Human beings are social animals that depend on each other for a better living. In the social setup, the different human characteristics have to be harmonized and guided towards a given direction with the aim to achieve the best result ever. This call for an individual to help the group is remaining on course and it enables the individuals in the group to pull their resources together to achieve their common objectives. Thus, a leader has to emerge from the group either formally (being appointed or elected) or informally (assuming the role or leading others without their active proposal). Leadership has been defined as a process of group influence whereby an individual enlists the assistance and support of others to achieve a common task (Chemers, 1997). The style of leadership varies from one group to another, from one individual to another and from one institution to another. Varieties of the results are achieved depending on the different leadership styles. It is particularly beneficial to understand the best leadership style to be applied in a given group depending on the group members and the group type.
In many cases, students to take leadership roles later in life since the society believes they have a lot of knowledge and skills gained during the degree courses. The formal sectors, political, business fields and other organizations will demand a minimum of undergraduate degree as a requirement for a leadership position in their organization or institution. Therefore, it is essential to explore the importance of how such students develop their leadership skills, abilities and qualities. This report will explore the characteristics of leaders and the extent to which the leadership traits are developed among the student or influence them. The report is guided by believe that true leaders are made, and not born. In becoming an effective leader, the undergraduate individuals have to develop in a way and possess characteristics that will help them through the leadership process (Northouse, 2007).
2.0 Leadership Characteristics
2.1 Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are behaviors that leaders institute in pursuing their dreams and directing their followers towards the achievement of the common goal. Leadership is acquired through a number of learning exposures and experiences. The leadership skills can be influenced by an individual’s character, beliefs, values, principles and ethics. The attribute plays a vital role in molding the leader in a unique way. Some of the skills needed by leaders are presented below.
Understanding the group: according to Yoskovitz (2007), an exemplary leader needs to develop the skill of understanding the group in terms of needs, capabilities, differences, and personalities. This is a vital skill that will help the leader in solving problems and conflicts in an amicable manner. Moreover, understanding the group members creates trust among them and helps the group to build confidence in their leader. Only when the leader understands the group members their capabilities can be harnessed and directed towards the achievement of the common goal. Despite being in a group, there is vitality to understand that individuals in the group have different capabilities. These capabilities will be best realized assigning duties as per abilities. In this manner, the leader facilitates achievement of higher results (Phelps, 2012).
Effective communicator: according to Yoskovitz (2007) communication is a vital factor in any group. Effective communication will enhance dispatching the rightful information at the right time and to the right people. Poor communication leads to distorted information that results to wrong instructions culminating to poor performance. Effective communication builds a profound relationship between the leaders and followers. Therefore, in developing leadership among the undergraduate students, emphasis should be laid on principles of sound and effective communication.
Skillful planning: guiding the performance and achievement of a group requires the implementation of adequate and skillful strategies. The available resources should be used in an effective way towards the goals. Leaders are required to develop this skill in order to avoid wastage of resources and time. Adequate planning is also crucial in maintaining the group on track and forms the motivation basis (Phelps, 2012). The ability to control a group is developed from the skill of planning. It is through planning that the leader will be able to set targets,allocate resources appropriately and control the group towards meeting the goals set.
Delegating: This is a process where the leader passes responsibility and accountability to another person on the same level or subordinate level. Through delegation of power, the subordinates develop loyalty and appreciate their leaders for trusting them in overseeing the implementation of some plans. This builds a strong team and also helps in developing other leaders in the teams facilitating a smooth transition. It is through delegation that leadership is shared; thus, the achievement is regarded as collective success when “we did it” is used rather than “I did this”. (Yoskovitz, 2007)
Counseling skill: this involves the ability to enhance cohesion in the group through conflict resolutions, problem solving, mentoring and offering guidance to the other group members. The leader should demonstrate his/her skills in managing the group in different situations and making judgments in times of need. Solving other peoples’ problems enables the leader to be looked upon for decisions in times of confusions, dilemmas, and when the group needs reassurance (Phelps, 2012).
