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What does leadership really mean? [Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)]
[July 27, 2014]

What does leadership really mean? [Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)]

(Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The concept of leadership has its origins in armies, and spilled over to the industrial revolution.

Today, most business organisations claim to have the following in place: Mission, vision, values, strategic plan, board committees, process flowcharts, job descriptions, performance appraisals, career and succession planning, contingency/business continuity, the list goes on.

In 1977, Harvard Business School professor Abraham Zaleznik published an article "Manager and Leaders: Are they different?" The purpose was to precisely allude to the practices and procedures described above and bring clarity to the true meaning of leadership.

It argued that theoreticians of scientific management have missed half the picture by trying to encapsulate the entire operation of a successful organisation merely through a set of tools.

The argument was that a good half of it was filled with inspiration, vision and the whole spectrum of human drives and desires.

Following literature helped to build on top of this premise and soon the true essence of leadership became much clear when contrasted against management.

Simply put, leaders were seen for pressing change whereas managers promoted stability.

And both were deemed essential for an organisation to thrive in turbulent times.

Subsequently, questions like what really is the role of leadership in business? Is it to ensure? Is it a full-time job, an integrated functionor a competency? Which specific 'strokes' of work would you consider as leadership? became not so grey areas.

Furthermore, it helped to shed misconceptions of leadership being trait-centric and mystical/ mysterious.

But it also helped to settle that leadership is not a replacement of management neither is the vice-versa.

In recent times, the investments made in the name of leadership have been of much debate and even dwelling into the realm of whether it is justifiable.

But many argue, leaders are required now more than ever before with the business world becoming more competitive and volatile.

By definition, leadership helps to cope with this change.

However, it might be time to reflect and justify the 'investments' made in the name of leadership! Mr Cader is the chief executive of MTI Consulting (c) 2014 Al Hilal Publishing & Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

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