In order to properly provide you with the leadership definition we will start from a high level and work our way into the details. Sorry if you are looking for a dictionary type leadership definition! So, let's start if you're still with us?
At a very high level, Leadership is defined by the ability of a person to motivate and inspire a group of people to achieve a common set objective.
A definition of leadership must also bring the social influence dimension that the leader will use to ensure that he gets the support from his or her team members, perhaps even others, in order to achieve their common mission. We discuss in more details this phenomenon of Social Influence in What is a Leader. In a way, this social influence is like capturing the minds of others! Yes I know, your thinking that it's like some form of mind control, which in a way it is, but the term mind control really brings a negative connotation to it, which a leader will only degrade himself or herself to that level and will only use to encourage and motivate every group members to aid and assist in the success of the group or the organization. If he or she does use the social influence in a negative way, the group members will very quickly pick up on it and will no longer grant him or her status of leader! Remember, leadership is perceived within your behaviors, but your power to influence is given to you! As a side note, there a good conversation on What to do if you already lost your employees trust? give it a read it's quite an interesting conversation.
To further our leadership definition we might also add the fact that the leader should be a role model to his or her members. In fact, the best way to understand your team member is to at one time or another to have been in their footsteps and remember what it's like! There's a saying that says "To be a good leader is to be a good follower." That's because you can only truly understand what they are experiencing if you, yourself have experienced it! Of course, you don't need to have lived every single experience they did, but you need to have enough experience being a follower to be able to accurately generalize their emotional state. Use your active listening skills to confirm and perhaps fine tune your understanding of their individual emotional statuses. Again, remember that you can't solve what you don't know!
In fact, being passionate to, and understanding your staff is perhaps the most important characteristics that you, as a leader, can express to build a mutual beneficial relationship with your team members. Expressing those characteristics will ensure that you positively influence your team members in the way that you will earn their respect, they will feel inspired and they will be motivated to do their tasks to the best of their abilities and even from time to time go reach performance level that they didn't even know they could!
A good leadership definition isn't as simple to understand as simply reading a dictionary definition. It's a multi-faceted definition, and the fact is, that we still don't fully understand how to properly define leadership! Some say that true leaders are born with the "leadership" traits and thus are great leaders. Others have provided their definition of leadership and associated the human characteristics that one must possess in order to be a leader. leadership theories and leadership styles are all proven concepts of the difficulty in defining leadership.
A great follow-on article is How to Set your Leadership Vision
Leaders are constantly seeking to exchange their knowledge, because that's how we increase our leadership skills.
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