‘Leadership is at its best when its vision is strategic, the voice persuasive and the results tangible. In the study of leadership, an exact definition is not essential but guiding concepts are needed’. Useem1
Definition of Leadership
Establishing a single definition of leadership has its challenges: * Leadership has many contexts: from political, military, business, sports and culture, right through every level and section of society, our communities and families * We all have our individual experiences and expectations of leadership: from vision and inspiration to serving others or power and control * Views on what effective leadership is have evolved over time e.g. from issuing orders to inspiring and empowering * Successful leadership is defined by the situation e.g. Winston Churchill is not viewed as a particularly successful peacetime leader. Also, it is often remarked that the leadership styles and strengths of CEOs employed in a crisis to ‘turnaround’ failing organizations are very different to those needed to grow them. At its most basic, leadership in an organization can be defined as influencing others to achieve the organization’s goals and deliver its vision. Many writers have observed however, that in order to inspire and motivate people to achieve these goals, the goals themselves need to be viewed as ‘worthwhile’ or for some greater purpose. Delivering the organization’s goals needs to deliver a benefit to customers, the Leadership - What is leadership?
Leadership is not an end in itself, but a means to bring out the best in people, to inspire and motivate them to commit their energies, skills and talents to delivering the organization’s vision. As leadership is focused on the Vision it is all about the 'future' focus. Leadership seeks to find new opportunities for individuals and the organization to be a success in the future . That might mean dealing first with very difficult situations that threatened survival today. In tackling those threats leadership still seeks to create the better future and seize opportunities. As leadership tackles community or society that is viewed as worthwhile. Define the future it needs to empower and harness the capability and potential of the people and other resources which can come together to make that future. To make the future and vision a reality and create and siee new opportunities leadership is about delivering successful and useful change. In all of that a key message is that leadership is all about behaviours that take the people and organisation to a new future. In making change work Leadership influences the behaviour and actions of others. Modern views of leadership have moved away from influence using authority, position, command and control, to a focus on influencing by: * Relating to and connecting with people
* Building trust
* Motivating, inspiring and empowering people
* Creating a compelling vision of the future
* Communicating that vision in a way that builds commitment to it * Role modelling honesty and integrity.
One important footnote here is to recognise that Leadership is a set of competencies and should not be thought as a particular personality trait or perceived charisma. Leadership and Management
It is very important to get to grips with the fact that Leadership is different from Management. Quite simply they are not the same. Unfortunately common language and parlance in business and the use of organisational titles like 'Leader' and 'Manager' add to the confusion about Leadership itself and Management itself. This means than when looking to improve your 'leadership' or 'management' skills and capabilities you must first stop using the terms as 'the same thing' or interchangeably and recognise differences. This differentiation allows you to focus to the specifics needed to enhance capability and performance in each...