Definition and Meaning of Leadership

Moreover, Kurt Lewin defined leadership as the "manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people" (271-299). In the Army, leadership is defined as "influencing people by providing purpose, direction, motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization."
According to Patterns of Aggressive Behaviours, there was a group of researchers that identified different styles of leadership (271-299). Lewin’s study recognized there major styles of leadership that have been very influential: 1) autocratic, 2) democratic, and 3) delegate. Groups of school children were allotted to one or three groups where researchers have observed their behaviors in response to the different styles of leadership.
The autocratic or authoritarian leadership is well applied to conditions where there is limited time for group decision-making and the leader is the most educated and experienced member of the group (Lewin, 271-299). There is a clear distinction between the role of the leader and the followers. Authoritarian leaders make independent decisions with very little or no input from the rest of the group of what needs to be done when it should be done, and how it should be done. Thus, it was concluded by researchers that decision-making in authoritarian leadership was less creative. Lewin stated that moving from an authoritarian style to a democratic style is more difficult than vice versa. The abuse of this kind of leadership is viewed as controlling, bossy and dictatorial. The authoritarian style is usually used by leaders when employees need close supervision to carry out certain tasks. It occurs when leaders tell their employees what they want doing and accomplished, without getting the opinion of their followers.
According to Lewin, participative leadership or the democratic kind, on the other hand, has a leader who encourages group members to participate and give their inputs (271-299). Lewin observed that members of the participative group were less productive than the members of the authoritarian group through the inputs were of higher quality and the members feel much more motivated and creative. A participative leadership style is where the leader, including one or more employees, are engaged in the decision-making process. Normally, this happens when the leader has a part of the information and the employees have the other parts. The leader and the employees work closely together to accomplish certain tasks. However, the leader maintains the final decision-making authority which the employees must learn to respect.