February 02, 2012

Leadership and Headship

Today in class we tried to arrive at the best definition of leadership. Each of the 4 groups came out with a definition which in essence highlighted the same points. Leadership involves influencing the followers towards a shared goal , inspiring them to get motivated to achieve some defined goals. Now, the meaning of leadership is starting to get a little clearer in my my mind and more than that now I can distinguish between leadership and headship.

Earlier, I did not really think there was much of a difference between the two. I had the perception that a person who was given a position of importance results in that person automatically becoming a leader. However, it turns out that a leader is completely opposite to that. A person who is a leader does not really need to have a position of importance. He becomes a leader because of his vision and how well he influences others to align his followers' vision to the same as him and how then he inspires them to achieve the defined goals. A leader may have to resort to headships in certain circumstances, however, his leadership skills have nothing to do with his position in the company if we talk about leadership in business context. The personal power defines a leader's leadership skills and it is only him who can get the best out of his followers. Positional power is only headship and in such a scenario the person is most likely to get the compliance of his subordinates but there is almost a 0% chance that he can get them to put their souls and heart in the project. It is a very important difference and I am glad that I could see it now so early in my life. Considering leadership and headship as one is the major problem in today's world or that is what I feel atleast based on my personal experience. In companies I have seen, I have never had the opportunity to see a manager using his leadership skills, more often than not the managers in today's world resort to headship over leadership. This can never let you achieve the trust of the employees and can never 'really' have them by your side. When I will get the opportunity to be a manager in future, I will try and make sure that it is leadership which I show to my team rather than my headship. I can already feel that it is one of the most important lessons that I have learned in my life which can really help me transform my organization and make it more successful. Headship is really tempting and an easy way out, however, it is leadership which can really bring the change and make the organization successful beyond doubt.

Another point which I want to highlight here is influencing and manipulation has a dark sense attached to it or atleast that is what most of the people perceive including me. However, now I can see that manipulation or influencing people does not mean that you are blinding the other person and take him to a path which he does not really believe, in fact, in the good sense influencing the person would mean pressing the right buttons in order to get that person see the reality and the vision you have in your mind so that he can make the right decision for himself.


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  1. Abdul Iqbal

    Manav, this is somewhat the same experience i had of yesterday’s discussion. The difference of Leadership and a clear distinction from Headship has shown what managers are and what effective managers ought to be.
    The main reason why i personally believe we have been able to stress or find this certain point from yesterday is because we see in our region, the sub-continent the constant use of positional power in order to “Get things done”!

    Where as if managers had used their personal power of leadership, they could have achieved far more than the compliance level.

    Furthermore, i ended my discussion today with a sentence i believe would be of your help.

    “I would now say, that an effective manager needs to be a leader who stresses influences his followers by the use of personal power.”

    02 Feb 2012, 12:08


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