Client Question: How do you define leadership?
This is a question that I get a lot from clients. The formal definition of leadership from Business Dictionary.com is: establishing a clear vision, sharing that vision with others so that they will follow willingly, providing the information, knowledge and methods to realize that vision, and
coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders. If you put “CEO leadership definition” into Google, you will get almost 24 million results back. Part of the reason is that most people define leadership for themselves in different ways.
Some people define it by characteristics of leadership and what they find to be important. Others will look at the qualities or traits of leadership to establish what they view to be effective or needed for success. The truth is there is no one right answer. You need to answer this for yourself. There are various ways to do this, but here are a couple of suggestions:
- What are the qualities of the leaders that you respect and admire?
- Look at the definitions of leadership that you find in articles, books, google searches. Do any of those words resonate with you?
- What words would you use when you think of yourself as a leader?
- What words would you want others to use when they describe you?
- Who do you successfully work for now or in the past that you would like to emulate?
When I went through this exercise, this is the definition that I came up with for myself:
Leadership to me is being authentic to who you are and your values, creating a vision, inspiring your team to do what they don’t know is possible, motivating them to accomplish great outcomes, leveraging your influence and developing future leaders.
Now take the list of words that you came up with and put together a definition for yourself. You can choose to share it with your team so they know what you value in a leader. You may not even possess all of those traits yet, but they can be part of your development plan this year. How will you develop yourself to reach that definition? As you are developing and transforming as a leader, it may impact how you define leadership. It may change for you as you progress in your career. Review it every year and make changes if you find that there are new ways you want to be seen as a leader.
Have you joined the Creating Leadership Connections Facebook Group? It is a great group of leaders from various industries. They support each other’s leadership by sharing insights to help leaders grow, answering questions and building a stronger network. Do you know someone else who may want to join? Feel free to invite them with this link or they can use www.creatingleadershipconnections.com.