Defining leadership is not as simple as reciting a definition from a dictionary. There are, of course, formal definitions of leadership, especially within the military where they even have schools designed to prepare their hand-picked senior military members to lead.
Leadership, however, is an intangible quality that really cannot be taught. It is more than something that a person does; it is more of what that person possesses.
The formal definition of leadership is the “process of social influence in which a person can enlist the support and aid of others in the accomplishment of a common task” and “the action of leading an organization or a group of people”.
Both of these definitions describe what can happen when an individual is an effective leader. Their leadership can move groups of people or organizations to accomplish tasks, increase sales, build bridges, or take San Juan Hill.
True leadership is demonstrated by those who also know what it is to be followers. Someone who can inspire others to follow them, has first been inspired to follow someone else. That leader is not afraid to dig in the dirt to lay foundation or to work the customer service desk or ride with Town Patrol in the darkest hours between midnight and dawn.
The definition of leadership is more than a title or position. It is the ability to identify with those for whom the leader is responsible. Leadership is getting up from behind the desk and walking around. Leadership is having a vision and being able to communicate it.
As the leader, it is great to envision a path forward, but if the leader cannot get buy in from those who must help make that vision happen, it is going to be a rough road.
Leadership is bringing out the best in people. Recognizing each individual’s potential and skills and building dynamic teams that bring together the best of these diverse talents. Inspiring and motivating people to want to do their best is a characteristic of all great leaders.
Change is going to happen and it takes strong leadership to get an organization safely and successfully through it. Strong leadership communicates openly and constantly and does not back off from the tough questions.
Charting a clear path and creating new opportunities is a leader’s responsibility.
Good leadership will ensure everyone is involved in the conversation.
The definition of leadership involves connecting to people and building trust and credibility. It is about inspiring, empowering, and motivating people to bring out their potential.
Leadership creates a path forward for an organization and communicates it to everyone building commitment and buy-in. Leadership must set the example for honesty and integrity in all dealings.
Leadership is far more than the title on the door. It is an innate ability to inspire and motivate others to accomplish and achieve more than they thought possible.
Over the centuries, brilliant leadership has inspired complete turn-arounds from bankruptcy to Wall Street giant and incredible acts of courage staring straight into the face of Death. Given the right leader, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.