Leadership is a word that can have many definitions. “Leadership” sometimes can even have conflicting definitions. To be able to lead a team or an organization it is essential to understand the basics of leadership. There are some who define a leader as “the boss!” If this is your definition of a leader then there is no need to read any further. Leadership is much deeper than one individual taking on the role of a boss. In fact, true leadership is an involving of many people to accomplish a particular task. Here are a few definitions of “leadership” to consider:
“Leadership is mobilizing others toward a goal shared by the leader and followers.” Gary Wills
“Leadership is influence.” J. Oswald Sanders
“Leadership is getting others to want to do something that you are convinced should be done.” Vance Packard
What Makes a Leader?
When thinking of these definitions of leadership the questions arises: “What makes someone become a leader?” There are three basic character tracts of true leaders.
First, a leader has a sense of a “calling.” This “calling” urges the leader to pursue a particular task. This “calling” creates a focus on a task that is fueled by a strong urging to see something accomplished or created. Every true leader has a strong creative, almost artistic side to their character. It is almost like an enthusiastic little child who is given a clump of clay and told to create “something.” Every strong leader has a “calling” that they cannot help but share with other.
Second, a leader has “character.” The “character” of a strong leader is obvious. People do not have to guess or wonderful about a strong leader. The strong leader’s character is laid out for the world to see. No guess work here! The character of a strong leader is manifested through daily actions, speech, and overall behavior. Character is an absolute part of the “call.” A “calling” without “character” is obsolete. It has not purpose or value.
Third, a leader is “competent” in the task at hand. When someone possesses the skills of a strong leader it will be obvious in their abilities. Their abilities will be noticed and receive attention from others. They will have the influence to inspire others. A true leader will naturally know how to direct the resources and energies of others to help accomplish the task. A true leader knows that they themselves are limited and cannot do it all. They know how to delegate authority and give it away for others to use. The competency of a leader is shown in his or her trust of others and a willingness to share the responsibilities of the task at hand.
So, the basic make up of a true leader shows “calling”, “character”, and “competency.” One final point about a strong leader, they know how to celebrate victories. All work and no celebration will kill any accomplishment.