In its simplest definition, a leader is anyone with followers. But how do you get followers? Which takes us into the two basic different kinds of power that leaders can possess: Positional Power v. Personal Power.
Positional Power comes from outside you and means you are a leader because you hold a position: you’ve been appointed supervisor or you are the owner. You have hard power, you control resources, you can hire, fire, promote, punish and reward.
Personal Power comes from within and refers to who you are, your knowledge, your skill set, your personality, your EQ, your soft power, your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate.
It is quite possible to have both and I’ve worked hard most of my life to amass as much of both as I can.
You can also define a leader as anyone who impacts others or alters their behavior or belief systems. Each of us, each one of us, is constantly broadcasting our value systems by our actions (or failure to act), thus we are all impacting others, all leading, 360 degrees.
You identify leaders by observation. Do they tend to step up when there is a problem? Can they organize and motivate others? An excellent definition of leadership is “The process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”
Leadership can be taught or at least you can certainly “move the needle” on the skill set. What is much harder to share is the DESIRE to lead. Leadership means putting yourself out there, a willingness to accept responsibility for others, exposing yourself to the possibility of very public failure. Being a leader requires self-confidence, ego, strength and courage.
“A leader is a person you will follow to a place you would not go by yourself.” – Joel Barker
“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.” – Peter F. Drucker
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.” – James Humes
“A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them.” – M. D. Arnold
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier