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Defining Leadership

 

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Quotes | My definition | See also

 

 

What is leadership? It is a question asked by many and answered by a few.

Quotes

Here's what some others have said about leadership:

"Leadership is like the abominable snowman, whose footprints are everywhere, but is nowhere to be seen." - Warren Bennis

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." - Dwight Eisenhower 

"Leadership is example. That's all leadership is." -- Professor Aidan Halligan

"Influencing people - by providing purpose, direction, and motivation - while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization."  -- US Army Manual

My definition

It's easy to define something with a long list, trying to define what the leader does. It's a greater challenge to keep it terse. Here's my bumper sticker.

"A person who has followers"

Followership, by the way, is voluntary. The leader thus persuades others to follow. Any other method is not leading.

Of course it does not mean the leader is a nice person or achieves anything specific. But consider the word: by definition, leading requires following, just as black requires white.

Another definition could be:

"A person who motivates others to think and act in desired ways."

To get others to follow, whether ideologically or practically, you need to motivate them. In other words, leadership is all about changing minds.

See also

Leadership vs. Management, Followership

 

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