A pretty simple question, “what is leadership” but can you answer it? There are several different versions to defining leadership and in this piece, we will discuss methods whereby you can define as to what leadership is and what leadership is not.
What It Isn’t:
1. Leadership Is Not Seniority Nor The Capacity Of Sitting In Upper Echelons Of Organization:
You cannot associate leadership with someone’s designation in the organizational structure. They may be the top brass or senior executives but are not leaders. The trait of leadership just doesn’t come to you overnight but rather is a process of dozen of sleepless nights. It may come to you as part of higher pay grade but not always.
It comes to you when you decide to learn the tricks of the trade and lead by example first before asking someone else to follow in those footsteps and that is how you register your imprint as a leader in an organization or anywhere else.
2. Leadership Does Not Reside In Company Titles:
The C-levels can command leadership but the title does not qualify you as a leader by default. Therefore, leadership has less to do with titles and more with what you can do to bring change in your neighborhood, place of worship, and family without the need for a title.
3. Leadership Ability Is Not Built-In And Does Not Prevail Just Because Of Certain Characteristics:
Leadership is also not the trait an individual possesses. You would imagine that a person with charismatic and overpowering personality will be considered a leader automatically, no sir, that is not true. To us, people like Abraham Lincoln comes to mind when discussing leadership but what we fail to realize is that leadership is not an adjective.
When we speak of Bill Gates, he is a leader too you know but since he does not exhibit extroverted traits and is a declared introvert we don’t consider him one, knowingly how he shaped the future of computers by bringing us Windows OS. Thus, what we can conclude is that extroversion is not a measuring stick for becoming a leader. It’s a myth.
4. It Ain’t Management Either:
This is perhaps the BIG one. We are often taught in our schools that leadership and management go hand in hand which is clearly not the case. It is called good management and not leadership. A leader can be a good manager but not all managers can be leaders. That is where the distinction arises.
If you can plan, organize, coach, control people, and stuff – excellent. Though sorry to break it to you but that doesn’t make you a leader. If you look closely, a manager is merely managing things. On the other hand, a leader is one who leads people, who have followers and they follow him of their own accord.
What Is It Then?
In simple terms, it is whereby you exert social influence and in the process contribute to the efforts of others so that they can align themselves with your goal and strive to achieve it.
The key takeaways from this definition are:
- It is not about authority rather it deals in exhibiting social influence.
- Leadership requires others to work in conjunction so that it can be exercised. There is nothing like subordinates to a leader.
- There are just ways to portray leadership or it can be a number of styles but the definition makes no mention of personality traits/attributes and/or titles. Effective leadership does not stem from personality traits and organizational titles.
- Although, leadership is about influence but not without a goal in sight. It is not leadership if the influence is for nothing.
So leadership can be understood in light of the following aspects.
For leadership to prevail, it is imperative that trust is present. When the team put its trust in you as the leader, their dedication to achieving goals is enhanced. There shouldn’t be any communication gap between the leader and his followers. This gives way to free flow of ideas resulting in creativity and productivity.
We all have “action speaks louder than words”. This is true for a leader. He backs up his words instead of just saying them because he not there to win a popularity contest. First, act yourself and then expect other to follow suit which is an essential aspect of leadership.
Perspective means seeing the bigger picture. Your critiques and even your followers, at times, will doubt you but you have the bigger picture in mind and you know these small setbacks cannot distract you from achieving the ultimate objective, whatever that may be.
4. Risk Taking:
A leader has a lot riding on him and it is for him to ascertain the situation to the best of his ability (of course must welcome consultation with his peers) and go for it. The action is outcome driven but risk taking ability is like throwing caution to the wind. You don’t what will come out of it. The risk if pays off can present itself with a great number of opportunities.
Above were some way where you can identify and distinguish between leadership and management.
Bramwell Osula is a management consultant and holds MBA degree from a reputable institute. He loves to travel and in his leisure time writes with the intent of education his audience. You can contact him for essay service by following him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.