But what exactly is leadership? Why is it important, and how does being a leader help you in your quest for success?
According to Webster’s dictionary, leadership is 1. the office or position of a leader, 2. the capacity to lead, or 3. the act or instance of leading.
None of these three definitions are very exciting or give much information or insight as to what leadership is so I’ve created some new definitions of my own that are a bit more focused on success.
1. Leadership is an intangible ability to provide direction to a group of individuals working toward a common goal.
When leading, you have to possess the ability to provide direction to an entire group of people. You have to not only provide direction, but you have to give them insight and have the respect of the group for them to be willing to follow you, so ultimately, they can reach that end goal.
2. Leadership is setting a new direction or vision for a group that they willingly follow.
The key word in that sentence is willingly. The difference between a dictator and leader is that a dictator commands people to follow, forces people to do what they want, when they want and how they want. Whereas, a leader sets a direction or creates a vision and the group as a whole will naturally follow the leader to the end.
3. Leadership is causing change to happen through working with other people.
Leaders focus on doing things differently. As a leader, you have to look at the situation, see what needs to change, and cause that change to happen by rolling up your sleeves and working with other people. The operative word in that sentence is with. The dictator will command people to work, and the leader will lead by example. They’ll climb in the ditches and get their hands dirty. They’ll do the work they require others to do.
4. Leadership is about developing an intentional process to foster change by influencing others.
It goes back to the whole idea of seeing what needs to be changed, setting a course to change it and influencing others to take the steps necessary to make that change.
In simple terms, leadership is having the courage to take the responsibility of creating, communicating, directing and carrying out functions that lead toward success. If you wish to become successful, start working towards these new definitions of leadership and grow these leadership qualities.