What is leadership?
A Google search on the term leadership yields about 134,000,000 hits! An Amazon search yields over 112,000 results for books on the subject. Wow!
I have been writing this blog for some time and whilst I have explored how others have defined leadership. I have not taken time to define what I mean by leadership. The reason for my tardiness is that I have found defining leadership to be quite a daunting task. I have even asked myself if it’s possible to create a leadership definition? Despite these nagging concerns and against my better judgement I’m giving it a shot.
My definition for leadership is as follows:
“Leadership is a process of influence that generates the commitment and capabilities required to translate vision into reality.”
Let me explain some of the underlying principles and ideas that are implied in this definition.
- Leadership is a about change. It’s the purpose of leadership to bring change, to drive innovation, encourage people to do different things or to do things differently. If there is no need for change, there is no need for leadership.
- Leadership happens through a social process of influence. Leadership is a social process. A process of influence resulting in the commitment by people to a vision and process of change. Leadership is not about authority or having a position and a title.
- Leadership demands results. Leadership brings vision into reality, leadership demands results. Leadership is about making things happen.
- Leadership is distributed. Leadership is not the responsibility of the person at the top. Leadership is not the responsibility of the person with the title, position or authority. We are all responsible to exercise leadership at all levels of an organisation and in all facets of our lives.
- Leadership is personal. Leadership is an extension of who we are, an extension of our own personal purpose and vision. There is therefore no one right way to lead. You work with the abilities that you have to create change whilst working to learn and improve. Leadership begins with leading yourself.
- Leadership is developmental. Leadership is about change and therefore requires learning, growth and personal transformation. Leadership requires you develop new abilities, those necessary to translate the vision into reality.
So there it is. Yet another definition of leadership! So in a nutshell leadership is about three things:
- A Vision of the Future
- The Alignment of people with that vision
- The Execution of the vision