As we settle into the new millennium, organizations are challenged to compete in changing domestic and global environments using diverse work-forces. Leadership styles that were practical in traditional hierarchies and that relied on authoritarian controls are no longer appropriate in today’s world of work. Today’s organizational leaders will have to practice different styles appropriate to the situation. They have to increasingly inspire trust, gain credibility, and implement innovations through their followers. Moreover, leaders are increasingly challenged to balance task and relationship (people) styles and to assume not only the roles of monitors and controllers, but also the roles of cheerleaders, orchestrators, conductors, coaches, and mentors. As effective leaders in the twenty-first century, managers and other organizational leaders must recognize that concepts like “empowerment,” “workout,” “quality,” and “excellence” are important leadership factors.
Those who can demonstrate flexibility and a variety of competent leadership styles will most likely be effective in managing organizational behavior. In this chapter, we define and present new and traditional leadership skills, competencies, and approaches. We begin by defining leadership and the difference between leaders and managers. We next define followership before describing the foundations of leadership. Then we look at traditional and contemporary theories of leadership. We end the chapter with an examination of issues related to leading effectively in the new economy (i.e., obstacles to effective leadership, myths of leadership, and suggestions for improving leadership skills).