Tag Archives: what is leadership

the new leader

“If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more and become more,
you are a leader.”    John Quincy Adams

What is a leader?   What is your definition of a leader?  

It seems that there is no one definition that defines what a leader really is that used by everyone.   There are thousands of definitions of a leader.   Some people say a leader is a person of “integrity”.   What does that really mean to you?

A leader has a number of characteristics that define a leader yet within the spectrum of leadership qualities is no one definition that accurately and consistently defines a leader.   Jim Collins the author of “Good to Great” has a definition of a leader and spells out those qualities in his book “Built to Last” lists a number of qualities that make a great leader.  

John Maxwell, America’s authority on leadership speaks of leadership as being “Influence”.   And is influence the hallmark of a great leader?

In this chart are a number of qualities that could be used to define a leader.   If you were to rate a leader on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 = Low need and 10 = high need, how would you rate a great leader?   How would you rate yourself?   What characteristics are critical for a leader to really have?

Most leaders would see themself as being strong in a few elements or even most of the elements.   Is there  a specific combination, or score that makes the leader great?

Even if someone were to score all 10’s on every attribute, that score is a reflection of the scorer’s values not necessarily the score of the leader being evaluated.   A leadership score is a relative score, but relative to what?   That is part of the problem.   Leadership is not defined by some standard that people are measured against, but rather the opinion of others.   It is the person’s own personal definitions of honesty, integrity, compassion or leadership that define a leader.

What makes a great leader in your mind?   How would you score the leader you most admire?  What score would they get?

Joanne Ciulla proposes this definition, “It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.”


what is leadership?

What is leadership to you?   How do you live when you are leading?   How do you lead you?

Ancient wisdom from Tao 17 offers us a good definition of leadership.   There are many others, tons of leadership definitions all trying to explain what leadership is.

Tao 17

The best leaders are those the people hardly know exist.
The next best is a leader who is loved and praised.
Next comes the one who is feared.
The worst one is the leader that is despised.

If you don’t trust the people,
they will become untrustworthy.

The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly.
When she has accomplished her task,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

From http://www.wright-house.com/religions/taoism/tao-te-ching.html#17

Imagine the possibilities if all leaders practiced the kind of leadership expressed in Tao 17.   Leaders have to learn to let go, to shift the control to the people and then let them reach the goal.