Leadership: Leader is a person who is like everyone else and have personnel needs and hopes. In addition, he enjoys the formal authority and power of an influential position. The task of leader is called leadership. The term leadership therefore can be defined as exercise of influence in an organization in which the other persons attribute leadership qualities to the leader.
The leader should create a framework for activities, maintain norms and policies motivate fellow members of the group and allow others to prove their efficiency. He should be aware of changes in the wider environment and in the internal structure of the organization. In a particular situation, the leader has to take the right decision for organizing and implementation of a task.
a) Qualities of Leader: There are different theories which describe the qualities and function of leader differently. Some of them are as follows-
i) Personal quality theory: This theory has been emphasized in Trait theories in which leader is accepted as superior and the subordinates are expected to follow him by virtue of his personal qualities.
ii) Environmental theory: The leadership is based on providing solution in a given crisis. The leader may not be successful in a different situation.
iii) Personal – environmental theory: It gives emphasis on personal characteristics, capabilities of managing various situations and the response of subordinate to accept the leadership.
iv) Exchange theory: Group interaction and its results are the focal concept of this theory.
v) Humanistic theory: It gives emphasis on the leadership of persons who will grant maximum freedom to enable group member to achieve high level of self actualization having total involvement in all affairs leading to success.
vi) Expectational theory: It is based on leadership to be gained by a person who is able to maintain the aim and goals as well as to motivate the group.
vii) Contingency theory: No fixed patter of leadership behaviour can be effective in all situation. In a particular situation the leader must design his own pattern to achieve the best result. The contingent factors are the personality of the leader. The successful leader must be person- oriented and task-oriented and should be capable of understanding the particular situation.
In the complex social situation while there are changing conditions under external influences no one pattern of behaviour and approach is equally effective in all circumstances.
Some common qualities of leader are-
i) Hard worker and intelligent;
ii) Well qualified, academically and professionally;
iv) Always resourceful;
v) Spokesman and disseminator;
vi) Disturbance handler or conflict handler;
vii) Resource allocator;
b) Librarian as a Leader: The librarian should have the qualities of a leader so that his subordinate derives inspiration from him. He should always stand in favour of his subordinates interest and enthusiasm for the profession and loyalty to the organization by his own examples. Today most of the librarians are discharging their function as a leader.
i) Secretary of the library committee: Librarian’s are the member secretary of the library committee and it is his duty to prepare the agenda for the committee meetings.
ii) Conference, seminar, orientation: Librarians nowadays attending conferences, seminars, and conduct regular orientation class for the new members of the library.
iii) Solves problems of the library: Due to the rapid changes in environment and in the education trend libraries are always facing problem. The librarian as a well qualified person academically and professionally so his subordinate when confronted with various problem are able to seek solution from the him.
iv) Take decision: Librarians can take decision in library matter.
v) Gives order and direction: Orders and direction and instruction are issued from the librarian and these are implemented by the respective level of subordinates.
vi) Represent the library and staff: The librarian represents the library and its staff in all internal and external matter.
vii) Guidance and motivation of the staff: The librarian guides, directs and motivates all his subordinates who work with and for him to accomplish the results as per the plans and policies. Librarians also build confidence among the library staff.
viii) Building morale: Morale is expected as attitude of the staff towards organization. High morale leads to high service. Librarian builds the morale of the staff.
c) Problems for the Librarians: Some of the problems associated with the librarian in carrying out the leadership roles are –
i) Majority of librarians in school and public libraries have not any subordinate staff. So, they cannot perform their function as a leader.
ii) The librarians generally do not get proper recognition from the parent organization and from the society. This creates emotional problem to carry out the function of a leader.
iii) The salary and wages of the private sector librarians generally are not up to the mark. So they don’t feel motivated to perform their function as a leader.
iv) The majority of old librarians are less qualified academically and professionally. So they cannot compete with the member of the parent organization to discharge their duties as a leader.