Nigerian Scholars » What really are the Functions and Qualities of a Leader?

What really are the Functions and Qualities of a Leader?

Remember that a leader is the individual formally given certain status through election, appointment, inheritance, revolution or any number of means; while leadership refers to those behaviors performed by one or more individuals in the group which help the group accomplish its goals.

Leadership is an interaction between the influencer and the influenced.

With these in view, it is worthy to state that for any leader, whether elected or appointed, to be effective, he must have influence over the members of the group or the general public.

This therefore suggests that the central attribute of leadership is influence.

A desired leader has three main qualities namely:

  1. Dominance

A leader must be physically and verbally dominant.

  1. Likability

A leader must be a person that members and followers could like and admire.

  1. Result-oriented

A leader must be capable of achieving results and bringing success to the members of the group.

When a leader has these qualities, he must be a desired leader who can advance effectively the cause of his group.

Having described some important common qualities of a leader, we can enumerate the functions of a leader:

A leader performs the following functions, namely:

  • He coordinates the activities of the various members of the group.

  • A leader plans and decides on the ways and means by which his group can achieve its goals. He must help in defining the group’s goals and policies.

  • He acts as the representative of his group in its external relations.

  • A leader functions as the gatekeeper to his group since both incoming and outgoing communications will be channeled through him.

  • He functions as the controller in his group relations. This means that he has the power to apply rewards and punishment to deserving members.

  • He arbitrates, that is, he may act as both judge and conciliator.

  • A leader of a group is the father-figure. This means that he is the ideal (model) and the object for identification and for all positive feelings.

It can be concluded from the above that the success of any group, society or nation like Nigeria depends largely on the impact of its leaders because of the following two reasons:

  1. Leaders make decisions which determine both the group or the nation’s purpose and the means by which that purpose is fulfilled.

  2. The actions of leaders determine whether the potentials of the group or nation’s members will be actualized or lie dormant, and whether the emotional tone of the group will be characterized by enthusiasm or apathy.

This shows briefly the importance of leadership in any group be it family, school, company, factory or nation.

No wonder then that Nigeria laments terribly on its leadership.

So, are you a leader?

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