Becoming a leader does not happen on its own. Yet, this is a critical error in judgment made by many would-be, emerging leaders, and even established leaders. Furthermore, the exercise of leadership can be viewed as a rather basic function that one just picks-up over time. Oh the perils of naiveté.The reality is that leadership is a complex proposition where high levels of emotional and social intelligence, a clear understanding of one’s personality type, expertise, and strengths, knowledge of options regarding leader skills, styles, and behaviors, the accurate reading of important external variables that influence action, knowledge of strategic and tactical objectives, and crisp and timely execution that demonstrates professional judgment all combine to influence culture, impact people and augment engagement, define operational processes, and move an organization forward toward measureable and sustainable success. Easy? Natural? I don’t think so.
In his book Leadership: Theory and Practice, Peter Northouse (2013) defines leadership as “…a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal” (p. 5).
My own leadership definition is a slightly expanded definition: “The process whereby an individual influences others in a manner that galvanizes commitment and builds motivation to the end that shared objectives are attained.”