There is no single definition of leadership, but there seems to be a general understanding that a leader is:
- one who commits people to action
- converts followers into leaders
- converts leaders into agents of change
Some people assume that leadership and management are synonymous, but the terms are not interchangeable. Management is the formal authority people are given within an organization. Leadership is informal, and doesn't require an organization to provide authority. It is said that Managers do things right; Leaders do the right thing. Leaders also do specific things.
- Create values through communication.
- Develop committed followers.
- Inspire lofty accomplishments.
- Model appropriate behavior.
- Focus attention on important issues.
- Connect their group to the outside world.
If others tell you that you have leadership potential or you think that you are leadership material, (or you wonder about your leader) see how you fare when answering the questions on the following checklist:
A Leadership Checklist:
Do the people I lead know where we are going and how we are going to get there together?
Do I carefully consider my employees' input in establishing plan, resolving problems, and improving operations?
Am I accessible to my people?
Can my people predict how I will react to different situations?
Do I share my optimism about our success with my staff?
Do my people enjoy coming to work? Do we have fun?
Do I promote my people to greater responsibilities in my group and elsewhere in the company?
Are my people encouraged or discouraged by my success?
Is working with my people the most important part of my day?
Do my people know how they are doing, what we can expect of them, and what they can expect with us over the next few years?
Even More Important
Too many people answer the above questions with an easy ‘yes.’ So follow up each and every one with these questions:
- How do I know this to be true?
- What does it look like when I do this? What are my observable behaviors?
- If my employees were asked this question, how would they answer?
Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management consulting practice that specializes in developing people in the areas of leadership and management, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 30 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at http://jonidaniels.com