What Is Leadership? 10 Ways To Define It
What is leadership? Each of us believe we have a good idea about what it means to be a good leader, but when it comes to defining the concept, the picture is not so clear. For some, leadership is motivation, for others, it equals results and it can also represent inspiration.
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Anyway, we can define leadership based on common elements that we can all agree on. Here are 10 ways to define the art of leading:
1. Vision of a leader
Leading means having a vision and sharing it with others. Only when you get to inspire others, it is possible to share a common goal towards which to direct the efforts and dedication of the entire team. What is your vision? Your vision must be bold and ambitious. You need to aim high. Creating a vision is quite complicated and will require to take your team and define your company 10 years from now. Will you be able to dominate your sector? Will you be able to create a leading company in your sector? Being a leader a create a vision requires time.
Vision is not a pitch
Vision is not your pitch. Vision is something more philosophical. Is “why we are here”, “why we work”, “what are our goals”.
Vision is a slide in your pitch, but your pitch deck needs more information.
Some examples of “vision” from leading companies:
Honest Tea: To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages
Ikea: To create a better everyday life for the many people
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A leader knows how to motivate better than anyone else; it is one of their main functions as people managers. Through motivation, a leader channels their coworkers energy and professional potential in order to achieve objectives. This is a very important feature in a leader. You need to talk to your team, ask them questions, let them talk, listen and understand what they need. Leading is not about talking and giving orders, is about listening and creating the perfect environment for each one in your team.
For motivation it is very important to have goals and targets. If everyone can review their goals and targets by themselves you will have a constant motivation for your team. Make your data transparent and accesible to everyone. Transparency is a great tool for motivation.
3. Serving as a leader
The leader is at the service of the team, and not the other way around. Group members must have and feel the support of their leader, the tools needed to do their jobs properly must be available to them, they must have recognition for their efforts and know that there is a person paying attention in order to correct bad habits. That is all part of a leadership which serves the team, and not the opposite.
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One of the basic qualities of any leader seeking success is precisely emotional intelligence, that ability – often innate – that makes leaders put themselves in the place of others, understand their concerns and solve problems. Leaders know the secrets of their businesses and therefore can empathize with customers and members of their teams: that empathy gets to inspire and establish links that will ultimately lead to success.
The definition of leadership also has to do with creativity. Good leaders are able to create an environment that will encourage all the members of their team to develop their skills and imagination, so that they can contribute to the common project and vision of the company. If you want to lead successfully, respect the creativity of others and learn from the people around you; their ideas will surely prove to be positive for you.
A good leader sets the bar high for their people, because they want to reach the goals and bring the best ou of their teams. Only a demanding leader will achieve great results. In addition to this thoroughness, the leader must know how to listen, in order to know the needs of the people, and then provide the necessary time and resources for them to do their job properly, and therefore meet what is demanded of them.
7. Managing as a leader
The leader must be at the forefront to lead and guide their team throughout the whole process until the goal is reached. But besides being that “torchbearer”, leaders also know when to step back and make their team take the initiative. In this way, the team gets the chance to develop, both personally and professionally. Pure management focuses on the tasks, real leadership focuses on the people.
8. Team building
True leadership is about working in a team to reach a common goal. People management is one of the most difficult tasks faced by leaders. Thanks to the positive attitude, essential in good leaders, and the trust in their workmates, people get better results. Team-aware leaders take responsibility when something is wrong, and reward the group after a job well done.
It may interest you: 10 Leadership Tips To Manage Every Type Of Team
9. Taking risks
The leader is the one responsible for taking the risks that others are not willing to take. They are confident enough to make a decision, and if they make a mistake, the leader must have the courage to rectify, assume their guilt and take the right path, without blaming it on the team. Good leaders know how to get ahead of their time, they see opportunities where others can’t and know how to spread the enthusiasm for their vision to try to make it real.
True leadership seeks continuous improvement. Leaders have the ability to turn the people in their teams into stars, people who have improved and developed their skills through the influence of their leader.
In short, the definition of leadership has nothing to do with the hierarchy or anyone’s position within the company; it has nothing to do with imposing views but its about listening to those who know. Leadership is the attitude assumed by those looking for something different, who are committed to achieving a goal and whose conviction they manage to transmit to others through enthusiasm and optimism in order to reach a common goal.
A questions from you about leadership
Is a manager a leader?
- A manager is someone who executes a plan designed by the leader.
- A leader can start with a team who directly work with her / him.
- If the team grows, the leader can create “teams” and each team will have a leader on its own. Each team leader will be a manager.
If you have questions about leadership, send it. We will be happy to help you. You can use our chat channel for that.
Updated: December 2019.
Test yourself as a leader – online
- Do you have a vision for your company?
- Do you know how to motivate your team?
- You can do this test to evaluate yourself as a leader.
- This is a free test you can do on your own to evaluate yourself as a test. In this test you will need to reply freely to some questions about leadership. There are no right or wrong replies. You need to talk about your team, company and how do you manage it. To be a leader you need to evaluate yourself and talk about your day to day.
- Please contact us if you have more questions.
Updated: November 2019.
We are reading the amazing book “Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of Salesforce.com” by Aaron Ross, Marylou Tyler and we have a very cool definition about leadership:
6 Responsibilities of a Manager. A no-nonsense management model:
- Choose people carefully. Interview, test and listen.
- Set expectations and vision – Goals, metrics and constant updates.
- Remove obstacles – Find the best tools. Cut out the bureaucracy.
- Inspire your people – Training, mentoring, coaching.
- Work for your people – They do not work for you. You work for them.
- Improve it next time.
We think this is a very good list to have in your “to-do” as a leader. The book is amazing and if you are managing a team or a project, you must read it. There is a chapter all about “training your team”.
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What is leadership for you?
Related post: How to Be a Good Leader