Leadership means different things to different people at different times, depending on the situation.
But at its core, leadership really is just one single thing –
Inspiring others to pursue
a common vision with you.
It’s very simple. The execution is what makes it so challenging.
It’s sometimes said that managers do things right, and leaders do the right thing. Another popular notion is that you manage things, but you lead people.
What Does Leadership
Mean To You?
Your own approach to leadership will depend on whether you perceive it as a noun (a thing to observe), or a verb (an action you take).
So, where do you stand? What is leadership to you?
When that same question was put to five astonishingly successful leaders, here’s what they said:
“Harnessing the energy and effort of others
to pursue common goals.”
— Phil Blair, Manpower Staffing Services, San Diego
“The ability to take a team of average people and
transform them into superstars.”
— Jonas Falk, OrganicLife, Chicago
“When others follow in word and deed without
being coerced or feeling obligated.”
— Sonny Newman, EE Technologies, Reno
“The art of getting someone else to do something you want
done because that person wants to do it.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President
“Helping others rise to their full potential while
accomplishing the mission and the goals.”
— Bob Mason, RLM Planning and Leadership, Albuquerque
Leadership Is Not
The Same As Power
It’s insightful to see that none of these quotes say anything about firing off high-powered memos, or being a genius, or having a boat-load of charisma.
Nor do they mention power, position or authority as a key to successful leadership.
What that confirms is that leadership isn’t limited to just a chosen few at the top, and it is not a birthright, either.
Most anyone with the confidence, desire and interest can practice and hone great leadership skills.
Leadership Can Come
In fact, what happens most often is that a good deal of leadership comes from the ground up, and from the middle out, in all directions.
Think about an area in your organization that runs and performs very well, and you’ll see examples of this: people at all levels challenging one another and taking charge.
These day-to-day leaders are the people who are truly excited about their work and share that excitement with the people around them. Their energy is contagious and feeds into a higher level of performance by everyone.
There Is A
Leadership skills are like anything else, they take practice and effort to do them well. There are many ingredients that go into being a great leader; like focus, commitment, energy, communication, honesty, inspiration, awareness, accountability, etc.
The key to the recipe is to blend and mix those traits while following this basic, four-step process:
- Create a Vision: The vision doesn’t always have to be large and over-arching, like becoming the best automaker on the planet. It could be becoming the best customer-service unit or sales team your company has ever had – even if just for that one quarter.
- Motive and Inspire: Why would others want to do this with you? Do they care about their work? Do they care about themselves? What is their personal/professional stake to want to do better?
- Manage the Vision: Once you have sold the people around you on the idea that the effort is worthwhile, you must prove that to them, each step of the way, as you make progress. Also, show those not directly involved in the effort why what you are doing matters to them, too.
- Coaching the Team: Leaders do not create followers, they create more leaders. When you build up the individual, the team takes care of itself.
Here are some of the great things you can find in this Leadership report:
Download a free PDF version of The ResourcefulManager’s Guide to Leadership