Who is a leader and how to become one?

Leadership is[a][b] a multifaceted concept. It can be attributed to a type of power with a top-down orientation or the desire of people to follow people to achieve a common goal. It determines the ability of a single person or several persons to motivate, organize, direct, influence others for the realization of common goals. We suggest getting acquainted with the essence of this concept, theoretical aspects, types of leaders and their inherent qualities.

Who is called a leader?

First, let's figure out who the leader is. This is a status, not a specific position. One can lead by holding a higher position, but not be a leader. Leadership is always conditioned by power and formalized. Subordinates may feel antipathy, distrust the manager, but must follow orders. The leader is listened to, followed voluntarily. It arises at the request of the group, its expectations. At the same time, he cannot be a stranger, separate from the team.

Theories of leadership

Many outstanding scientists and researchers tried to determine what leadership is, its essence, nature. Works in this direction were presented:

  • by Edgar Shane;
  • Peter Senge;
  • Peter Drucker;
  • Judith Wardwick, &c.

They made a significant contribution to the study of the issue, developed many theories to explain how leaders arise, what drives them. However, there are more than 60 of them, so let's focus on the most famous ones.

Theory of social exchange

The theory belongs to George Homans. She defines social relations as a continuous process of exchanging feelings, emotions, material values, and experiences. Based on this concept of leadership, the more a member of the group corresponds to the general value orientations of the collective, the higher his status.

Theory of human roles

In his materials, Robert F. Bales considers the role of a leader as a "professional", a "social, emotional specialist" capable of solving business and interpersonal problems.

Charismatic concept of leadership

The concept focuses on the fact that leadership is directly related to a person's character, the ability to make decisions independently, self-confidence, and charisma. The leader's charisma promotes voluntary recognition of exceptionality, imitation of behavior and actions.

Interactive theory of leadership

Proponents of the theory of leadership believe that every representative of the group is capable of obtaining this status. His role is assumed by the one who has the most significant characteristics and achievements in the team.

Synthetic / complex theory of leadership

The concept considers the leader as a management subject capable of organizing interpersonal relationships in the team. According to the theory, leadership is the result of joint activity of the group.

Situational theory

The concept states that a leader in a team is not a constant value. The status can pass from one representative of the group to another, based on how a particular person behaves in a particular situation.

The theory also describes possible behavior styles:

  • democratic - "What do other members of the group think?";
  • visionary - "Follow me";
  • directive - "Do as I say";
  • sociable - "The most important thing is people";
  • reference - "Do as I do";
  • educational - "Try and learn".

One person can demonstrate different behaviors and levels of leadership.

Types of leaders

Psychology distinguishes several types of leaders depending on the chosen style of group leadership, level of responsibility, etc.


This type is considered the most common. The organizer knows how to assemble teams for assigned tasks, perceives the needs of the group as his own. He plans every step, sets clear tasks. The leader-organizer knows how to convince, quite easily finds an approach to each representative of the team, knows how to tactfully point out mistakes. Under the leadership of the organizer, the company flourishes, and the productivity of the team is at a high level.

A leader-diplomat

Diplomats are distinguished by excellent communication skills and increased empathy. They are able to negotiate with anyone, know how to find levers of influence. Such leaders maintain excellent relationships in the group, try to resolve conflicts at the stage of their origin, create a positive, friendly atmosphere.

A fighter leader

A fighter is a self-confident and energetic person who takes responsibility for the group's actions and makes difficult decisions. He leads the team to the goal despite the level of stress and challenges. This is a person who lives by an idea and will defend it to the end.

A creative leader

The creator is a sensitive, courageous person who is able to notice what most people do not see. He promotes a creative approach, takes on the most difficult tasks, and encourages investments. Leadership for a creator means working as equals regardless of status, achievements, and discussing tasks with the entire team.


A counselor can be compared to a consultant, a listener at the level of a team. He promotes training and development of other team members, gives advice, motivates. Conciliator leaders often have enormous charisma.

Qualities and traits of a leader

Leadership is a dynamic and rather complex process. One person can use several styles of management and influence on the team at once. It is important to constantly develop leadership skills in order to better adapt to circumstances and blend into a new team. Relevant business courses help in this.

Psychological characteristics

One of the key characteristics is self-determination and having a clear idea of one's own tasks and goals. An equally important role is played by emotional stability — the ability to control the situation under stressful conditions.

Intellectual abilities

The ability to analyze information and make rational decisions is important for leadership. The leader must see the picture as a whole, plan the next steps that bring the goal closer.

Professional qualities

It is important for a leader to have deep knowledge in his activities. He must complete the assigned tasks.

Social competences

Being in a team is impossible without interaction with other representatives. A leader must consider the feelings of others, have appropriate communication skills, and be able to explain.

Can leadership be learned?

Among sociologists and psychologists, there have long been disputes about whether it is possible to develop a leader in yourself. Some believe that it is an innate trait, others that the art of leadership can be mastered. Both sides are right. It is not easy to learn courage, purposefulness, empathy. It is easier for a person who received these traits from birth to become a leader. But if there is a desire, motivation and under the supervision of appropriate mentors, it is possible to achieve the goal and develop most of the leadership qualities. An MBA business school with appropriate programs can be a great place to start.

How to develop leadership skills

Leadership skills are not mathematics or physics with clearly defined formulas for what to do in a particular situation. These are qualities produced by introspection, long work on oneself.

Basic recommendations on how to become a leader and develop relevant skills:

  • set clear goals;
  • learn to be active;
  • be responsible for actions, words;
  • consider the interests of others;
  • learn new skills;
  • expand your network of contacts;
  • get out of your comfort zone.

Enjoy what you do. Motivation and enthusiasm are best friends.