Monitoring and evaluation skills: The leader has to ensure that the strategy laid out is worthwhile to maintain the mission of the group on track. This is achieved through consistent monitoring and evaluation. These skills will ensure that defaults and hiccups in the strategic plan are realized earlier and corrected before the complications become massive or adverse. Monitoring will also ensure that resources allocation is in line with objectives. Monitoring and evaluation skills help the leader to determine the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of the group’s activity in respect to the goals (Phelps, 2012).
Interpersonal skills: leaders are expected to develop strong interpersonal skills to be able to influence others and make them believe and follow the leaders` ideas. They are expected to be able to establish an empathetic rapport. Such people are able to mingle with people easily, yet maintaining their integrity among the members. The members feel comfortable approaching their leaders for decision, guidance and consultations, thus, minimizing time wastage and incompetence in the job. Good interpersonal skills are also helpful in motivating employees or other group members within your jurisdiction (Javitch, 2009).
2.2 Leadership Qualities
Other that the skills that leaders demonstrate, they also need to possess unique qualities that help them in pursuing their dreams.
Inspirational qualities: according to theory X developed by McGregor, people dislike responsibilities. They need to be motivated using external forces continuously to ensure that the goals of the organization or institution are achieved. A leader offers guidance, direction, motivation and support to the members to rejuvenate their morale in pursing the group vision. The leader`s sheer persistence in believing to be able to achieve the organization’s goals inspires the other group members to commit themselves to the group’s activities. Among the people who have utilized this quality to skyrocket their organization are Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs among others. Employees admire a leader who is inspirational and the one to look up to at all times (Javitch, 2009).
Competency: this is the ability to deliver your best in undertaking your duties. Competency is achieved through acquiring adequate knowledge and skills needed to undertake your responsibilities coherently. Employees need a leader who has vast knowledge in solving and advising them in areas where they require the leader’s assistance. It becomes exceedingly difficult for the subordinates to respect and follow their incompetent leader who relies on them for an advice on how to run the group. Leaders may not be entirely competent on every matter of the group, but with time, they exhibit a high level of competence (Javitch, 2009).
Integrity: the maintenance of personal values, principles, moral and ethics irrespective of the situation. A person of integrity earns respect, trust and loyalty from both the superiors and the subordinates. Leaders who have this quality remain honest, respectful, and empathetic. These qualities enable the leader to be easily approached by followers and form the basic foundation for being responsible, accountable and incorrupt (The top ten leadership qualities, 2009).
Assertiveness: this is the ability to drive the point of concern, feelings, or instructions to the respected group of individuals. Assertiveness enables the leader to give the directions that are clear, comprehensible and convincing. The degree of assertiveness matters a lot among the leaders. According to the study published by Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2007, striking the appropriate level of assertiveness among the developing leaders is one of the key challenges (The top ten leadership qualities, 2009).
Open mindedness: this is the ability to accommodate ideas from different people, analyze them and come up with a sound conclusion. Open-minded leaders have personal humility and can suspend their judgments as they give an ear to other participants in the decision making process. Accommodating contributions from followers enable the group to reach higher levels, through idea expansion scale (Javitch, 2009).
Dedication: A leader should commit his/her time, resources and energy toward accomplishment of the duties at hand. Dedication among the leaders is projected to their followers, thus, enhancing timely completion of the task. This quality reflects how much the leader is willing to devote himself/herself to matters of the group they are leading (The top ten leadership qualities, 2009).
Magnanimity: Magnanimity is the quality that motivates leaders to share achievements of the group together other than considering it as a personal gain. Magnanimous leaders give credit, acknowledge and applause their followers for their magnificent achievements (The top ten leadership qualities, 2009). Recognition and public appreciation of employees for their exceptional achievement motivate every member in the group resulting to higher gains and achievements. Therefore, this quality is vital among the developing leaders in the undergraduate fraternity.
Ambitious: leaders are expected to uphold mission, vision and goals of the group alive at all times. An ambitious leader strives for improvement at all times motivating individuals to skyrocket their success and revive the morale of the followers. Pushing for better result will always increase the followers` desires in hitting the best target ever. For ambitious leaders, sky is never the limit. Ambitious leaders facilitate development of a positive attitude that keeps the group on course, no matter what the obstacles may be faced (Javitch, 2009).
