Many people over the years have tried to create a Leadership Definition that encapsulates what leadership is about.
The reality is that leadership is personal to
individuals – and the situation that they are in. Businesses, charities,
voluntary organisations, not for profit organisations, armed forces, sports
organisations, religious organisations, etc. all need leaders. But the
leadership qualities and experience required from one organisational type to
another can vary enormously.
It’s true that there are common good leadership skills that
all leaders should have:
But it is the ‘mix’ of skills in relation to the situation
that is key and how the individual leader views himself or herself.
As there is no one single type of leader then there
cannot be one single Leadership Definition. It is very personal to each individual and you
yourself must define what leadership style you employ. The many
responsibilities that a leader has only adds to the difficulty in creating a
universal Leadership Definition.
So how can we capitalise on other peoples’ ideas, concepts and experience to help us define our own leadership approach?
In the past authors and researchers have tended to look
at leadership in terms of perspectives and have developed a Leadership Definition
around these perspectives.
This is the exact opposite of trying to create one
Leadership Definition that will suit every situation. I personally believe that
this is the right way to go as there are so many aspects, issues, traits, beliefs,
etc. that can influence the style of leadership.
Have a look at the Leadership Definitions below to see if they can help you define your own leadership style. I have put them under suggested ‘perspective’ headings to try to create an overall structure:
Leadership may be
considered as the process of influencing the activities of an organized group
in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement. (Stogdill)
Leadership is the
art of influencing others to their maximum performance to accomplish any task,
objective or project. (William Cohen)
Leadership is a
process of influence between a leader and those who are followers. (Hollander)
Leadership is an
influence process that enables managers to get their people to do willingly
what must be done, do well what ought to be done. (Cribbin)
Leadership is the
process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts
toward goal achievement in a given situation. (Hersey & Blanchard)
Leadership is influence – nothing more nothing less. (John Maxwell)
The Importance of
Leadership is not a
person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship together with the character
that inspires confidence and trust. (Field Marshall Montgomery)
leadership is not about being tough or soft, sensitive or assertive, but about
a set of attributes. First and foremost is character. (Warren Bennis)
While you, the
leader, can teach many things, character is not taught easily to adults who
arrive at your desk lacking it. Be cautious about taking on reclamation
projects regardless of the talent they may possess. Have the courage to make character
count among the qualities you seek in others. (John Wooden)
Leadership is the
capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character
which inspires confidence. (Field Marshall Montgomery)
Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy. (General Norman Schwarzkopf)
Process of Change
One key to
successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a
reflection of our own inner growth and empowerment. (Robert e. Quinn)
If your actions
inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a
leader. (John Quincy Adams)
complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts
and sails. (John Maxwell)
Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. (Warren Bennis)
Leadership cannot just go along to get along. Leadership must meet the moral challenge of the day. (Jesse Jackson)
Before you are a
leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader,
success is all about growing others. (Jack Welch)
The function of
leadership is to produce more leaders, not followers. (Ralph Nadar)
The growth and development
of people is the highest calling of leadership. (Harvey Firestone)
that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as a means to your end. (Immanuel
I am convinced that
nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end
of the day you bet on people, not on strategies. (Larry Bossidy)
Leadership and learning are indispensible to each other. (John F. Kennedy)
The true leader
serves. Serves people. Serves their best interests, and in doing so will not
always be popular, may not always impress. But because true leaders are
motivated by loving concern than a desire for personal joy, they are willing to
pay the price. (Eugene B. Habecker)
Good leaders must
first become good servants. (Robert Greenleaf)
Let me pass, I have
to follow them, I am their leader. (Alexandre Ledru-Rollin)
The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. (Max Depree)
Leadership Theory & Approaches:
There is an abundance of leadership theories out there - but which one suits your own style?
How many are there and which one is best?
Types of Leadership:
Inspire and motivate your people to ever increasing higher level of performance by adopting this true leadership style.
Is this tyle of leadership good or bad for the organisation?
To be successful, you have to truly want your team members to contribute their ideas and you have to take them seriously.
Based on setting clear objectives, and reward and punishment, to get followers to adhere to the goals.
This style does have its uses in certain circumstances - but it is only a short term solution.
This assumes that the success of the leader is dependent upon the leader's ability, ability of followers and organisational/environmental factors.
This theory states that the leader must alter his/her style to match the team members' ability and experience.
This theory assumes that leaders are born and not made.
Application of Leadership:
Read here to see the essential skills that can make you a great leader...and the good news is that they can be learned through training and experience.
To be successful you need both of these activities - it should not be seen as a competition.
You need to identify and prepare future leaders to ensure long term stability for the organisation.
Be inspired and motivated by these quotes from many different areas of life.