What is your definition of a leader


1. Executive, formal leader: Leader of a group who draws his authority and competence from his hierarchical position (appointed leadership). The extent to which the manager can influence the performance behavior of the group is the result of the mutual, bidirectional behavioral influencing between the leader and the person being led (interaction theory of leadership). The interaction, the exchange of activities or resources between leader and being led are based on formal and individual expectations. Labor relations can thus be described as a reciprocal exchange of economic and social transactions. Due to the hierarchical or formal status differences between managers and employees, the former can try to influence the behavior of their employees through both formal and informal resources. Formal organizational resources are rewards, such as money, equipment, exclusive information, or sanctions, such as warnings or postponing a salary adjustment. Informal, special or personal rewards are, for example, recommendations for promotion, tasks with increased visibility and friendship. Personal sanctions of the superior can be: assignment of routine tasks, criticism in public or more stringent surveillance. Georg B. Graen and Julio C. Canedo (2016) highlight in this context in theirLeader Member Exchange Theory (LMX) Among other things, it shows that differentiated and differently stable dyadic structures develop between managers and their employees. They differentiate between very mature exchange relationships in which they experience mutual influence, respect, trust and sympathy. In addition, there are exchange relationships at a very low level, which are based only on the formal, contractually fixed exchange conditions.

2. Informal guide: actual leader of a group. He takes on the leadership role due to group-specific role distribution. The authority of the informal manager results predominantly from the attribution and perception of the current group norm as a personal characteristic of the manager. For example, according to the Implicit leadership theory von Lord / Maher (1991) rather lead employees through people whom they perceive or recognize as managers. This means that employees can be led by managers if the latter also roughly correspond to the ideas that employees have of a manager as a prototype (fundamental attribution error). This attribution is based on cognitive processing mechanisms as discussed in connection with charismatic leadership and attribution theory.

See also leadership, leadership style, leadership behavior; performance management, leadership theories.