What Is Leadership?

by | January 4, 2021 | Business


The word “leadership” can mean something different to each person. Some think of leading politicians fighting for what’s right, some think of a strong independent woman building an online business with employees behind her, some think of their boxing trainer who trains them for the better good, some think of religious leaders spreading the good word.

You get what I’m trying to say, the word leadership may mean something very different to you than it does to someone else. But none the less, leadership in any shape or form carries the same principles. In this article, we’re focusing upon leadership as a business entrepreneur, but these principles will apply to all leaders.

What Leadership IS NOT

Before we get into what leadership actually is, let’s first talk about what is not leadership. When people think of leaders, many people think of these certain behaviors or positions straight away. So let’s just clear your minds of these.

Leadership has nothing to do with personal characteristics

Many people think of a “leader” as this dominating, loud, confronting person when this just isn’t the case. Many take-charge leaders have been very successful in history, but those success numbers don’t outweigh other forms of leaders. In fact, it’s known that if your employees, followers, friends, or whoever you’re leading fear you, the work will only get done when you’re present. A genuine relationship goes a lot further.

Your title doesn’t make you a leader

Would you consider your manager or boss a leader? Just because someone has a name badge or a title over their head, this does not make them a leader. They may be above you in your company, but if they do not lead and guide you or the company in a better direction, then they’re simply a well-paid employee with a nice title.

Management isn’t leadership

This follows above, but management does not mean leadership. Although managers are crucial within a company to keep everything running smoothly, managers simply manage their responsibilities, and leaders lead them. Don’t get the two mixed up.

Definition of leadership

Many people have different definitions of leadership. From google to billionaire businessmen, there are many different definitions of leadership.

Google’s definition

“The action of leading a group of people or an organization”, “the or position of being a leader”, “the leaders of an organization, country, etc”. These 3 definitions from google are very broad, but hopefully, you get the gist. These definitions are exactly what leadership is, but in the business world, people have their own definitions.

Bill gates definition

“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” This definition is very inspiring. There are many ways to empower others which you will learn today, but hopefully for the greater good.

Peter Drucker definition

“The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.” I do not fully agree with this definition. People may have followers for different reasons such as their management title, family, etc. If you have followers this is great, but if you don’t lead them for the better good, then you are not a leader.

Dale Carnegie, Author of “How to win friends and influence people”

Dale Carnegie is a well-respected author and businessman who has inspired millions all around the world. His principles of leadership are never to be forgotten. Those principles are:

  • Motivation
  • Education
  • Connection
  • Execution
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Confidence
  • Understanding

Principles That Make A Good Leader

So let’s get into it. What is leadership? This is a question of many answers. As mentioned, leadership means something different to each person. But these principles we’re about to mention have made entrepreneurs all around the world a lot of money, and help them change the world for the greater good.

Here is the principle that makes a good leader. You will notice all of these principles are connected and go hand in hand with one and other.

Motivating and Inspiring People

Peter Drucker’s definition of leadership does carry some truth. Leaders do need followers, but organic followers that have not been forced. To become a good leader, you need to be able to not only motivate and inspire yourself but your team. People need to see your vision and your end goal, and it’s your job to deliver that.

Not everyone is motivated about money, but they do have motivation. It might be security, power, family, whatever it is, it’s YOUR job to find it, and tap into their motivation and inspire them to thrive. It’s also important that growth is available within your company. Employees will not be motivated if they can’t see a future in your company.

Planning and Execution

Good leaders will always deliver. Execution is crucial for a company to thrive, but forgetting to plan out your goals is like driving a Lamborghini through the desert without a satnav. Without planning, your projects will be unorganized and any successes will be more than likely luck. If you fail to execute, your business partners, employers, or followers will lose faith in you and seek other stable leaders.

All big thriving companies have their goals, and then a plan to get there. Planning your journey also assists with our first principle of inspiring. If your followers can see where you’re going, if it’s beneficial to them, trust me they’re going to find a way to come with you.

Leading by example

We’ve all heard the term “leading by example”. Leading by example means doing exactly what you want your followers to do, but 10x better. Set the bar high, so your followers have to work hard to reach it. If you’re lazy, sloppy, come in 35 minutes late, then your followers will do the same.

Setting an example will inspire your followers and let them know that working at 30% isn’t acceptable. Leading by example even refers to what you wear to work. If you want your business to be professional and business-like, then don’t turn up to work in your gym pants and sweatshirt then expect your employees to come in dressed up to the T.

Building relationships

Building relationships between not only yourself and your employees, but between employees themselves are what separates the big boys from the corner shops. This skill is extremely hard to master because when money is involved, people’s motives and behaviors change. If it benefits them, they’re your best friend. If it doesn’t, they’re your worst enemy.

You need to become likable, but you also want people to work just as hard when you aren’t in the room. This is what separates a team, from workers. A team works every day, day, and night to reach the goal, workers will go on Instagram organically when they leave the room. If you can master relationships between your employees, business partners, suppliers, etc, then you will truly get ahead.

Trust and communication

Trust and communication had to be on this list because they’re just so important. A true leader must gain the full trust of his followers. How do you gain trust? Well, this goes back to execution. If all’s you do is talk about making money but never do, this may temporarily motivate your follower, but it won’t gain their trust.

Executing your ideas will gain the trust of your followers because they’ll see that you can actually get things done. But, you need to make sure your whole team is on the same page. This is where communication comes in. It’s all well and good everyone reading the same book, but if the leader is 3 chapters ahead, then he’ll be working alone, which may lead to failure.

Leadership mindset

The leadership mindset is a topic that could go on for hours. The leadership mindset doesn’t just mean taking charge, which is very necessary, but it also means having a mindset to see growth. Growth in some sort of form should always be the end goal, and to get there you need to always think of the big picture and always have a positive mindset.

A positive mindset, combined with thinking of the big picture and ignoring all obstacles will help you be a better leader as you won’t get in the way of yourself. A mindset for learning is also very necessary. Never think you know enough, there’s always something you can learn.

Conclusion of leadership

Leadership and management aren’t to be confused. Managers manage, leaders lead. A good leader not only builds the company but passes the ladder down for his team to follow. A good leader sets by example and get’s the thing’s done.

A great leader needs all the following principles: Motivating and inspiring people, planning, and execution, leading by example, building relationships, trust, and communication, and most importantly the leadership mindset. All these principles go hand in hand but are all necessary. To put it simply, leaders lead their followers towards the greater good.

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