Leadership is a topic that interests and excites people in all levels of the society. The world's eyes have always been following certain individuals; the leaders of their times. Their opinions and decisions affect and inspire people, and all news from them is awaited. The same applies to the modern business world. Many large companies are personified in their leader, and the subordinates are committed to the company and leader's ideals. But what is the secret of being a good leader, and how to use the leadership skills in favor of a business...

Jonathan Matheny was a visiting professor at the Helsinki school of Economics campus in Mikkeli in spring 2000. He comes from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and lectures around the world about various topics, including leadership.

Define a good leader?
Can leadership skills be learned, and how?

There has been an ongoing debate for long about the concepts of a manager and a leader. These terms inspired researchers to take part in the discussion especially in the 1990's.

What is the difference between a manager and a leader?

Various large multinational companies rely their image on the shoulders of their CEO's (e.g. Jorma Ollila of Nokia, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Jack Welch of General Electric). Personal characteristics and capabilities of leaders have become even more important in brand managing and creating. That is why researchers today are interested in studying charisma and charismatic leadership as a part of organizational behavior.

Another form of being a leader is transformational leadership. Transformational leaders merely are to empower subordinates by mentoring and teaching, whereas charismatic leaders often seek to keep subordinates weak, loyal and dependent. Therefore charismatic leaders rise highly polarized opinions; they are either loved or hated.

What are the characteristics of a charismatic leader?

One of the major functions of a leader is to make decisions. Some leaders tend to operate very independently, just letting the subordinates know what has been decided. Participative leadership is another way to deal with employees, since it involves efforts to encourage participation in the workplace. Listening to subordinates before making decisions increases the level of approval and implementation.

Pros / Cons of participative leadership?

As mentioned; to gain satisfying results a leader usually needs loyal and committed employees. To win respect and maintain effective interpersonal relationships, a leader himself needs to show consideration towards other people first. There are various ways to reward and show supporting behavior to subordinates.

Effective ways to support people?
What kinds of rewards can be used?

All companies and all communities are different, and led by different leadership styles and methods. What suits one, doesn't necessarily suit another. We can learn through effort and error, but what is essential: leadership skills CAN be studied and learned!

Nettiradio Mikaeli / Lilli Oksanen 2000