What is Leadership Anyway?

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People have been asking this question and coming up with various definitions for centuries. What is leadership anyway? It’s a simple question but there are more definitions in more books that would take you a lifetime to read.


I have asked myself too, what is leadership? I think back to my time in the Marines where I was a member of different teams with exceptional leaders. Each of them had a quality about them that made you want to follow and you felt comfortable and secure in doing so.

So What Is Leadership?

Thinking back on a few of the leaders that I was associated with, I realize that each of them had these very specific qualities.

1. They understood the mission. If you are going to be a great leader in the Marines you have to know the mission inside and out. Every aspect of it has to be embedded into your entire existence. One mistake in combat is all it takes to lose your life and those of your team members.

2. Leaders communicated the mission. Each leader whether a fireteam leader, a sergeant or an officer understood that you have to communicate with your team to insure they understood the mission; the goal, the big picture. They had a unique ability to communicate.

3. They knew how to execute. Once everybody fully understood the mission and each team member knew his exact responsibilities and how they fit in with accomplishing the mission, they would execute. They would execute the precise plans laid out in the planning of the mission to achieve the desired results. No exceptions.

That to me answers the question “what is leadership” with simplicity. I was reading an article on Forbes about leadership and found the writer’s definition near what you just read.

The article by Kevin Kruse made four points as to what leadership is not. Very insightful and thoughtful to the point that it really gets you to thinking.

  • Leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company.
  • Leadership has nothing to do with titles.
  • Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes.
  • Leadership isn’t management.

Kevin went on to give a definition of what is leadership that pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.

In other words, a great leader has influence over the team members by communicating the mission, insuring each person knows his duty and what must be done to accomplish the goal.

A great leader builds the team by bringing each member together with a well laid out plan and then executes the plan achieving the desired results.

How do those qualities of leadership stack up with you?


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