A Simplified Definition of Leadership

One Step AheadThere have been many books written, courses offered, and seminars attended on what the definition of leadership is or how you can become a more effective leader.  But, you can boil all of these different courses into really three main types of leadership styles:

The first is the laissez-faire leadership style. This is where you take a “hands-off” approach that minimizes the amount of direction you give to those that you manage. This is effective as long as you have a highly trained and motivated staff or project team that is working with you..

Another common leadership style is the autocratic leadership style. This type of leadership many times is characterized by its almost dictator-like sense of having control over others.  Some of the larger organizations, their CEOs and those that run those companies fall into that category.

And then there is the participative leadership style. This is where you bring in those you manage into the decision making process so they can participate in putting those decisions together .

There are a host of other styles including situational leadership, emergent leadership, transactional leadership, transformational leadership, visionary leadership, strategic leadership, facilitative leadership, and  the list goes on and on of all the different styles there are. However, I believe leadership can be summed up with six simple words. You need to be ‘one step ahead as a leader’. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  1. You need to see far enough ahead to see the next goal. You are in the front. Others behind you will follow.
  2. You need to clear the obstacles so that others can easily reach that goal. This can be done by applying more resources or training for skills or whatever other actions are necessary to move forward.

While there is a host of different management and leadership styles just stay “one step ahead”. If you are in that position you will be that much more effective as a leader.

What is your “simplified” definition of leadership?


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