Formal and Informal Leadership


Formal and Informal Leadership

Leadership is very vital in any organization because it directs the actions taken by others to make the organization a success. Leadership can be formal or informal whereby in formal structure, a leader is officially designated as the organization or group leader. Good examples of formal leaders in public organizations are the chief executive officer, the attorney, department management among others. The formal leader has the responsibility of organizing the available resources, motivating staff members, and working out logistics (McCurdy, 2006). On the other hand, an informal leader is an individual who is not officially appointed as the head but is looked upon by other members for inspiration and motivation (Shafritz, Russell, Borick & Wyde, 2017). Every organization must have these two structures of leadership. A good example of such organization is the American Red Cross.

Brief Description of the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a non- profit organization that offers emergency help, disaster preparedness, and disaster relief education and services in the United States. The organization was established back in 1881 by Clara Barton after learning the operations of such an organization in Geneva, Switzerland (Marian, 2013). The American Red Cross is headed by presidents and chief executive officers (CEOs) as well as a board of directors. Following its leadership, the organization has managed to offer quality services to a number of people across the United States. Some of the services offered by the organization are; tissue services, nucleic acid testing, blood transfusion, plasma services, and cellular therapies among others (Cimino, 2019).



Formal and Informal Leadership
Subject Area
Additional Instructions?
Traditional models of organizational management promote a hierarchal structure of roles and responsibilities. Modern public and nonprofit organizations are moving away from this model and toward a more networked and collaborative management structure. The new structure allows for the presence and influence of informal leadership within an organization. It is important to recognize both the formal and informal leadership operating within an organization, as it is often the informal leaders who have the influence that will result in the success of an initiative. Understanding the interaction between formal and informal leadership is vital to bringing about results and success in all areas of the organization.

For this Assignment, review this week’s Learning Resources, and focus on the leadership structures with public or nonprofit organizations.


Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. W., Borick, C. P., & Wyde, A. C. (2017). Introducing public administration (9th. ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
Chapter 8, “Managerialism and Information Technology”
Chapter 10, “Leadership”
Donaldson, S. (2006). Outside, looking in. Public Integrity, 8(3), 207–214.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
McCurdy, H. E. (2006). Vision and leadership: The view from science fiction. Public Integrity, 8(3), 257–270.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Nagel, J. H. (1991). Psychological obstacles to administrative responsibility: Lessons of the MOVE disaster. Journal of Policy Analysis & Management, 10(1), 1–23.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

Briefly describe one public or nonprofit organization from the Learning Resources.
Describe the formal leadership structure of the organization.
Describe the informal leadership that is present in the organization.
Explain how the formal leadership structures and informal leadership manifest themselves, overlap, and relate to one other in the organization.
Explain the influence of informal leadership on organization leadership.
Explain the implications (positive and/or negative) of adhering to a formal leadership structure.