Reflections on the Definition of Leadership

Thanks to all who sent their views on leadership to me last week. It was a great opportunity for me to read and interact on a subject I love talking about. I heard some valuable comments and perspectives from you that I would like to share.

(To see this post on LinkedIn to see comments and feedback go to

From your posts, I found four themes emerge across all of the conversations:

1. Trust

2. Communication

3. Authenticity

4. Clarity of Vision

Observing these themes made me think about my own definition based on my experience with leaders I have worked with, as well as admired. These four components of a leader resonated with my own understanding of the character, skills, and traits that make one leader more successful than another. They reveal that for most of us, a leader must be both relatable and authentic while also being visionary and somewhat larger than life. A concept that is hard to fathom until you meet or witness a leader in your own life who fulfills these two seemingly opposing states.

To reflect on the themes further, I agree that a leader is a valuable influencer, role model, and partner with colleagues at all levels of an organization. I also agree that trust enables others to take appropriate risks with a leader’s new ideas. Additionally, clear and open communication allows colleagues to believe that an open dialogue is welcomed and encouraged. And authenticity provides the believability that others can know the leader approaches their work with genuineness and sincerity for a positive intended outcome.

With the beginnings of a definition of leadership in place here, I have another question for you to fill it out further...

Although we have highlighted several of the celebrated aspects of leadership, leaders are still human and can make mistakes and/or errors just like everyone else. In your opinion, how does a successful leader deal with their mistakes differently than others? And how does this inform how they lead?

Thanks again for your participation. I look forward to hearing from you this week!


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