How do you define leadership?
Over the years I’ve used several definitions of leadership. Here’s one to consider: Leadership is the ability to help people and organizations surpass themselves. Leaders enable others to be better than they’ve ever been, and take their organizations to places they’ve never been.
The acid test of leadership: are your people and/or organization better as a result of your leadership?
And here’s a question to test your leadership abilities: if you were stripped of your title as well as any ability to reward or punish the people who work for you, could you still get results with them? You can define leaders somewhat in simple words. Managers have power over people; leaders have power with people. Management is a function of position, while leadership is a function of skill. Before anyone can lead others, however, he or she must first master him- or herself. Personal leadership, therefore, is the ability to surpass yourself–your previous performance and accomplishments. It’s about getting better at what you do no matter how good you become. Make positive change and growth–in yourself and others–your primary leadership objective. First master self, and then learn the skills of achieving power with people.
To do: As an exercise, write your own personal definition of leadership. How is it similar to the definitions cited above? How is it different?