It is not an easy task to define leadership and come up with a one size fits all leadership definition, despite the vast amount of research and information on the subject.
There are many great leaders in the world today and yet they can be very different in their style and way of working. Which makes it hard to know where to start, if you want to develop your leadership skills!
So what is a Leader? We do know that leaders inspire others and are good communicators. They quickly appraise situations and the relationships involved. They know when to act quickly and when it is better to involve others in decision making. (Learn more about collaborative decision making). Good leaders work to their strengths and have their own, distinctive leadership style.
For example, if a business is losing money, then someone with a more authoritative leadership style is necessary. This requires an individual who is not afraid to make fast, sometimes painful decisions and whose ability to steer a path forward is respected by others.
If a business is stagnant, then someone with a facilitative leadership style which involves others, encourages creativity and fosters change will be effective.
A leadership definition is further complicated by the fact that a good leader is like a chameleon; he or she will change their approach depending on the situation.
Good leaders tend to be very perceptive and aware of the needs of the business and its employees. They find out when to direct and when to delegate to employees. When involved in a project, they place more emphasis on the relationships of those involved to achieve results, than on projections and timelines.
To create a definition of a leader, become aware of the types of leaders that you most admire both at work and elsewhere. What are their qualities? How do they behave differently to those in a strictly management role?
And remember that good leaders are not always found in high places. I once worked for a company where important decisions were discussed with someone in a low level of management. He had the ability to inspire others and instinctively knew how to approach people to get the best response.
Having a greater awareness of the traits of good leaders will allow you to develop your own definition of what is leadership. Build these traits into your own style of working to make a real difference to your leadership in the workplace.
And finally, here are some leadership quotes to think about:
Leadership is like beauty; it's hard to define, but you know it when you see it.- Warren Bennis
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.- John Maxwell
Click on Leadership Theories to read about the work of John Adair and Tannenbaum and Schmidt.
Click on Leadership Characteristics to read about leadership attributes and traits.
Click on Leadership versus Management to find out about the manager vs. leader debate.
Click on Leadership Styles to learn about transformational and situational leadership theories.
Click on Facilitative Leadership to find out about how to engage and motivate employees.
Click on Leadership Training to avail of our proven programme for building awareness and developing skills in your leaders.
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