Defining Leadership

How Can We Define Leadership

Akhil Shahani asked:

“Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

Peter F. Drucker

Undoubtedly, he’s talking about the leader who walks the path which others fear to tread. So how are these people different from the ordinary? More importantly, do you have what it takes to be a good leader? Read on.

First of all, let us define leadership so that everyone’s on the same page.

Leadership is the process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective. Leaders have vision which they share with others. It is the leader who binds the organization with beliefs, values and knowledge.

Having said all that, there is no single magic mantra. Different organizations, being influenced by their own set of circumstances, will necessarily differ in the way that they define leadership. What is important is to understand that leadership is an art which can be mastered. It calls for you to raise your performance to higher standards and think outside your limitations. The basis of good leadership is character and the willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of the organization. In short, it takes nerve!

Leaders, by definition, set examples for others to follow. But before that happens, they will have to prove their worth. Leaders are constantly being observed by those who are expected to follow and whose respect they must earn. For this reason, integrity and courage define leadership better than any pompous statement!

Leadership is that important element which separates the extraordinary from the run of the mill. If you’re seeking to become a strong leader, you will have to show drive, energy, determination, self-discipline, willpower, and spirit. Only then will you be able to motivate others to overreach themselves.

At this point, you’re probably thinking that anyone can define leadership, and it’s easier said than done. We’ve got a slightly different take on this. We believe everyone can improve their leadership skills, provided they work towards it.

Not convinced yet? OK, let’s play a simple game. Take a few minutes to write down the first ten phrases which, according to you, best define leadership. Come back to the rest of this section after you’re done.

Chances are you’ll find most of your phrases in this list.

? Honesty – That’s a no-brainer. Unreliable behavior on your part will not win trust and respect. Never compromise your ethical standards.

? Proficiency – You can’t expect to teach others if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

? Vision – You need to be able to see ahead of most and set goals for the future.

? Inspiration – The best way to motivate others to reach new heights is to teach them to believe in themselves.

? Intelligence – So what if you’re no Einstein! You can learn from every situation, and from those who have a certain expertise which you might lack. Observe, ask questions and imbibe – that’s what true intelligence is all about.

? Fair-mindedness – Playing favorites is a surefire way to failure as a leader. As a leader, it’s much more important to be fair than be popular.

? Open-mindedness – Don’t dismiss a new idea, just because it hasn’t been tried out before. An open-minded leader is an effective one.

? Boldness – Leadership is not for the fainthearted. You must have the nerve to take calculated risks and with that the ability to stay confident and calm under stress.

? Imagination – Be creative in the way you set new goals, plans and methods.

? Positive attitude – Do not think about failure before it actually arrives. And if it does, take it up as one more challenge. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

? Courage of conviction – It takes courage to deviate from the trodden path. But think of the leaders you look up to. How many of them would be where they are if they hadn’t backed their instincts?

If you pay close attention, you’ll find that each of these can be broken down to a process. And anybody can follow one if they try hard enough. Luckily for us, expert guidance is available in the form of books and other resources

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