“Who” a leader and “what” is leadership?
There are many business books on the theory of leadership and the various models that evolved over the past fifty years regarding leadership in the traditional sense; i.e. being a leader meaning “the title”, generally associated with being in charge of others. A title on a business card or a placard on a desk or door does not automatically make someone a leader. It may give the impression of self-importance and achievement, however, the title alone is not enough. Neither is a job description that notes functions associated with managing people. Rather, it seems to me that there is a pre-requisite for being an effective leader of a team or within any organization. That is the ability to lead oneself first. Honing this specific talent is far more significant in the grand scheme of things, because human beings will progress further in their respective life paths by mastering the capacity to relate to and communicate with the vast array of personality types, cultures, genders and demographics that make up the human race. A business title conveying “leader” is no proof of having acquired this gift. Furthermore, one doesn’t have to be in a workplace to be a leader. A leader is someone who has grasped the ability to take charge of their thoughts, and consequently their actions, in any situation. A leader is someone who recognizes that character is the greatest test of true leadership. A leader is someone who is clear about their values and applies them on a regular basis. In other words, having values and living by one’s values are two distinctive propositions. This has very little to do with moving up the management ladder into a leadership role.