What is leadership?
Nancy Kaur
10 June 2021

Peter Drucker suggests that leadership is about shifting a person’s vision to high sights, raising a person’s performance to a higher standard, and building a personality beyond its normal limitations.

Here are other leadership quotes.  What definitions resonate with you and your leadership perspective?

Leadership can be described as the ability to persuade others willingly to behave differently. It is the process of influencing people – getting them to do their best to achieve the desired result. It involves developing and communicating a vision for the future, motivating people, and securing their engagement. Other definitions (there are many) include:

  • Bennis and Nanus (1985: 17) Leadership is: ‘the capacity to translate intentions into reality and sustain it’.
  • Dixon (1994: 214) ‘Leadership is no more than exercising such an influence upon others that they tend to act in concert towards achieving a goal which they might not have achieved so readily had they been left to their own devices.’
  • Buchanan and Huczynski (2007: 696) Leadership is: ‘the process of influencing the activities of an organised group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement’.
  • Goleman (2000: 78) ‘A leader’s singular job is to get results.’

Do these definitions of leadership span across into your personal experience?  And have you had any leaders who have lived up to these statements?

Throughout my career, I have experienced a diverse leadership cohort.  I have worked for and worked with many people who have fallen short of these aspirational statements.  On the other hand, I have had the privilege to work with some professionals who continue to inspire me to pursue my leadership behaviour.

So, where do we start to craft our leadership position?  I like to start with core values.  For me, core values are about understanding what you value; knowing your cause.  Considering, what is your brand?  Shaping my brand begins with my personal values. Here are some of my deliberations:

  • Do everything to the best of your ability. Be intelligent, committed, trustworthy, get the job done, and be compassionate,
  • People and relationship matter.  Support your team. Build your team.  Have the hard conversations when necessary? And do participate in gossip.
  • Be genuine.  Be yourself. Be authentic, and remember,
  • Reputation takes a long time to build but only moments to destroy.

Work to your strengths

Character strengths are the personality characteristics that make you authentic, unique and feel engaged.  These are difference tot skills, talents, interests, or resources.  They are the real you or who you are at your core. When you are using your strengths, you enter the ‘flow’.  Research shows that ‘flow’ builds mental health and resilience. More ‘flow’ is beneficial to your leadership approach. Go back to your strengths when you feel low in confidence.  These are the things you can know about yourself.  However, if you would like to explore your strengths further, here is a short survey that could help to reveal hidden strengths that you can explore: VIA strengths survey: http://www.viacharacter.org/www

Work at your own pace

Remember, life is not a competition.  There is no standard time for promotion. Build your career by supporting others.  Celebrate the success of others.  Here are two pieces of advice that I have come to realise later in my leadership question.

  1. Go for the job, not the level.
  2. Choose the leader, not the job.

Finally, it is healthy to be ambitious but try to enjoy the journey of learning to develop your leadership capability.  Be true to yourself. The concept of a leader is synonymous with our working life. However, there are many influential leaders who inspire us in our community (coaches in sport, religious leaders, yoga teachers, exercise teachers).  There are even political leaders that have supported and protected us as national and international citizens. What qualities do you admire the most?  Would you weave these into your own leadership practice?

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