What Does Leadership Mean to You?

 So let’s first explore what leadership may mean to you and then compare and contrast that to what leadership means to other leaders. I think that’s an interesting approach. Let’s see.

Okay, I would like you to sit back for a moment, relax, and reflect on the questions I’m about to ask you. What thoughts or images come to your mind when you think of a leader? Maybe the president of your company or of the United States or a military hero like me, or a social activist. What qualities do you want your leaders to display? Nice? Friendly? Strong? Easy to understand and listen to. Supportive. Easy to respect. Other qualities? Which emotions do your leaders inspire within you? Do you feel proud to be led by this person? Do you feel excited, energized, happy, fulfilled? What do you want and need from a leader so you can feel successful and motivated? Do you want them to be intelligent, supportive of others, a great listener and communicator? Now for me, I want to feel challenged and not disheartened.

I want to be able to respect my leader, my boss. That’s a biggie for me, respect. How about you? I think leadership means something different to each of us, as it should. We each have unique needs of what we want from a leader. We have different hot buttons or characteristics we want to see displayed by our leaders. So how you want to be treated by your leaders may be insightful as to how you want to treat others in your leadership role and this discussion was to help you understand everyone may want something different from their leaders and hence, keep that in mind when leading others. One size or approach to leadership does not fit all. And also, we have our own beliefs of how we will act or behave as a leader to others, but in general, the leadership attributes, qualities that we’ll be discussing in this post, for the most of us, are what I believe we are all looking for, or at least a subset.

Okay, now let’s look at a couple of quotes by leaders and see how they answered those questions and described leadership from their perspective as leaders. Here is what leadership means to David. “Leadership is the collective action of everyone you influence. Your behavior, your actions and your words; these determine how you influence. Our job as leaders is to energize whatever marshals action within others. ” Okay, I like this quote, but let me point out a few key words. One is influence. Another, actions and another, words. Okay, I’ve called out those three. Let’s move on to the next quote. Here is another quote I like. “Leadership is the ability to inspire motivation in others to move toward a desirable vision. While management is focused on tasks, leadership is focused on the person. All in all, the best leadership drives change and long-lasting motivation. ” So some key words here I’d like to point out from Josh’s quote. The first, inspire motivation. The next, vision.

The next, focused on the person. Drives change. And long-lasting motivation. So very important key words also in this quote. Now what I’d like to do in the next slide is summarize the key words from the previous quote and this quote, to make a very good point. So what I did was gather up those key words and boil them down into three different categories: connect, change, and motivate, and let’s see how I arrived at that conclusion. Okay, some of the key words. Focused on the person, influence, and words. These are engaging, personal communicative terms. I tie those to connecting with others. Next are vision, actions, drives change. I tie these to change. Leaders, good ones anyway, are change agents without a doubt. Next, inspire motivation and long-lasting motivation. It is not just a motivator.

Maybe you get a Starbucks gift card. That’s nice and that could be motivating for what? Maybe a day? But is it long-lasting? No, it is not. Long-lasting motivation is a very deep and complex emotion built up over a period of time and based on trust. Okay, more on that topic later. Alright, so leaders need to connect with others, set a direction and drive change through inspiring and motivating others. So as a new leader, during your first week on the job, I would like you to do the following. Sit down with a piece of paper and start jotting down some notes.