2.3. Leadership Abilities
Leadership abilities are traits that enable the leaders to earn their followers trust due to their exceptional capabilities. These abilities distinguish them from the others in the group in a way. Every leader is unique depending on the exposure, mentorship, and environmental setup during his/her development period. These abilities enable the leaders to convince followers to believe and act towards achieving a common goal. According to Choen (2008), there is no clear cut between leadership skills and abilities. A number of researchers use the terms interchangeably. However, Milzra (2009) states that abilities help individuals obtain the skills.
The first ability that is essential among leaders is developing the guts where they instinctively understand the feelings and emotional world of others. This is achieved through the development of sound, emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence as a concept refers to the capability of a person to be in charge of his/her emotions, having social and personal awareness, and managing emotions in a positive way. This is a unique ability that can help leaders to reduce conflicts among the followers.
Secondly, leaders need to poses the ability to motivate their members, in both monetary and non-monetary forms. This can only be achieved through understanding the group’s needs and expectations. Motivation forms the foundation of active members in a group. Through motivation, leaders are able to maintain their followers together and focus them towards the achievement of a common goal. The ability to realize those areas requires reinforcement or positive feedback and that all leads to a strong team.
A leader is expected to empower others in the group. This is achieved through sharing of knowledge and skills acquired. Empowering others enables the group to reduce resource wastage and promotes independence. Followers can effectively carry out their roles with minimal supervision, yet deliver effectively. Empower is well done by explaining the strategies of doing things other than doing them yourself.
Leaders need to know how to handle failures. Punishment should not be the only way to handle failures. In some avenues, mistakes become the best way to learn. Lifting the spirit of the failures and not humiliating them in front of their colleagues is the single most prominent approach in managing failures. According to Carter (2009), punishment for a failure may hinder sharing of innovative, corrective or creative suggestions. In such cases, the development of the organization remains slow since the functions are more of a routine.
Leaders are able to introduce change in their organizations. This is done by managing resilience to change among the followers. Choen (2008) argues that leaders who lack the ability to foster change in their organizations are the substantial impediments for future existence of the organization. The ability of the leader to adapt to different situations within the organization, or institution impacts positively on such groups` advancements. Leaders are supposed to demonstrate their followers and guide them in the process of adopting changes identified to result to positive results.
3. 0 Measurement of Leadership Skills, Qualities, and Abilities
The ability to determine the people who can be termed as leaders have raised many concerns. Researchers have tried to develop a mechanism in ways how the leaders’ traits can be evaluated and the best potential candidate determined easily. Leadership is a crucial factor in achievement an objective of any organization, institution or group. The vitality of measurement of leadership capabilities cannot be overlooked since it is the only way that the existence of leadership can be proofed. Leadership measurement model is focused at gauging the levels of the leadership traits in individuals. In many cases, employers use some of these scales to determine their best recruit to fill the leadership positions in their organizations. The different models of leadership traits` measurement are delineated below.
3.1 Leadership Practices Inventory Measurement Model
This model was developed by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (Evans, 2012). The degree of leadership in an individual is evaluated using a number of questions which are then assigned values as per the strength of the attributes. The leadership practices` inventory is a designed questionnaire that contains a total of thirty evolutional statements (Evans, 2012). The questionnaires are composed of two sections. One of the sections requires the individual to evaluate themselves in respect to how talented they believe they are and if they possess the ascribed traits of an effective leader. The other part involves observers’ evaluation. The LPI 360 allows the person in question to be gauged by other people who have happened to be in close link or direct experience with him or her (Kouzers & Posner, 2005). It does not necessarily mean that bosses or senior people should evaluate the person using the LPI 360, but also colleagues, juniors or friends can evaluate.
The model has gained popularity among leaders who are determined to improve their leadership traits. Moreover, it has also been used by employers as a guide in formulating questionnaires used during the interviews. The recruits or the individuals being evaluated are offered the questionnaires and asked to fill the questionnaires honestly, and to describe themselves according to the guidance. The model forms a solid foundation for determining a leader who will produce change in an organization and will not be just following the established route (Kouzers & Posner, 2005). Kouzas and Posner conducted a series of studies in the 1990’s to determine the qualities that people wish their leaders to possess. Among the qualities that gained much emphasis were integrity, competency, honesty, inspiration and ambitions.
