Within the world of leadership development, there is nothing more fundamental than how you define leadership.
Fundamentals are the bedrock of good teams and organizations. Look to sports for example. Blocking and tackling in football. Hitting, catching, and running in baseball. Rebounding, dribbling, shooting, and free throws in basketball. Those are all fundamentals.
How you define leadership is also a fundamental.
At Diamond6, our mission is to develop confident and effective leaders, whose teams have the greatest impact upon their community and the world.
So if you’re talking about fundamentals and using sports as a metaphor, why not use the word “train”? Well training is the use of repetitive efforts to develop muscle memory. But when I talk about leadership and our mission at Diamond6, we talk about “developing” leaders. Leadership as a skill is objective. It requires critical thinking, reflection, dealing in time, and the impact of ethics. Therefore, as a subjective characteristic of a human being or a subjective skill, it’s not necessarily done by doing repetitive things over and over.
So to circle back, if you google the word “leadership”, you would get a thousand definitions- some long, some short. The one that I like best is by General Dwight Eisenhower.
Leadership is about deciding what has to be done, and getting others to want to do it.
I like this definition for a number of reasons.
1. It’s short… easy to remember!
2. It comes from a great leader! Eisenhower was a 5-star general in the military, led the largest military operation in WWII, was the President of Columbia University, then went on to serve two terms as US President.
3. The significance of “get people to want to do it”. It’s not just about giving orders and expecting people to follow. He quite wisely points out that if we’re going to get maximum performance out of any team, we have to get them to buy into the direction in which we want to take them.
So I would argue as leaders think about themselves and developing leaders throughout their organization, thinking about that definition may be helpful.
We want to hear from YOU! How do you define leadership? Share your comments below.