Many people have their own opinion of Leadership and who should or should not be considered a leader. This also is true for the “who” should be developed and kept out of leadership. Of course I have my own opinions (that’s why I write). In listening to HR Happy Hour – Episode 35 “The Leadership Show”, I agreed and disagreed with many opinions. That’s the great thing about an opinion is that everyone has one. The even better thing about an opinion is either you can CHOOSE to agree/disagree and learn or question your own predetermined beliefs on any topic.

The problem with a “definition…”

…is that there are so many definitions. No different in defining leadership. Leadership has become such a trendy topic that it is used in resumes, company programs, webinars, and interventions. Often I hear the thought that “We are all leaders” or “You can be a leader.” Umm ok. I do not firmly believe this, but I do believe that many people (given the right framework, personality and personal will) have a potential to lead.

Some definitions of Leadership

Here are a few of the current and well respected ideas/definitions of leadership from people much smarter than I.

Function: noun 1 : the office or position of a leader; 2 : capacity to lead 3 : the act or an instance of leading — Merriam-Webster On-line

My definition of a leader . . . is a man who can persuade people to do what they don’t want to do, or do what they’re too lazy to do, and like it. Harry S. Truman, 33rd President

The definition of leadership is influence. John Maxwell

Leadership is the art to of influencing and directing people in such a way that will win their obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in achieving common objectives.” — U. S. Air Force

The feminine leadership style emphasizes cooperation over competition; intuition as well as rational thinking in problem solving, team structures where power and influence are shared within the group . . . interpersonal competence; and participative decision making.  Marilyn Loden

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.” — Henry Ford

“A manager takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to.”  Rosalyn Carter

Not a Pretender: Now I don’t pretend to be as smart as these people and I’m pretty smart (Just talk with me and you’ll agree ha, I’m joking)! I haven’t written any New York Times best sellers and yet to become a historical figure, having my own thoughts and quotes be used as a cornerstone to measure or carve out concepts and ideas. However, I have had my share of experiences. What my experience tells me is that CONTEXT is everything. Leadership should be considered and dependent on the situation, environment, organization and people. It is subjective.

The beauty and problem with a definition, is that it often attempts to lock terms, people, places, events, and concepts in time; trapping the idea from being able to evolve. If we treated people like this, then they would be doing one thing and only one thing for the rest of their lives. Not cool. We as humans evolve. We change and adjust with our environment. Some things in our lives are concrete but overall from the time we were born we have lived a life of chaotic change. How weird would it be if we did not evolve… kind of like a baby head with an adult body (no one would ever ask you out).

Evolution: Leadership is an “Idea”golf evolution card p1375109059074449877gq6 425 Thing about Leadership… One Size does not fit all

Humans evolve. Because the practice of Leadership is so closely aligned with our humanity, the definition and idea of it must also evolve with us. In that, Leadership is an idea. Our ideas evolve and change.

Leadership… a Belief?

To some Leadership is a belief. They practice and perfect the way they present their belief. Preach on whether you are born with it or can learn to be. They focus on individual criteria and competency tests. The problem with a belief is that beliefs often do not change. They are sometimes locked like stone into our psyche – like religion or politics.

Bottom Line: One Size will not fit all.

Jennifer V Miller has a nice summary of free resources available on Leadership so you can review and formulate your own idea. However, we all have our own beliefs, an idea on what a Leader is and what they should be. Regardless of how you may feel, be willing to engage, listen and research. Be willing to challenge yourself and evolve. Before any of us were experts at anything we were idiots on everything. Don’t be an idiot!

So what do you think, any ideas or hardcore beliefs?

My intent was not to give a definition but to simply discuss that there is not necessarily a right or wrong. But I could be right… or maybe I’m wrong… or… never mind.



Powered by Facebook Comments