i.e. accepting their mistakes.
  • High tolerance for other people.
  • Ability to influence other people.
  • Ability to structure social interactions.
  • Devote more time to supervisory activities than in doing the work itself.
  • Willingness to permit employees to participate in decision making.
  • High intelligence than the subordinates.
  • Gives recognition for good work by subordinates.



It is the first theory of leadership and it asserts that the ability to lead is dependent on the innate (inborn) characteristics. It states that leadership is natural and cannot be learnt.
– The natural characteristics that one should have include:

  • Personal initiative
  • Self assurance
  • Decisiveness
  • Assertiveness
  • Compassionate
  • Intelligent
  • Compassionate
  • Tall (ability to think and see far)
  • Good looking (well groomed)
  • Melodious voice
  • Should be wise.

NOTE: There are extremely large numbers of personal traits and it is not known how many should one have to qualify to be a lender.

It states that leadership style is influenced by the type of subordinates in the organization.
Theory X
It stipulates the following:

  • The average worker dislikes work and must therefore be coerced into making maximum efforts with
    inducements, sanctions and threat.
  • Workers are naturally reluctant to take responsibility preferring the security of being controlled..
  •  Workers are happy with clearly defined tasks than broadly defined objectives.
  •  Employees are normally resistance to change (they always want to maintain status quo) so that change must be imposed on them by those in authority e.t.c.

NB: The leader to manage workers in this category, s/he must take on board dictatorial tendencies.

Theory Y
It stipulates the following:

  •  Workers will usually work hard without being coerced.
  •  Employees can be relied upon to exercise self direction and control.
  • Workers like work and are always seeking responsibilities.
  • Most employees possess substantial potential for creative work.

They can sort out any technical issues no matter how technical the tasks are.
NOTE: A manager to influence the above workers will embrace democratic and laissezfaire (free reign) type of leadership.

It stipulates that leaders should be able to adapt to specific situations as they arise.
Therefore, a leader must be prepared to change his/her behavior as circumstances change.

Advantages of contingency theory

  • A leader is allowed to make his/her decisions appropriate to the situation at hand.
  • A leader is encouraged to analyze logically the characteristics of the situations to deal with.

Disadvantages of contingency theory

  • A leader may appear to his/her subordinates as inconsistent and insincere because of frequently changing.
  • Individual managers may not be sufficiently skilled to change decision and leadership styles to match different situations.

It is where a leader is seen as source of goal on reward, the leaders’ major task is to clarify the path to be followed by subordinates. A leader changes leadership styles according to :

  1. Characteristics of subordinates
  2. Clarity of organization’s formal authority system
  3. The physical environment in which work is done.
  4. Maturity of subordinates

It stipulates that leadership is dependent on maturity of subordinates. 4 styles are identified in this theory.

  1. Telling only – this is where a leader gives instructions to the subordinates and they follow as expected.
  2. Telling and setting – a leader gives instructions to the subordinates and persuades them to accept his/her position.
  3. Participating – it is where a leader shares ideas, opinions and involves the subordinate who are willing and unwilling.
  4. Delegating styles – a leader allows subordinates to make decisions and their own with minimum interference.

1. AUTHORITARIAN STYLE – a leader has all the authority and responsibility in an organization and communication moves from top to bottom. A manager assigns tasks to specific workers and experts orderly and precise results. A manager sets goals, tells workers to do and how and when to do it. Workers just implement.
2. AUTOCRATIC – It involves close supervision and a leader issues precise and detailed instructions to cover every task.

1. Dictatorial leadership style

  • A leader tells workers what to do without comment or discussion.
  • There are rewards and penalties for success or failure.
  • There is strict control and no respect is shown by the leader to the subordinates.
  • Descent is not tolerated.

2.Paternalistic leadership style

  • There is presence of close supervision, detailed instructions and a highly structured leader / subordinate relationship.
  • A leader attempts to gain respect and allegiance of the workers.
  • Limited decent is tolerated and rewards are given to those who follow the instructions.

Advantages of Autocracy

  • Managers adequately coordinate work thereby facility its completion.
  • Decision making is faster.
  • It assists the subordinates to achieve their goals at work.

Demerits of Autocracy

  • Employee’ skills and knowledge is not fully utilized.
  • It suppresses the workers’ initiative and therefore they cannot develop to their full potential.
  • Workers may not be capable of working without close supervision.
  • Resentment by subordinates may occur if they are only involved in minor issues and excluded from major ones.

4. FREE REIGN (Laissez-faire)

  • A leader allows workers to work as they choose with minimum interference.
  • Employees make decision and structure their own activities.
  • They consult with the leader but s/he is not directly involved in decision making.
  • A leader tells them what to do and when it should be accomplished and the workers decide on how to accomplish it as they wish.
    Communication flows horizontally among the group members
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