Leadership – What is leadership and have you got it?
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What is leadership – well, what do you think? The whole world seems to be talking about leadership right now. How good is it? How bad is it? How to improve it? But let us think a little about what it is.
At its most basic, leadership is simply one person leading another. Think of someone in a blindfold being led by another. If that is going to work, the person doing the leading needs to have some idea where they are going. They need to have some conception of the obstacles on the way and how to overcome them. Of course, the person doing the leading needs to be able to inspire confidence in the person being led. That confidence needs to be strong enough for them at least to take the first step.
What is leadership in organizations?
Leadership in organizations is the same really. A leader sees a problem that needs to be fixed or a goal that needs to be achieved. It could be something that no one else sees or something that no one else wants to see because the sight is uncomfortable. But whatever it is, it becomes the focus of the leader’s attention and they set out with determination to deal with it or to achieve it. Then of course the leader needs to be able to bring others along with them.
This kind of leadership can be at any level in an organization. Most successful organizations today recognize that and set up systems which empower leaders at all levels. With information technology it is easy to give people throughout an organization the information they need to become leaders and the tools to lead. But of course if this is to work well, leadership does need to start at the top. Then leaders throughout the organization will set out in the same direction, supporting each other. They will not be tripping each other up.
If you are supposed to “lead” your organization how a good a job are you doing at setting out a clear vision for the future? Do the other leaders throughout your organization know where you are going so that they can lead in the same direction? Do they have the knowledge and information to take your vision forward? If not you have a problem. What are you going to do about it?