There is a huge amount of information on leadership. If you decided to make the study of leadership a full-time job for the rest of your life, you would not be able to make a dent in reviewing the available material. The list of books on leadership is long and diverse. American history is replete with accounts of exemplary leadership from among presidents and members of the Armed Forces.
Conventions and seminars abound with workshops and keynotes on this popular topic. Scores of professionals make their living by writing and speaking about leadership. There is one conclusion we can draw from all this information: Leadership is indeed important; in fact, I believe it is an essential quality in a life built to succeed.
After decades of intense study on the foundational elements of such a vital subject, I created a definition that can be used to measure existing leadership within organizations, families and other relationships. A simple definition I penned some time ago, which is always reliable is:
“Leadership is the act of influencing another to do what really matters.”
Influence evokes a voluntary effect – it is not autocratic; not forced on another person. A person follows the leader because of who the leader is. Even though management is a synonym of leadership I distinguish the two because management (or directorship) may be responsible for task assignment for others. And, termination may be an option if a directive is not followed. But, in leadership voluntary compliance is the parallel.
‘Another’ in an organization is likely going to mean a multitude of people – not just one person. But, leadership can exist in one-on-one relationships and is probably the most important in marriage. The one person whom we would most want to influence to become their best self would be a spouse.
‘What really matters’ is a key element of my definition. In organizations, what matters is usually found in mission, values or vision statements. A strategic plan often includes goals that matter. A leader can influence others to accomplish what matters most. Having a list of numerous followers does not define leadership. Leadership is getting those followers to do something that has value.
Everyone can be a leader. Being a leader does not depend on authority or control. You can be a great leader in your company, family, or community without holding any position. You do not need to have an academic degree or even money.
If you want to develop your leadership skills, you will want to focus on the necessary fundamentals and principles that offer the best opportunity to lead others. Leadership fundamentals include: integrity, example (practice what you preach), winning attitude, great communication, vision, passion, cheering someone in encouragement, excellence, love, trust and a bias to action.
Each leadership situation is unique and will require different levels of these principles. A family leadership situation may require a huge amount of love and trust. A business organization may need integrity, great communication and an inspiring vision.
Each leadership opportunity is different. How do we know if we are truly leading? Look for a simple definition. Ask this question: Are the followers doing what really matters on a voluntary basis? If the answer is yes, someone is leading.
For more information on Leadership
On this website, http://robhackbarth.com/blog/, you will find a number of blogs on leadership. Two of my favorites are:
Rob is a professional speaker and author. Through his company, Mondays are Great, LLC, he writes, speaks, coaches and consults. His first book, There are No Small Moments, is a small handbook on success. You can read this book on one long plane trip or in a couple of evenings. But, you will come back to it often as a reference guide on life lessons that are illustrated through stories.
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