All about Business and management

June 6, 2007

Formal and Informal leader

Filed under: Oraganization Behaviour — Jagdish Hiray @ 9:18 pm


Formal leader is a member of organization who has given authority by virtue of his position to influence other members of organization to achieve organizational goals. An informal leader has no formal organizational authority to influence others but possesses special kills and talent to influence and lead other members of organization. Managers, directors are formal leaders in a typical organization. Informal leaders possess strong self-motivation, possess positive attitude, motivates others and puts effort to drive organizational goals. Informal leaders are best candidates for future formal leaders.

Important differentiator factor between formal and informal leader is, formal leader is officially bind to drive members towards organizational goal and is responsible for results or outcome of efforts at the end. Informal leader do not have such official commitment towards group’s goal or organization goal and may not be directly responsible for final results and may not be accountable for it. Formal leader has official responsibility towards organizational goals, has formal job description. Informal leader might not have formal job description to lead and motivate others and job description might be limited to certain task.

            Leading is one of principal managerial functions. Managers are suppose to be formal leaders because they have the authority to influence their subordinates and are expected to use it. They are officially responsible for outcome of their group. However, in an organization, not all managers are leaders, whether they have direct reports or not. In certain cases job description might demand strong leadership, on other hand leadership might not be major factor. However, in today’s competitive world, most of the managerial jobs demand leadership qualities, inter personal and inter group interaction and a manager has to manage different type of responsibilities and roles. A leader influences other member of groups, leads group, and directs members towards its goals. A leader influences subordinate’s level of motivation, their performance and quality of their decisions.

                A leader may succeed or many not succeed to help organization achieve its goal. Effective leader helps organization achieve goal, an ineffective leader does not. Managers are formal leaders and should possess strong leadership qualities to achieve organizational goals. 

 Jagdish Hiray

(comments and feedback are welcome)



  1. Mr. Hiray;

    I am a fireman in a small town in the midwest. One of my fellow firefighters and I are having a spirited debate on which is more important to leading our small group, specifically is it more important becoming the group leader or is it better to remain formal leader and try to mold informal groups goals to the dept?

    any input would be appreciated.


    Comment by Chip Timmons — July 15, 2008 @ 12:54 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you for visiting my blog.

    Chip, informal leader can take advantage of ‘authority’ which is given by its designation in his role as formal leader. With this advantage, informal leader (before) who is now formal leader can benefit organization with official power and authority.

    True leaders always look for group and hence organization benefits. Informal leaders have limitations and can not implement things they wanted to. In most organizations, there is lack of leadership. However, in practice, and with my opinion formal leader should take advantage of his position as formal leader can leader group and hence organization to designated direction. Formal leader all has more avenues to improve his own skills and has voice in organization.

    Hope this helps you.

    Thank you,
    Jagdish Hiray

    Comment by Jagdish Hiray — July 16, 2008 @ 6:50 am | Reply

  3. Good article. Thanks for help!!!!!!

    Comment by soso — January 25, 2009 @ 10:00 am | Reply

  4. good job

    Comment by sorin — September 8, 2009 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  5. thanks for the article!!

    Comment by Brian Culver — November 24, 2009 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  6. intersting and very use ful…

    Comment by hashi — January 30, 2010 @ 6:38 am | Reply

    • an informal leader will excellently perform if he latter becomes a formal leader due to his special skills and talent to motivates other group members

      Comment by mohammed s o — November 18, 2012 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  7. i w a notes

    Comment by rupendra — April 19, 2010 @ 10:50 pm | Reply

  8. really good !
    Your article helped a lot thanks 😉

    Comment by nano — November 5, 2010 @ 7:38 am | Reply

  9. v nice thnks.

    Comment by Safi — April 8, 2011 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  10. There are at least two important points worth highlighting. First that leadership occurs at every institutional level: policy, strategic and tactical; Second that effective leadership needs both formal and informal power. In all project organizations the pm operates with less formal than influence (informal or personal) power. This is inevitable since project management often demands expertise and other resources from across functional and organizational lines. The pm in the projectized organization has more formal authority but still needs influencing power in dealing with suppliers

    In summary, leadership is required at all levels; effective leadership requires balancing application of formal and personal power; and effective project management demands more of influencing power because of the demand for resources from across functional departments and enterprises

    What do you think about this description of leadeship?

    Comment by Janet — February 21, 2012 @ 3:54 pm | Reply

  11. The write up on Formal and Informal leader is good but there is need for inclusion of Leadership Kinds in Formal Organizations.

    Comment by Adaa M. Sebastian — April 24, 2012 @ 12:39 am | Reply

  12. […] leaders        ► Informal leaders        ► Managers        ► Followers  Reference   Question No: 9    ( M a r k s: 1 )    The most fragile relationships are contained in […]

    Pingback by MGT502 FinalTerm s4 2010 solved by Well Wisher | Past Papers In Pakistan — July 9, 2012 @ 12:45 am | Reply

  13. Nice work there.

    Comment by shyne — August 8, 2012 @ 8:37 am | Reply

  14. Helped more differences between formal and informal apart from the explained?

    Comment by Najma — February 5, 2013 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  15. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
    Very helpful info particularly the last part
    🙂 I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular information for a long
    time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Comment by Pure Leverage Blog — April 19, 2013 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  16. What’s up, I read your new stuff like every week. Your writing style is awesome, keep doing what you’re doing!

    Comment by Geraldine — July 3, 2013 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  17. This website was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped me.
    Appreciate it!

    Comment by twitter buy followers no password — October 17, 2013 @ 7:34 pm | Reply

  18. Have good content on the blog, I congratulate you. I will keep coming occasionally to view updates, since I see that the post is old. kisses

    Comment by Los adverbios — September 1, 2014 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  19. hy I am very appreciate

    Comment by dr nana — November 17, 2015 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  20. Comment by Abby Ngoma. This website has given me hints on the subject matter.

    Comment by Abby Ngoma — December 17, 2015 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: