What leadership is not?

It's about guiding, advising and training, not counting, controlling and micromanaging. Leadership isn't about doing everything yourself. The best leaders know that they can't accomplish their goals alone, but that they need the right people to do the right things. Leadership means delegating to the right people to do the job well.

Leadership is not about doing it yourself, but about delegating and working well with others. Leadership, in its most authentic form, is about serving the people you are accused of leading to ensure that they grow. It's about ensuring that your people aspire to your “moon shot”. Doing this requires dedication to mentoring.

Attempts to analyze leadership tend to fail because the aspiring analyst misconceives his task. He usually doesn't study leadership at all. Instead, study popularity, power, spectacle, or wisdom in long-term planning. Some leaders have these things, but they are not the essence of leadership.

Leadership is the achievement of a goal through the direction of human assistants, a human and social achievement that derives from the leader's understanding of his co-workers and the relationship of his individual objectives to the group's objective. Take a walk through the corridors of history, comparing different models of leadership over the centuries. It's helpful to have all of these qualities, but just as possessing some or all of these characteristics doesn't automatically make you a leader, so not having them doesn't stop you from participating in leadership acts. Leadership really requires more subtlety and insight than the saying implies: “Do what you would like to do.

However, to carefully evaluate leadership, we must recognize how our psychology and social identity shape our views and judgments about morality. You may never be a colorful person; you may never use memorable devices to dramatize your group's purposes or to focus attention on your leadership. Unless a major military operation is conducted, no one's life is in danger when leadership is presented as something it is not, but many people are discouraged from participating in leadership acts on a daily basis because they have been sold a notion of what it is to be a leader that is not realistic and intimidating. Leaving aside the essential emotional elements of leadership allows us to see practices and behaviors in a more measured, objective and scientific environment.

By now it should be obvious that leadership has almost nothing to do with a person's position on an organization chart. Although there may be exceptions in certain cases, leadership is not inherently virtuous, romantic, rational, simple, rooted in authority, equivalent to management, or secure.

Edna Freemon
Edna Freemon

Freelance coffee lover. Friendly pop culture buff. Music maven. Professional twitter maven. Unapologetic zombie junkie. Lifelong food lover.

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