Leadership is often defined as the art of influence. In this particular art an individual or a group of individuals inspire the followers to attain some objectives in a certain period of time. A leader can only exercise this art through his or her strength; for instance, a writer, who attained excellence in writing, could write in such a creative way that will definitely appeal to the people and influence them.
Another important requirement for becoming a leader is good character. A character cannot be attained overnight; it is a collection of good habits that are developed by an individual over many years. It is believed by the scholars of leadership that if somebody has a character, he is a leader, but the attainment of a good and just character is very difficult in the modern world plagued with unethical practices, such as theft, lying and inhumanity.
Leadership is different in many ways from the regular management of an organization. The management is primarily responsible for carrying out of organization’s routine activities, while the leadership is always finding ways to better the organizational processes, in this way the leaders are innovators. However, the main characteristics of leadership are discussed in the following section:
Leader Provides Direction
Managers carry out the routine, while leaders keep on thinking for the betterment of the organizational practices; the previous statement highlights the importance of higher degree of cognitive activity in leaders, which makes them be able to assess the long term implications of the current events taking place in the present. Thus, the leadership of an organization is fundamentally responsible for the creation of future; this could be possible by giving a vision to an organization.
Leadership is Character
Leaders are attributed with strong character, with the delegate sense of right and wrong. They are often ethical in their conduct. They place a high premium on their subordinates with higher morality. The management scholars are of the view that the quality of the employees selected by a leader highlights his character. A good leader will always select his subordinates on merit.
Leaders delegate Authority
Successful leaders decentralize the authority within their staff, in this way they create confidence, while managers develop fear to win the obedience of their subordinates. Leaders win hearts of the people through giving autonomy to them, this practice results in highly motivated employees within the firm with heightened productivity.
Leaders are also willing to communicate frequently, to keep the manpower appraised about current business situation and keep appealing for their invaluable efforts to keep the organization profitable.
Effective leaders are always in connection with their employees on a personal level and are well informed about personal life of their staff. In this way, they keep on intervening with personal life of the people to save them from the family and work conflicts.
Famous leaders have an important characteristic of self-assessment, through which they keep track of their successes. In case of a failure, they readily accept their mistakes; this helps them in keeping the people’s trust upon them intact. At the same time, when they admit mistakes in front of people, this habit highlights the inadequacies among them, compelling the followers to realize the humanity of the leaders. This practice saves the followers from believing that their leader is divine, but instead it helps them in understanding the similarities among them and their leader.
Bill Gates and Leadership
Bill Gates had been an inspiring figure for the business students around the world for almost two decades. He started his company, with a single employee in the early 1990s, with a vision to transform computer into something which could be used personally (Kramer). At that point of time the mainframe computers were acceptable in the market and only highly qualified people were able to use them. But relatively young Bill Gates, with his extraordinarily small company launched the first human interface to operate computers in the late 1990s that is known as Windows. This innovation transformed the world of computing into a personalized one.
Bill Gates during the early stage of his career as a manager, practiced transformational leadership, which changed the norms of the computer industry, this change is resonating even in the present through the increased acceptability of computers in every field of life.
However, after the retirement from Microsoft, Bill Gates is now actively participating in the campaign aimed at eliminating hunger of the elderly population of America (Barker, 2011), thus this legendary individual is now practicing social leadership through collaborating with other social agencies.
Individual Plan for Leadership
This paper develops a leadership plan inspired by the social activities of Bill Gates, through which the multibillionaire is supporting the campaign against hunger. According to the studies, half of the elder population in America is suffering from hunger. In the light of this finding, this is a just cause to launch a campaign against the unjust setup for food distribution.
According to this plan, I will use my communication and presentation skills to motivate people in initiating a campaign against hunger in the United States. This particular campaign will be targeted to eliminate discrimination against blacks, which is the major cause of food deficiency in their lives. Thus, this campaign in my college will focus on uprooting the practice of racial discrimination in our society.
I will also utilize my negotiating skills in the course of inviting prominent politicians to join this noble cause. However, it should be noted that this campaign is initiated at a limited scope, particularly in my college, but I hope that it will prove to be a verging point for greater moment covering the entire country.
This paper highlights the importance of leadership in the corporate and private life of a nation by defining it as the art of influence. At the same time it points out the major characteristics of effective leadership, such as providing direction, responsibility and personal connection along with delegation of authority.
This paper also devised an individual plan in the light of Bill Gates’ social leadership plan, for demonstrating leadership in a college setting. During the execution of this plan, the leader is intending to use communication and presentation skills to create awareness towards the growing phenomenon of hunger in our elder population.