Student can also measure their qualities using the students leadership practices inventory. This involves leadership assessments tools for students where they can measure their leadership traits. The assessment tool offers the students a perfect avenue to improve their leadership dreams through reinforcing their weak points (Kouzers & Posner, 2005).
3.2 Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire
This is a scale that measures the different types of leaders depending on the characteristics that leaders display. The scale uses Likert scale to compare the leaders’ traits and their implication or effects on their followers. This model has been employed in a number of past studies with an aim of evaluating three main leadership styles including the transactional, transformational and laissez-faire leadership styles. The model enables evaluators to determine the style of leadership applied in an organization other than trusting the sources that a given style is being used. The mentioned leadership styles are differentiated by the qualities and abilities of the leaders. In this footing, determining the style of leadership can also help in measuring the leadership traits among individuals (Bass & Avolio, 2012).
One of the strengths of MLQ model is the ability to distinguish effective and ineffective leaders on different leadership levels (Carless, 1998). This ability enables stakeholders to devise a scheme on how to improve their organizations through restructuring their leadership teams. It is also a crucial model in monitoring and evaluation process of an organization to determine leadership positions that need to be revised. The model is also effective in depicting the main factor that distinguishes mature leaders from developing leaders. The model can be effectively implemented to determine leadership skills among the students in colleges. However, there are few evidences of the model being implemented in order to help students develop leadership qualities.
3.3 Ohio State Leadership Scales
According to Hollow & Talbot (2008), there are several studies conducted to evaluate personal traits that potentiate the development of leadership qualities. In their study they evaluated the extent to which such traits as public speaking, motivation and student organizations enhances development of leadership qualities, the conclusion was made that the involvement of individuals in such activities formed a strong foundation in leadership traits development. One of the tools used in this study in measuring the leadership qualities among the students was the Ohio State Leadership Scales (OSLS).
The OSLS was developed to enable assessment of observable leadership characteristics, different from the previous studies, which were benched on identifying personal traits related to leadership. This model was the first design comprising of one hundred and ninety statements. The complexity of the model led to restructurization of the statements to yield 150 statement that were designed to evaluate a total of nine attributes of behaviors among leaders. OSLS is based on these statements which are referred to as the Leaders Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ). The questionnaires are filled by followers of the leaders and not the leaders directly; this aims at reducing chances of biasness. The model identified two core areas that consistently differed in terms of answers offered by followers (Schriessheim & Kerr, 1974). The first factor is the consideration which represented the level of concern the leaders revealed their followers welfare. LBDQs used to assess this factor were directly linked to the areas that targeted the degree, to which a leader was involved in ensuring the group members were comfortable. It is focuses on maintaining human resources at the best state ever to enable them contribute adequately to the group’s activities. The other factor is the initiative structure that targets at determining the degree to which the leaders involve their group members in decision making, task management and task allocation (Hollows & Talbot, 2008).
This model can be effectively used to measure leadership qualities among the undergraduate students as demonstrated by Hollow and Talbot study (2008). Mulec (2006) recommends that the measurements attributes that are being evaluated are more than one for valid and reliable results.
3.4 Least Preferred Co-worker Scale
Fiedler developed this scale to differentiate two categories of leaders. The first category was the relationship –oriented leader, while the other category was the task-oriented leadership style. The relationship between the leader and the followers was the basis of Fiedler’s scale. An exemplary leader should demonstrate respectful relationship and interaction between him and the group members. The other avenue in this scale is the task structure (Graen et al., 2000). This means the manner in which duties are distributed among the group members, scheduling and documentation. Lastly, Fieldler assessed the degree to which the powers of the leader could be stretched to evaluate group members` performance and reward or punish the individuals accordingly. The scale is used to measure the leadership attributes of people judging by their followers (Fiedler’s least preferred co-worker scale, 2011).
