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Introduction 1 Contrary to popular thinking the term leadership is comparetively recent addition to the English language In fact the word did not come into common usage until the late 19th Century Although the words lead and leader have a much longer history they usually referred only to authority figures The birth and evolution of the idea of leadership focuses on a much more complex concept that reaches beyond the single leader In fact contemporary definitions most often reject the idea that leadership revolves around the leaders ability behaviors styles or charisma Today scholars discuss the basic nature of leadership in terms of the interaction among the people involved in the process both leaders and followers Thus leadership is not the work of a single person rather it can be explained and defined as a collaborative endeavor among group members Therefore the essence of leadership is not the leader but the relationship What is Leadership 2 Leadership is a process where by an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal Leadership is a process means that it is not a trait or characteristic that resides in the leader but is a transactional event that occurs between the leader and his or her followers Process implies that leader affects and is affected by followers Leadership involves influence it is concerned with how the leader affects followers Without influence leadership does not exist 3 Leadership is a process rather than an event As situations change roles and behaviors of leaders and followers may also change In defining leadership we learn that respected leaders act ethically and model many different theories based on social exchanges Most forms of social interactions are based on an exchange thus leadership represents an attempt to study the leader as an entity possessed of characteristic traits and occupying rather inertly a status position relative to other individuals who are not too clearly related to him Actually the leader emerges
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