The Core of Leadership

There is so much time and energy spent talking about leadership. There are countless books and blogs on the topic. It’s not as if we need another blog on leadership, but what the heck, it couldn’t hurt. For my inaugural blog post, I thought I would get right to the core of leadership. No messing around.

So what in my mind is at the core of leadership? The core is how leadership is defined. Before you throw up your hands – or throw up – at yet another semantic or academic treatment of the topic, bear with me. This is not about what I think leadership means. It is about what you think it means and my thoughts on why that is so important.

You see, in my role, I get a lot of requests from people looking for leadership training and ways to improve their leadership skills. You may not be surprised to hear that in those requests, people do not mean the same thing. Some people are looking for communication skills, some for strategy, and on more than one occasion, I get the response – “you know, leadership.”

But with all this time and effort spent on leadership, have you ever wrote down your definition of leadership? If you have found this blog and are taking the time to read it, you must recognize the importance of leadership at some level. So if you have already written it down, great. I will have some ideas for you in just a moment. But if you haven’t written down what it means to you, you should take the time to do so now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Here’s why that’s important. How you define leadership says a lot about you and your leadership style. Did you use words like followers, direction, developing others, or results? Are you command and control? Or are you more servant in nature? Do you focus on people? Results? Or some balanced combination? There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer here. However, you might have seen a word earlier in this paragraph that just felt right. Balanced. Whatever your definition, you have to own it. It is your opportunity to put your stake in the ground about a topic that you care about – and perhaps you are even immersed in.

And, oh, by the way, this should not be a top secret activity. Share your definition with those you lead and ask them to write theirs. Besides being good discussion, it provides insight into who you are and what you believe. It clarifies expectations. And better yet, it puts you on the hook to lead a certain way.

I’m hoping to post new blogs at irregular intervals. I really just want to post when I think I have an interesting observation or insight to share. I hope to make my posts fun and a bit provocative. Thank you for joining me on the journey.

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