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The first studies of
leadership have roots in the beginning of civilization and date back to Plato,
Machiavelli and Sun Tzu. The interest has always existed and today has reached
the highest popularity. So many people want to become leaders for the reason
that we want to become powerful and be respected. But a crucial problem is lack
of knowledge and experience.

It is generally known that
leadership plays a major role in determining the success or failure in business
or in different life situations. Leadership is a complex discipline and is
described and analyzed through different leadership theories and models.  This paper examines main ideas and principles
on leadership with special emphasis on leadership in America.

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As with most popular sayings
of general use, there is some truth in “Great leaders are born, not made.”
Reasonably, the talent for great leadership is innate, however learning how to
be a more effective leader is available to everyone – whether you lead multiple
teams, an entire company or just one staff member.

To become an effective
leader, a person should possess some skills in managing people. These skills
include communication, trustworthiness and confidence. Effective leadership is
not the same as good management. In order to effectively run an organization,
management must be able to plan a strategy, communicate a vision, inspire
others to action and solve problems. Effective leadership is based on behaviors
that bring about empowerment and change.

Many studies demonstrate a
surprising number of advice how to be a leader. But in fact, it is always
easier to learn by example. In the literature there are many examples of
successful people and their prosperous lives. Everyone has their own special
tactics, the sources of motivation and inspiration. The purpose of this work is
to reveal the meaning of American leadership, especially in the business sphere
and with reference to examples illustrating the concept of leadership.

This thesis divided into three sections. The first section gives a brief
overview of questions: what is leadership and what
it means to be a leader.
In the second section the characteristics of American leadership are discussed well-known
examples of American leaders presented. The Section 3 analyses Lee Iacocca as
one of the most significant leader in automobile world and in history of
leadership.

 

1.1 A
definition of leadership from the perspective of management

What can be said about
leadership? While this question may seem very simple, it would be hard to give
a precise definition that has a universal meaning. John C. Maxwell has come to
a conclusion that leadership is not only lead, but influence too. James C.
Georges, of the ParTraining Corporation suggests that it is the ability to
obtain followers. John C. Maxwell writes that once you define leadership as the
ability to get followers, you work backward from that point of reference to
figure out how to lead. But most people support the idea of leadership, in
particular as regards the ability to achieve the position, but not even to get
followers.1 Nevertheless, there are other
connotations of leadership that mean, in essence, one phenomenon, but it can be
explained in different ways.

Chemers states that
leadership is a process of social influence in which one person is able to
enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.2 An
interesting meaning is provided by Bennis, who compares leadership to beauty
that is hard to define but you know it when you see it.3
However, somewhat surprisingly, Bass writes that the word leadership is a
complex contemporary concept.4
The word “leader” appeared in the English language about 1300, but it did not
appear until the first half of the nineteen century in documents about the
political influence and control of British Parliament. Hesselbein describes
leadership as “a matter of how to be, not how to do it”.5

If the root of the word
“leadership” is to lead and management is to manage, what is the main
difference between these two terms? One the one hand
they are often used
interchangeably and they are among the most commonly used words in business.

Kotter provides distinction between the essentials of leadership and
management and shows that management and leadership serve different goals.
Leadership and management have quite different influence and impact on
organizational performance. To realize the best results and the right
objectives organizations need both good leadership and management alike.6

For management, planning and budgeting are important, notably detailed
plans for short-term goals. Leadership deals with establishing direction and
defining the vision and long-term objectives. Another salient feature is that
managers organize work in teams and delegate responsibility. Leaders articulate
the future vision and they influence people. When it comes to motivating and
inspiring people, it is referred to leadership, they usually energize their
followers to deliver the best results and meet higher needs. But as regards
managers, they control and solve the problems and monitor results.7

The following research from Conger and Kanungo expands Kotter’s
essentials and clarifies the distinction between leadership and management.
Manager is engaged in everyday activities, maintains and allocates resources.
Leader formulates long-term objectives, plans strategies and tactics. Leader
demonstrates leading behavior, the actions which lead to changes, congruent
with long-term objectives. Manager demonstrates supervisor behavior, acts to
make others carry out standard job behavior. Leaders innovates the whole
organization, in turn, managers administer sub-systems within organizations.
The main questions for managers are how and when to engage in standard
practice, for leaders are when and why to change standard practice. A rather
important role is played by leadership with creating vision and meaning for the
organization and a strong desire to transform culture. At the same time manager
acts within established culture of organization. But it is also significant
that leader uses transformation influence, induces change in behavior,
attitudes, beliefs, values using personal examples and experience. Manager uses
transactional influence, induces compliance in manifest behavior using
sanctions, rewards and formal authority. Leadership implies that using
empowering strategies this contributes to make followers internalize values.
Management is about controlling strategies in order to get things done by
subordinates. And the last one thing is that leaders challenge the status quo
and create change, for its part, managers stabilize the organization and
support the status quo.8

Kotter and Conger and Kanungo demonstrated similarity in the distinction
between two terms: leadership and management. Maxwell determined general
characteristics about leader’s thinking. These characteristics include thinking
continuously and strategically, without boundaries, and considering the needs
of others. Leadership is about vision and future direction. Leaders think more
deeply about the future course of business and followers. Leadership is a more
conceptual notion that needs time and energy.

There is a strong connection between effective leadership and management
and they constitute the basic of business success. If the main challenge of any
manager is to maintain balance of the organization, help people to achieve
their basic needs, leaders take risk, inspire, motivate the followers and
develop the organization.

1 John Maxwell, Developing the Leader Within You (Nashville:
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), 2-4

2 Martin
Chemers, An integrative theory of leadership of
leadership  (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates,
1997), 1

3 Bennis, Warren G. On becoming a leader  (NY: A Member of Perseus Books
Group, Inc., 1994), xxx

4 Bernard M. Bass, Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership
(NY: The Free Press, 1990), 21

5 Hesselbein,
Frances, Hesselbein on Leadership. (San Francisco, CA:
John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 7

6 Kotter, J.P., What Leaders Really Do, First Edition, (Harvard
Business School Press, 1999), p. 10

7 Ibid., 18-19

8 Conger, J.A., and Kanungo,
R.N., Charismatic Leadership In
Organizations (First Edition, Sage Publications, 1998), 9

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