Role of Situation Leadership Essays
In this article, we begin by examining a set of issues surrounding the definition of leadership. Then we pursue our central objective to examine the role of situational factors in leadership. Our focus is on the leadership of organizations—public, private, or nonprofit—rather than leadership in political, scientific, or artistic realms.
January 2007 ● American Psychologist
Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association 0003-066X/07 /$ 12.00
Vol. 62, No. 1, 17–24 DOI: 10.1037/0003-066X.62.1.17
The Definitions of Leadership
Virtually all definitions of leadership share the view that leadership involves the process of influence. One thing that all leaders have in common is one or more followers. If no one is following, one cannot be leading. One person, A, leads another person, B, if the actions of A modify B’s behavior in a direction desired by A. Note that this definition of leading is restricted to intended influence. Eliminated are instances in which the influence is in a direction opposite of that desired by A or in which changing B’s behavior was not A’s intention.
If leading is influencing, then what is leadership? Clearly, if this term is useful, it refers to a potential or capacity to influence others. It is represented in all aspects of a process that includes the traits of the source of the influence (see Zaccaro, 2007, this issue), the cognitive processes in the source (see Sternberg, 2007,