What is Leadership? It Depends


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Why is it that we don’t have a single, clear perspective of leadership that means the same thing to everyone?

Google has a simple, standard, technical definition. “The action of leading a group of people or an organization.” Definitions are also available through Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, answers.com, Merriam-Webster and a myriad of others. These technical definitions lack context about leadership. We often ask “What is leadership?” because we want to know how to be a good leader and these answers don’t answer that.

You can lead many different ways. That’s why there’s thousands of books on the topic covering the vast array of perspectives. And when I ask trusted individuals “What is leadership?” I get varied responses. There’s also always a pause or audible sigh that precedes most answers. That pause or sigh tells me that leadership is very personal to each of us. Personal because everyone needs to follow a leader at some point and we often remember how that leader made us feel.

So, what is leadership and how do I be a better leader? The ability to really understand, comprehend and get leadership varies based on your DNA, your past life experiences. Understanding where you are today will help you identify where to focus to be a better leader.

Leadership is knowing who you are. Your ability to understand the meaning of leadership grows as you understand who you are. You have a set of interests, abilities, and characteristics that are hard wired within. And that’s ok. Be self-aware of what you’re good at, what you’re interested in and what gives you energy. You’ll be able to better identify what aspects of leadership you should seek out, embrace and hold on to as well as what aspects of leadership you should shy away from and avoid.

Leadership is learned as life happens to you. Your ability to understand the meaning of leadership grows as life experiences happen to you. Mimic the leadership traits you find appealing in others as they happen. Avoid those that you don’t. The quickest way to learn about an aspect of leadership is to make a mistake. As long as you learn from it, you can try a different approach that works for you.

Find a leadership mentor. Check out this great guide about leadership mentoring.

I invite you to list your biggest leadership mistake and what you learned from it in the comment section below.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ryan McKeever
Ryan McKeever is Head of Marketing at Aveus, a global strategy and operational change firm. Ryan holds a plethora of perspectives including: corporate marketer, advertising agency professional and small business owner.


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