For many people, the definition of leadership is misunderstood; the terms “manager” and “leader” apparently being synonymous. Indeed in the business world, they are often used interchangeably: “team leader”, “team manager”, “project manager” and so on.
In some instances, there do seem to be commonalities between the two and management techniques are sometimes confused with leadership traits. However, there are some key distinctions that radically separate the two.
The Definition of Leadership
There is a steady flow of information in the form of books, articles, white papers and training all in the context of “what is the definition of leadership” or “how to develop a leader”?.
If you ask yourself and others the question, what is it about the definition of leadership that makes better leadership to make a difference? the answer will most likely be because better leadership creates high performing teams with strong sense of personal and collective power.
Better leadership makes a difference because it creates a workplace where morale is high, employees are satisfied and committed to high standards of productivity resulting in high profits.
So, how does this definition of leadership achieve those differences? It does so with an exceptional Leader who influences employees to give their best effort and who inspires employees to feel proud, trustworthy, committed and focused.
So my definition of leadership includes: Leaders are constantly innovating and challenging the “status quo” to achieve bigger and better things.
- The leader is never satisfied with the “status quo” or “the way we’ve always done it”. Leaders are constantly asking for more and bigger things – of themselves as well as those they lead.
- Within my definition of leadership, Leaders know how to tap into the inherent strengths of those they lead and then foster those strengths to the benefit of the organization.
- Leaders both have an innate sense of their own worth and yet are are always in the process of developing other leaders. Read here about how managers become great leaders
- The leader takes the time to explain why certain steps are crucial to the desired result. In doing so, the leader is also imparting his “vision” to those that help make that vision a reality.
- Leaders aren’t afraid to try new, and even unorthodox, methods to achieve optimum results underlining my definition of leadership.
My definition of leadership can be expanded into situational leadership or transactional leadership but whichever way you look at it, If you want to know if you are truly a leader or not, look around at your team.
Do they follow you because they want to? Because they are inspired by you? Because they believe in you? Or do they follow you because they have to?
He who thinks he is leading, but has no one following is only taking a walk. – John Maxwell ” 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”
A leader should learn to overcome other’s people barriers when delivering a message. There are three basic rules to achieve this goal: be clear in your mind, deliver the message in plain language and make sure that the idea has been understood.
Even within the definition of leadership, cultural differences can make it difficult for some people to communicate or negotiate effectively.
Germans and Nordics are more restrained in gesture than many Latin nations, while Americans and Australians can say exactly what they mean. A “be yourself” approach can work – there is no better marketing than telling the truth.
Be honest, but not impolite. Do not try to be anyone else or copy another person’s style.
In the Definition of Leadership Theories In 1960, Douglas McGregor described two behavioural theories, “Theory X” and “Theory Y”, in his book “The Human Side of Enterprise”.
Theory X represents the idea of ruling by controlling, the so-called “stick and carrot” philosophy of management. According to Freud people are naturally lazy and need to be controlled or punished in order to work effectively. Some managers do believe these affirmations.
In the modern society such approaches lead nowhere: employees get frustrated, feel uncomfortable at work, tend to introvert, perform just because they are afraid of some consequences and not because they are motivated.
As long as this theory influences managers, the real potential of an employee will remain hidden.
McGregor’s Theory Y gives prominence to communication and human interrelations. Managers who create a harmonious working environment motivate workers.
The idea is that a satisfied team will achieve goals faster and more proficient than a frustrated, fearful team. Adepts of the Theory Y give confidence to their followers, know how to listen and how to reward them and support initiative and creativity.
The individual and organizational goals can be integrated. This is the kind of approach the modern society longs for. People need to be respected and valued for what and who they are.
Employees are the backbone of any organization. They, not you, make things work. They, not you, find creative solutions to complex problems. And they, not you, ultimately hold the key to your own personal success. Within my definition of leadership you are judged by your ability to develop, lead, and maintain strong teams that put the goals of the company ahead of their personal goals. And that only happens to employees who are inspired by, and trust in their leader.
You do not lead by hitting people over the head — that’s assault, not leadership. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) – Thirty- fourth President of the USA
Why is it that we hear about so many oppressive work environments, where the bosses belittle their employees, use the whip to produce results, and then discard anyone who questions their orders?
Within my definition of leadership, when I read or hear about “leaders” telling their employees that they “are lucky to have jobs at all”, I cringe. For in reality, those are not leaders. Those are just the caretakers of companies that do not truly value their most precious asset …. the employees. These “leaders” violate the principles of value-based leadership and will soon discover that their lack of true leadership, their lack of vision and hope, will result in their being abandoned when things improve.