There have been a ton of definitions on Leadership. Each looks at this important subject from a different angle, and this just goes to show that Leadership means different things to different people.
Here are some classic quotes on Leadership.
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better.
Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people. John D. Rockefeller
I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. Raplh Nader
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. Warren G. Bennis
In the context of today’s corporate world, I look at leadership in this way:
1. It is the art of aligning people with a common vision/cause. It is not the farce of bending rules and regulations to suit personal needs. A leader who is not fair and just loses his/her moral authority to lead, as the key skill for a leader is CREDIBILITY.
2. Leadership is showing people the general direction but then getting out of the way, so that they can determine which approach/path to take. A leader is a guide who can show the light on the preferred path ahead.
3. Leadership is about helping people discover their hidden potential, and giving them responsibilities that can exploit their potential. If a follower has some gaps on the side of ability or skill or knowledge, it is the leaders prerogative to help them to plug the gap.
4. Leadership is knowing that the people you have put in place will do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and if they have a challenge they will get back to you, if they require your help or guidance. A leader is a dealer in hope and confidence.
5. Good leaders have so much value, that others want to emulate them. A leader who tries to get other people to be like him/her has not understood the basic tenet of leadership – to grow leaders to fulfill their potential, and not to replicate their potential.
6. A leader needs to be an effective, and if possible a powerful communicator. A good leader can influence others through his oratorical skills. A great leader knows how to impact and motivate people.
Is leadership an attribute only in the corporate world?
No. It is present everywhere. We see leadership exercised on the sports field, and more so on battle fields. However, lets not forget that we are called to be good leaders at home, in our communities… and practically everywhere… when we know how to effectively encounter people.
Wherever we have the opportunity to demonstrate what VALUE we have, the people we need will automatically be drawn to you. The more value you have, the more valuable you become. The more responsible you are, the more the responsibilities you will receive.
I wish each of you a ton of happiness as you follow your dream.