The model comprises of a bipolar scales of a number of character values from a scale of 1-8. The evaluator offers the scale cards to the participants and allows them to score their partners under investigation by circling the value per character. A total is then established, and then deductions are made. People who score more than 73 are regarded as higher least preferred coworkers and are believed to be human relations oriented (Graen et al., 2000). The model assumes that an individual who is a relationship-oriented leader describes their least preferred worker in a positive approach. Those who happen to be task-oriented leaders describe their least preferred coworkers in a negative way. This scale has been evaluated by a number of researchers with an aim of validating the effectiveness of employing it in measuring leadership qualities(Fiedler’s least preferred co-worker scale, 2011). The degree to which this scale can be effective in measuring leadership qualities among the students remains open for discussion. There is inadequate literature on the use of this model among students.
4. 0 Transference of Leadership Skill, Qualities and Abilities
Individuals acquire leadership skills through learning. Leadership has been proved to be nurtured but it is not a natural or an inherent trait. However, there are some characteristics that have been identified to foster the development of leadership skills, qualities and abilities in a faster rate than those who lack these traits. Maturing in an environment that allows young individuals to exercise leadership, autonomy, and supervision enables young people to acquire the necessary leadership traits.
The transference of leadership traits takes place through observation, developing interest and exercising the skills and traits acquired. Leadership skills may also be transferred through learning from literature and then exercising the learned knowledge. For instance, reading inspirational literature, watching inspirational leaders or even listening to leaders’ speech can have a positive impact on developing leadership traits. Sharing of ideas is the single most important avenue of transference of the leadership skills. Effective transference of these leadership skills calls for the recipient to develop interest in matters concerning leadership. Self drive towards achieving better results is also vital in adequate development of leadership skills. The older generation has a responsibility to enhance the development of leadership skills among the young ones. According to Kencastors (2010), there are temptations among the leaders to relent powers to the young leaders. Some of the leaders fear losing their positions once the young people acquire skills, qualities and abilities of principled leadership. Therefore, the suppress development of such traits among the young generation is inhibiting smooth transference of power.
5.0 Developing Leadership Traits
According to Chapman (2011), there are several avenues to develop and elegantly tune leadership qualities. Leadership is one of the areas that are polished by experience. Individuals become strong in leading others as they witness problems and challenges in life. The way they handle these obstacles enable them to solve problems of that kind later in life. This does not mean that they are equipped to solve problems. The experience may be shared through witnessing, learning, narration, or during training. Good leadership requires the development of desire to motivate people, strong emotional and personal traits to manage differences in groups of people. This will culminate to people who can be followed chiefly and trusted in decision making.
5.1 Mentoring and Leadership Qualities
Mentoring is the process through which an individual or a group of people with higher skills and experience engage in offering guidance, advice and impartial support, thus, enabling a junior person to develop the skills targeted. Mentoring plays a vital role in development of leadership skills (Stallard, 2010). It is one of the areas where the developing leaders can acquire such qualities as humility, integrity, emotional intelligence and skills to manage the groups in an effective way. Through mentorship programs, people are able to transfer their vast experience and knowledge to leading people.
5.2 Teaching and Development of Leadership Qualities
Teaching is described as a process that aims at impacting knowledge that is aimed to be retained for a longer duration. Teaching is facilitated through studies and instructing the learner. Teaching is a fundamental approach in developing leadership qualities (Stallard, 2010). Through knowledge that students acquire in their schooling tenure, a strong foundation of becoming an effective leader is established. Schooling helps an individual understand what is leadership, the different types of leadership style, qualities of leaders, and the significances of leadership. Besides it presents the students with interested people in the leadership arena, thus develops the need to know more about the leadership. As a result, such individuals acquire adequate leadership qualities as taught.
5.3 Training and Development of Leadership Qualities
Training aims at helping an individual master the required skills to levels of executing them effectively. Through training, individuals are able to execute such qualities as assertiveness, conflict resolution and problem solving. Moreover, it is through training that an individual acquires such skills as counseling and effective communication. Besides, training advances their competency levels. Therefore, training forms a vital avenue for modeling an effective leader. The areas where student can acquire training include personal initiative training programs, schooling, peers and relatives and learning through experience (Doyle & Smith, 2001).
