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Unit Outline
The Importance of Leadership
Leadership Basics
1. What is leadership?
2. What are the myths surrounding leadership?
3. What are the three components of leadership?
4. What situational factors can strengthen my leadership development opportunities?
5. How can I enhance my leadership growth?
6. What are the rational and emotional aspects of leadership?
Vision
1. What is a vision?
2. Why should I develop a vision?
3. Why is vision important to leadership?
4. What is a mission, and how does it differ from a vision?
Unit Content
The Importance of Leadership
Leadership Basics
What is leadership?
Leadership is an individual's ability to unite followers and motivate them to achieve set goals. This task
is accomplished by communicating a vision of future goals to followers, which they then strive to
achieve.
In order to execute leadership effectively, you will need to develop and utilize good leadership skills.
Without proper leadership skills, organizational goals cannot be reached.
What are the myths surrounding leadership?
Leaders are born, not made. Through hard work and discipline, individuals possessing all types of
personality traits are capable of becoming effective leaders. Even if an individual is naturally prone to
fulfilling a leadership position, being exposed to continual leadership experiences can enhance their
ability to lead.

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You become a leader through experience. Although experience is useful when developing leadership
skills, formal study also provides important benefits. Formal study helps a leader develop analytical
skills that will enable them to examine situations more effectively and take the appropriate action.
All it takes is common sense. Common sense is needed to be a successful leader, but since it varies for
each individual, it is not effective alone. Therefore, a leader needs to possess the proper knowledge and
skills to reinforce their common sense.
What are the three components of leadership?
In order to understand the leadership process, you need to examine three critical elements:
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A strong leader is central to the achievement of organizational goals. Leaders must be honest,
competent, forward-looking and inspiring. Overall, a leader needs to be aware of how to reach
goals while dealing with different personalities and an ever-changing environment.
Followers play a critical role in an organization. Without them, leaders are not needed. Followers
carry out the many tasks necessary to achieve organizational goals. The personality traits,
expectations, and intelligence of followers have a direct effect on the leadership process.
The situation directly influences the leadership process. Since each leadership process is unique,
individuals must always examine the current situational context. To be successful, leaders and
followers should be aware of all variables in each situation.

What situational factors can strengthen my leadership development opportunities?


There are two main situational factors you must consider when faced with leadership opportunities.
These elements have a direct effect on your development as a leader:
The individuals you come into contact with directly effect the development of your leadership skills.
Contact with superiors, peers, and followers offers learning opportunities by exposing you to different
viewpoints and new ideas. It also promotes the growth of interpersonal communication skills.
The task itself can stimulate leadership development. The more complex and difficult a task, the greater
you will be challenged to develop your skills. Successful leaders welcome challenging tasks because
they recognize the opportunity for growth that such situations offer.
How can I enhance my leadership growth?
Three steps will strengthen your ability to learn from experiences and apply that knowledge to becoming
a more effective leader:
Evaluate all of the relevant aspects of a situation before you take action. Ask yourself who is involved in
the situation, why they are involved, and what overall objective they are trying to achieve.
Observe the consequences of your actions. Ask for feedback from your followers and recognize the
effects that your chosen conduct had on other individuals and the organization as a whole.
Reflect on your actions and determine how you can modify them where change is needed. Identify areas
in need of improvement and determine how the appropriate changes can be made.

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What are the rational and emotional aspects of leadership?


To be a successful leader, you must learn to appeal to both the rational and emotional sides of
individuals. Skilled leaders recognize which approach is more appropriate when communicating with
their followers.
Being rational while leading allows you to communicate information clearly, which is often
accomplished through the use of set procedures or guidelines that individuals find easy to follow. Goal
setting is a good example of a rational form of leading. Rational approaches are most helpful when
personal feelings are not deeply involved in a situation.
Leaders should also be aware of strong emotions in some individuals. While failing to appreciate the
feelings of followers can create confusion, anger, and even hostility, emotions can be used to inspire and
motivate your followers as well.
Vision
What is a vision?
A vision is an understanding of what you hope to achieve by some future point in time. Having a vision
refers to the ability to see beyond current situations and look at what is desired for the future. A leader
with a vision is always trying to achieve individual objectives with the overall purpose of reaching
future goals.
Vision statements should be brief, but should specify the end goal to be accomplished. They are stated in
a manner that inspires followers to work toward their achievement. A vision should encapsulate the
drive and passion an organization has for meeting future goals.
Why should I develop a vision?
There are several reasons why visions are useful to leaders. A vision helps you think strategically, focus
yourself, and inspire your followers. Visions also provide a framework that followers can refer to while
accomplishing goals. In addition, a vision sets up criterion by which you can measure your followers'
performance.
Why is vision important to leadership?
Vision is important to leadership because a leader with a vision is more likely to be successful. A vision
provides three main benefits to leaders:
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A vision provides your followers with a clear focus of what direction to head toward. Clarity also
helps empower your followers since they can refer to the vision and make informed decisions.
When followers believe in a vision, they will be committed to fulfilling it. This commitment to the
final goal encourages followers to go to great lengths in order to achieve it.
When your actions reflect the vision, followers will observe your commitment and be more
willing to support the vision as well. This support will lead to the achievement of the
organization's goals.

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What is a mission, and how does it differ from a vision?


A mission is more specific than a vision. A mission statement clearly outlines the organization's purpose
for existing by detailing what it produces, who it serves, and other purely descriptive information.
Missions are usually highly focused on the current status of an organization, and less concerned about
long-term goals. As a result, mission statements are usually less emotionally charged than vision
statements because they require less of a need to generate inspiration.
Although it is necessary that you keep your organization's mission in mind when leading, visions are
more useful for your purposes as a leader. Visions help you motivate your followers to work toward
achieving goals better than missions do, since visions include the emotional elements that missions lack.

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