18 February 2009

Leadership and groups

Leadership is often seen as something that is part of a group. In corporations groups are a way of life. And leadership can be for the corporation as a whole or for subgroups. Subgroups are created when dividing the corporation into departments with specific tasks. But they can also be created for a specific temporary task.

Most organizations that grow beyond twenty persons, automatically divide themselves into specialist groups. Accounting, purchase and sales, cleaning, they are all part of the organization. Specialization has its advantage over generalization, when it comes to certain organizational tasks. These departments often doe not really need leadership. Especially when the members are highly specialized and highly trained. Often the specialists know exactly what to do and only need someone to keep them up to date with higher management and in contact with other departments.

Groups that are specially formed for a certain task often have need of internal leadership. But they also need external leadership, to support their work. Especially if the task has implications for the company policy or if it is to prepare change.

Internal leadership of groups is needed to make the group work efficient and effective. However this internal leadership does not necessarilly has to be filled by one person. Belbin showed that the success of a group is defined by the fulfillment of nine roles. In which one person can very well occupy two group roles.

The external leadership is needed to make it possible for the group to do its work. But also to let the groups work have effect. Without the external leadership the work the group has done could very well get lost in the politics of any organization that is larger than 50 members.


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



  2. Thanks Mirela. Have fun reading my blog.