The difference between an leaders and bosses might not be as clear to everyone. There is however, a major difference between the two. A boss is someone who exercises power and authority over you, demanding a certain behavioral response. You respond because you have to. Before we look at the definition of leadership, you should think about what kind of person is a leader. A leader is someone who wins your heart by gaining your trust and devotion, giving you the option to respond. You respond because you want to.
So what then is the definition of leadership? Leadership is the use of influence to guide a company or organization in a direction that helps that institution fulfill its goals. A great leader establishes a vision and motivates people to join him in bringing it to reality. A true leader also studies the structures that comprise an organization and brings them into alignment with the vision.
A leader is someone who influences by gaining trust. Because he is perceived to be honorable, he wins your heart and makes you a loyal devotee. You can trust a leader when:
- They speak the truth. Their actions are consistent with their words and they are deemed to be ethical.
- They respect your needs and opinions. Your personal and professional needs are taken seriously and you feel cared about within the institution.
- They treat you and others fairly, settling disputes and differences in a just and equitable fashion.
- They demonstrate knowledge of human nature by making decisions that support human well-being and dignity.
- They are willing to lead by example. Leaders are willing to model the work ethic, beliefs and values that they want you to share.
- They exhibit competence in the field in which they are leading. Employees need to know that the leader gets it when it comes to understanding their job in the workplace.
- They demonstrate that employees can teach others with ease and grace, paying due attention to what motivates them and helps them learn. Leaders show competence in understanding the processes that enable both themselves and others to achieve their vision.
- They keep workers informed of what is going on in the organization and lets them know how their participation is helping to meet the overall objective of the project.
- They makes decisions that are sound and timely in terms of promoting the vision.
- They study the organization to see how its constituent parts can work effectively together to achieve the goals and objectives that support the vision. As well as understanding human behavior, the true leader pays attention to organizational behavior and arranges the troops in a way that achieves the desired result.
True leaders gain the respect of their followers and induce them to want to be on their team. Becoming a true leader is a life-long process and calls for persistent growth for anyone occupying that role, in their life, in their work, and in their behavior.
Given the definition of leadership presented here, are there aspects of your leadership style you think your employees or followers would like to see you change? Do you fit the definition of leadership? Think about yourself objectively and find the areas that you can improve upon – your leadership demands it.