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Leadership Overview - What Purpose Does It Serve?

Oct 11, 2007
Google "leadership" and you will arrive at a total of 147,000,000 results. Leadership is a hot topic. By definition a leader is a person who leads. A guide or conductor, a person who directs, has commanding authority or influence.

Leadership is the process of influencing the thoughts, acts, and motivation of individuals or a group through communication to achieve a vision/goal. Leaders impact our daily lives in both good times and bad times.

This is also a very philosophical question at heart. Propose the question "What is leadership and what purpose does it serve?" to a philosophy class and I imagine that the discussion would be quite electric.
The purpose of leadership is to inspire a person or group of people to accomplish a goal. The leaders purpose is to steer and motivate them toward achievement of a goal for the good of the large. In other words leadership is defined by the purpose it serves: to advance a better way.

Stephen Covey states "Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out"

Leadership is all around us day in and day out on varying scales of degree. The choir as a group leads the church members in song, the lead goose heads south for the winter forming a familiar V shape overhead as other geese join mid flight, the football coach calls a time out to confer with his players, the president holds the annual state of the union address to inform and solidify a nation.

Leading does not equate with being in charge. In actuality, leaders aren't necessarily in charge at all. Leadership is a combination and application of personal traits, knowledge, skills, talents, attitudes and abilities. One of the styles of leadership is to delegate and a good leader knows when and how to pick the right person(s) for the job.

Intelligence is a trait we are all born although at different levels and it takes training to develop this commodity. Albert Einstein once said, "We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles but no personality. It cannot lead; it can only serve." Good leaders use and develop their intelligence to pair with their self-awareness, influential skills, perception and appearance of honesty, integrity, and confidence to guide us toward their vision of a better outcome for the group.

Life demands leadership. Where there are leaders there are followers. We require vision along with the direction and motivation to achieve our goals. Without this we are lost. The largest selling book, the bible, states in Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish.
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