The training, teaching, and mentoring processes may overlap each other in the development of leadership skills. It is sometime difficult to single out one of these and attribute it to the sound development of effective leadership traits. Others ventures through which an individual can acquire leadership qualities include coaching, modeling and learning. The qualities acquired through these different means play an important role in determining the leadership style an individual assumes or implements in his/her group. For instance, receiving mentorship program(s) from autocratic leaders will certainly lead to acquire qualities that are more commanding rather than persuasive (Mcpherson, 2011).
6.0 Formal and Informal Mechanism Influencing Leadership Qualities
A formal leader is a person who has been identified by other group members as their head. He or she is assigned the roles of directing and organizing the activities of the group with the consent of their followers. On the other hand, informal leaders lack the official consent or agreement to oversee the activities of the group, yet they manage to convince the group members to follow their ideas. It is possible to have the two types of leaders in a group. The main problem with having the two kinds of leaders is competition for power. Each of the leaders may focus on outdoing the other one, other than using their qualities, knowledge and skill for the benefit of the group (Hiray, 2007).
Developing leadership traits can also be influenced by formal and informal mechanism. Formal mechanism involves avenues that are established for development of leaders, while informal mechanism involves the assumption of powers and authority without the legality or consent.
6.1 Formal Mechanism of Leadership Skills Development
These mechanisms include being selected to lead a group, receiving leadership training , being mentored in the process of leadership development, participating in leadership programs and being coached to be a leader among others (Stallard, 2010). The person is ideally focused on acquiring the leadership skills. This is the main concept that enhances development and enables individuals to acquire leadership traits and qualities. Involving people who have leadership knowledge and skills enables students to prowess their leadership skills. The main motive leading to acquire the leadership skills through formal mechanism is the feeling of expectations. Individuals being trained or those in leadership positions commit themselves in fulfilling the expectation of the group and authorities. Moreover, they feel obliged to pursue their responsibilities. The devotion to these responsibilities enables the young leader to acquire leadership qualities, thus, developing further in the field of leadership (Hiray, 2007).
6.2 Informal Mechanism of Leadership Qualities Development
The informal mechanism involves the process of obtaining leadership qualities passively without being guided or directed. Such mechanism involves acquiring qualities through observing others while they exercise their leadership skills and abilities. Individuals may also assume leadership positions when their leaders are absent, yet they are not the second in the line of command (Stallard, 2010). In this case, the individual exercises the powers, yet not accountable for the result. In doing so, they are able to acquire some of the traits that qualify him/her for sound leadership position. Another area of informal mechanism of leadership qualities development is delegation. Senior leaders may help their juniors to develop leadership qualities through delegation of duties. The person delegated is given adequate responsibility and authority for the duties. Therefore, they tend to give their best in achieving the best result possible. This helps in introducing them to test their qualities and meticulously tune their abilities to lead (Pescosolido, 2001).
Among the students, the extent to which the two mechanisms can be contributed to develop leadership qualities depends on a number of factors. According to Pescosolido (2001), personal traits play a key role in both formal and informal mechanisms of leadership traits development. There are those who are able to control the group, talkative, and who like responsibilities. In such cases, students will be easily picked for leadership training as well as easily win mentors (formal mechanism). These students will also win favors when it comes to delegation of powers, and they are also expected to learn leadership qualities that will ensure that they remain the favorite choice (informal mechanism). Other than their personal attributes, the environmental factors also play a key factor in development of these traits. Students in an institution where autonomy, creativity and strict regulations are emphasized will be hindered in developing leadership qualities. The culture of such institution only allows following the rules and respecting their leaders` command. This is highly common within organizations or groups where autocratic leadership is exercised (Pescosolido, 2001, p78).
7.0 Student Processes that Inform their Leadership Styles
According to a study conducted by Dunga and Komives (2007), one of the challenges that the institutions are experiencing is that of helping students to develop the integrity, behaviors and principles that will facilitate them to assume leadership responsibilities. The study also identified a number of factors that motivate students to engage in leadership roles within and without the institution, thus identifying their leadership traits. Student will engage in leadership activities due to either personal or peer interests. Some of the conditions that force the students to involve in leadership positions are discussed below in this report.
