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Leadership: An Art or Science?

This topic comes up frequently in corporate training sessions, academic conferences, online forums, and classrooms. Does it make a difference whether it’s an art or a science, or both?

Leadership: An Art or Science?

Leadership, defined as the ability to persuade others to achieve specified goals, is one of the most complicated and exciting topics of the twenty-first century. Despite tremendous development in the realms of technology and artificial intelligence throughout the world, it is critical to raise the ‘leaders’ quotient in high positions in organizations, institutions, and local governments. It’s also critical to figure out why some people lead naturally while others struggle, leading to the question of whether leadership is an art or a science.

For many individuals, leadership is solely an art since it entails interacting with people and has a human component. Others feel it is a science because of advancements in leadership-related research in psychology. We still don’t have definitive answers to these concerns since no two good leaders are alike, whether it’s Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, or Martin Luther King Jr. — their acts were shaped by their own socio-cultural settings. However, over time, academics, psychologists, neuroscientists, and real-world leaders have established that there are some common personality traits that appear across the board and may hold the key to determining whether leadership is an art or a science.

People Management
Leadership: An Art or Science?

People management is a big aspect of leadership. In the corporate world, we frequently hear CEOs extolling the importance of people as their most valuable assets. Despite this, the adage “people quit bosses, not organizations” continues to ring true among employees throughout the world. This occurs because strongman leadership, which emphasizes generating fear in people, is frequently regarded to be beneficial. There is, however, substantial research indicating the opposite. Scientists who studied the amygdala, the brain’s fear center, discovered that when it lights up, our pre-frontal cortex stops operating properly.

The pre-frontal cortex is the region of the brain in charge of executive tasks including judgment and problem-solving. As a result, leaders that instill fear and worry in their employees will fail. Instead, we need corporate leaders that encourage teams, concentrate on employee capability, and foster fear-free workplace environments.

Great leaders, whether in business or politics, don’t normally tell people what to do or where they should go; instead, they enable everyone to work together to achieve a shared goal, and they empower even the team’s weakest members. Leaders that thrive at people management understand that the key to building a successful team is to recognize each member’s talents, flaws, and needs, and to work around them to create a better culture. Taking care of people is consequently a good leader’s asset.

Integrity
Leadership: An Art or Science?

It’s common to think that being a successful leader entails doing whatever it takes to get the task done. Leadership is sometimes conflated with generating good bottom-line financial results, being charming, wielding frightening power, instilling fear, and influencing staff to get work done at any cost. Great leaders, according to scholars who have studied leadership, are assessed by their characteristics, and they inspire people via their acts and words. People who are extremely engaged at work get their drive from leaders who set a good example. As a result, standing up for what is right, as well as being kind, fair, and selfless, are all attributes that people respect in their leaders.

Managing of Emotions
Leadership: An Art or Science?

Most humans are hard-wired to feel empathy, according to scientists studying mirror neurons in the human brain—a type of social media circuitry network that we share with monkeys. Leaders must be aware of emotions and sentiments at a workplace where big groups of people work in close quarters, since both negative and good feelings may swiftly spread among groups. Discouragement or a poor sense of morale may spread like wildfire among teams, stifling drive and production. Favorable emotions such as happiness and inspiration, on the other hand, are contagious and may create an energizing atmosphere among teams, resulting in positive consequences for a company’s overall reputation and profitability.

Good leaders are thus good emotional managers because they understand that low morale may have a cascading impact on every element of an organization, resulting in a variety of undesirable consequences such as high attrition rates, decreased productivity, a tarnished reputation, and so on.

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