The Concept of Leadership


Public sector organizations are usually found in a dilemma due to the changing needs of the time. As far as leadership is concerned a lot of transformation has been experienced in the public sector organization. The greatest paradox of the time that haunts the public sector organizations is the increasing expectations of leadership. There is an increasing need for managerial accountability from organizational leadership. This has made leadership be more complex and demanding since leaders find themselves with tasks that are new and unexpected. What can be said of the changing nature of organizational leadership is that the traditional concept of leadership has lost meaning and essence. As a result, there is an increasing need to embrace the newness to fulfill the necessities of the time. Under normal circumstances, leadership is all about the provision of direction to the organization. This is coupled with the development of a vision through which the goals and objectives of the organization are fulfilled. Managerial accountability has therefore presented the current organizational leadership with new challenges that have complicated the whole role of leadership. This paper takes a look at the whole role of organizational leadership in the context of changing requirements of the same. To succeed in this endeavor the paper will analyze the concept of leadership from a jurisdictional point of view. I will explore my own experience in leadership as a point of reference throughout the paper.


Organizational leadership is a crucial component of any business firm (Christenen, 2007). This is because every organization involves the achievement of certain goals and objectives. Therefore it is leadership that provides the guidance and direction in the achievement of these goals through the development of vision, leaders set the activities of the organization in progress. It is against this background that the concept of organizational leadership occupies a great position in their existence (Pardey, 2006). To affect leadership various skills are imparted on the prospective leaders to prepare them for the role in the organization. There is a difference between leadership and management, this primarily stems from the roles played by the two disciplines. Managers play the role of executing the vision of the organization to achieve the dreams and goals of the organization. On the other hand, leaders set the pace and decide what the goals of the organization are (Storey, 2004). This is done through the development and evaluation of the vision of the organization.

Organizational leadership & Change

The current environment of public sector organizations has been synonymous with change. This change in turn demands greater leadership in which the major ingredient should be managerial accountability (Otenyo & Vaugh, 2007). This has been a greater challenge to the whole discipline of leadership. It has made it very difficult for the current breed of leadership to fulfill the changing demands of leadership. Managerial accountability as a discipline requires a lot of caution on the part of leaders. In the days of old, what all leaders needed to do was to set out a plan and vision for the organization. From time to time they were required to review and evaluate the goals set for the organization. There was no point at which the leaders were expected to account for their actions or decision. However, the trend of accountability has gradually been picking up in recent days. It is against this background that leaders of modern-day public sector organizations find themselves in a paradox where apart from their demanding tasks are required to account for their decision and actions (Hollingsworth & White, 1999). This has put a strain on the entire role and function of leadership.

Managerial accountability

Managerial accountability is all about the aspect of taking responsibility for the actions and decisions of leaders. This is done to the people since public sector organizations are considered the property of the people. As a result, the leaders must take great care in whatever actions and decisions they make (Tan, 2001). This is because they are vetted according to what they do. Therefore apart from the pursuit for excellence in organizations, the leaders find themselves in a situation where they must adhere to ethical standards and aspects of welfare. This has something to do with service to society since accountability involves having a good relationship with the masses. At the basic level, accountability involves accounting for the actions and decisions of leaders to the shareholders of the company. As result leaders are not immune to scrutiny by the owners of the organization. This requires them to consult widely before embarking on a course. The owners or shareholders of public sector companies are considered to be the government which is the custodian of the people. In other words, the actions and decisions of leaders in publicly owned organizations are scrutinized by the public (Viljeon, 2003). This brings about the aspect of paradox; this is because the leaders are confused between achieving effectiveness and appeasing the shareholders.

Impact of the Paradox

From my own experience in leadership, the combination of the role of leadership and the expectations of accountability present a paradox. Leaders find themselves in a dilemma of whether to focus on the effectiveness or to fulfill the wishes and demands of accountability. At the same time accountability introduces an aspect of scrutiny to the roles of leaders. As a result, leaders lose the opportunity to focus on their jobs since they must incorporate the demands of accountability. The demand for accountability on the role of leaders contradicts with the pursuit of excellence which is the sole driving force of the discipline of leadership. Therefore leaders are torn into two, whether to a primary focus on fulfilling demands of accountability or the achievement of excellence and effectiveness. It makes the task of leadership seem more complex since the leaders find themselves pressed on both fronts. The changing nature of public sector organizations has put leaders in a very complex position. This has increased the challenges leaders experiences in their role (Halachmi et al 1995). As a result, the requirements of leadership have increased all of a sudden. However, the most complex parameter is not the fulfillment of the requirements, rather the successful combination of the two contradictory expectations of managing public sector organizations.


The concept of leadership is of great importance as far as business organizations are concerned. The tasks of leadership have however experienced a radical transformation in recent times. Leaders are now expected to perform their tasks not only with a focus on success but also with consideration of aspects of accountability. Public sector organizations have been at the forefront in demanding a change in the whole aspect of leadership of the organization. The inception of managerial accountability has changed the way the concept of leadership is perceived in public sector organizations. This has resulted in the arising of a dilemma where leaders find themselves confused between fulfilling the goals of the organization and fulfilling the requirements of accountability. In essence, accountability presents a lot of challenges to the role of leadership where leaders have to be very considerate in whatever they do and the choices they make. In my own experience with public sector leadership, I have observed this to be the greatest challenge of the role of leadership. The paper has taken an analytical perspective of the changing demands of leadership. Special reference has been given to the aspect of managerial accountability which is primarily responsible for the changing nature of public sector organizational leadership. The paper has henceforth been successful in its endeavor to analytically explore the concept of leadership. Special reference has been given to the whole aspect of public sector organization. In analyzing the concept of leadership and its changing paradigms the paper has considered all aspects of organizational effectiveness in comparison to the aspect of managerial accountability. This has been the major aspect of the paper. It has been concluded that organizational leadership especially the public sector organizations has undergone a lot of transformation. This transformation on the other hand has led to the complexity of the leadership roles. This has been the major focus of this paper.


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  2. Halachmi, et al (1995). Public productivity through quality and strategic management. Texas: IOS Press.
  3. Hollingsworth, K. & White, F. (1999). Audit, accountability and government. London: Oxford University Press.
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  6. Storey, J. (2004). Leadership in organizations: current issues and key trends. New York: Routledge.
  7. Tan, J. (2001). Health management information systems: methods and practical applications. Washington; Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  8. Viljeon, J. (2003). Strategic Management.Sydney, Prentice Hall
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