The first condition that causes students to engage in leadership styles is the group superiority or control needs. Students will always try to outshine each other among themselves. This is promoted by the need of emerging as the best in order to win the group favor, or even to be able to control others (Phelps, 2012). Those that manage to convince their members assume the leadership roles, thus, becoming the voice of the group in case they enter into an intergroup negotiation. To maintain their position as leaders, they have to control group consistently and avoid development of resistance or opposing forces within the group. In this manner, such leaders use the autocratic leadership style. In other cases, there could be more than one leader in the group who is competing for power and, as a result, a democratic leadership emerges where students discuss their ideas before coming to a conclusion.
Students may also be appointed as representatives of a group, class or an institutional organization. In this manner, the student selection is done on the basis of ability to control and direct the group (Stallard, 2010). The situation facilitating the appointment or election of students for such positions may not be based on power or control. Different institutions have a number of formal and informal groups that need leaders. Leadership in these organizations mainly employs democratic leadership style. Such leaders realize their potential to leadership qualities and may develop to be future leaders.
Other condition for the potential students who engage in processes of leadership styles is the identification of a gap in the representation of students` needs (Omatsu, 2002). In cases where students identify that their interests are not observed in the institution, they will definitely assume leadership positions to champion for their rights. For instances, the formation of impromptu, informal groups that are aimed at harmonizing students concerns. Such groups are motivated by leaders’ informal leaders who identify a gap in service delivery and influence others to fight for their rights. In doing so, the culprit identifies their ability to influence, convince and motivate people to achieve a common goal. This enables them to discover their leadership qualities and skills.
Some students will also find themselves in leadership positions or engage in leadership matter as a result of ego defense mechanism. Assertiveness has been described by psychological researches as a mechanism where the individual tries to suppress painful feelings, impulses and emotions from reaching the conscious mind. Assertiveness, being a quality of an effective leader, may confuse others to conclude that such a person is doing so in promoting the group's interest. In arguments, individuals who are able to convince others to embrace their points are seen as strong leaders and earn unimpeachable reputation in representing group`s matter. Therefore, through safeguarding their ego, some students find themselves in leadership avenues (Phelps, 2012).
Motivation is a factor that forms the basis of pursuing a goal in life. Factors that motivate students to go into leadership roles include monitory and other beneficial allowances. Omatsu, 2002, argues that positions that have salaries will see students striving to secure them, irrespective of their leadership ambitions. The fact that they will be entitled for salaries will make them devote themselves in achieving their best in such positions. This turns out to be an avenue where they learn leadership skills and qualities. Therefore, the motivating condition in this case is the reward attached to these positions. In such cases, they acquire leadership qualities.
Another condition that may make students to get into leadership position is the pressure of their peer group, friends, and or relatives (Phelps, 2012). For instance, students who happen to come from families where either mother or father is a politician will face an external pressure to join the political field. In such instances, such students are advised to engage in political leadership at an early age enabling them to develop the qualities of leadership right from their early ages. Despite the fact that these are political minded and motivated concerns, they are able to acquire traits that can help them lead even not political movement groups in the school and outside the school set up.
Lastly, according to Dugan & Komives (2007), a student may be motivated to indulge in leadership positions due to his/her interest in leadership. Those aspiring to be leaders in the future might decide to engage in leadership activities right from school to enable them amass the experience and rightful skills in leading individuals. All these conditions will present with different leadership styles, and that will inform practice of leadership at one point or another.
Leadership development has emerged as a crucial factor of any organization`s future. It is extremely important to find the best suited person to succeed as the leader in institution, group, or organization, and it is one of imperative factors in securing the life of such sectors. Through involving students in leadership roles and activities that can promote their qualities of leadership, the remedy for having the young entrepreneurs equipped to compete effectively for top positions can be discovered. The world is embracing the young people in crucial leadership positions, and it is only through adequate measurement of leadership qualities that trust can be bestowed to those qualified for the position. Therefore, measures should be instituted to enable the students in the undergraduate levels to acquire effective leadership traits. Through involving students in the leadership activities, they will be able to determine their strengths and weaknesses in relating with other people. In this manner, they will strive to improve their abilities culminating to youth who is effective in their leadership roles.