Definition of Leadership

You may be confused about leadership, or what is expect from a leader, or even shy away from using the word, because there are tons of descriptions for leadership but very few good definitions I’d say. Over the last years I came across two definitions that are very similar and that I find particularly enlightening:

One definition sounds like: Leadership is a process of connecting to what matters, envisioning what could be, and taking action to bring that vision to life. When you care about that enough to ask others to work with you and you effectively collaborate with others to co-create a new future, then you’re leading. (source: Amanda Blake, Your Body is Your Brain, 2018).

Another, maybe more business-like definition : Leadership is a process that involves setting a purpose and direction which inspires people to combine and work towards willingly; paying attention to the quality of progress towards the aim; and upholding group unity and individual effectiveness throughout (source: James Scouller, The Three Levels of Leaderhip, 2011)

There are some clear implications from these definitions, that point to what to work on as a leader:

  • Leadership is a relational process. Thus your capacity as leader stems from your personal and interpersonal qualities and those are uniquely you.
  • Leadership and management are different – with leadership being more inspirational, connected to purpose and direction – yet they are not necessarily done by different people. On the contrary. Leading without administring may be a daydream, managing without leadership is uninspiring for the others and a lot less effective for the group.
  • Leadership is not the leader. The role of the leader is to make sure there is leadership.
  • Leadership is a process…it’s bigger than the leader. Leadership doesn’t have to sit with one person. Anyone in a group can exert leadership at some point and related to some part of the vision, the group, the individuals or the progress.

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