In a recent event, we promoted a few of our team members to Leaders. The titles were changed, roles & responsibilities were modified, KPAs were defined; but I still felt something was missing. What kept me awake was the thought that what is a leader? Also, can we keep our Leaders bounded in a definition or box? Won’t that impact the required adaptability of the organization? Also, what type of person would be a great future leader. What skills our other colleagues should start working on, to become a good leader in our culture.
So I decided to write to seek more thoughts, perspectives and opinions.
We talk about leaders and leadership nearly every day in our professional life, but have you ever tried to define leadership? It can be much harder than you may think but taking the time to define leadership and what makes a leader, is quite crucial in building a cohesive culture and developing future leaders.
Ask this question from yourself. Ask this question from people around you who are leaders or who aspire to be one. I tried it and many people struggled or had to pause and think about it. A leader is a word we use so frequently in our lives that we take the concept for granted. We just assume that we all know what leadership is and what does a leader do. The reality is quite different, everyone has a different perspective of what a leader is supposed to do.
Some leaders feel a leader is supposed to define short-term goals & visions for teams. Others feel it is about Empathy, humility and diversity. So many different answers and every answer is the right answer. Every person is a leader and has their own definition of leadership. This definition evolves as the person evolves. With a new leadership style joining a new team, the culture and employees can get impacted.
Who, then, is a Leader?
If leadership is a perspective and it is right in all cases, then who is a leader?
In my opinion, that I formed with my experience and literature I studied, A person, who is driven with a right motivation and makes a positive impact on people around them, is a leader.
A leader is someone who can work toward making their vision a reality while putting people first. A leader must be empathetic and must be able to connect with people to be successful. A leader should be able to see a different perspective and appreciate diversity. A leader should have the ability to understand people coming from a different path, people with a different mindset and the deep reasons for that mindset.
Of course, everyone can disagree with my definition of leadership. There is a strong chance, I might disagree with it as I evolve more as a person.
Leadership definition for an organization
With so many definitions of Leadership, it becomes of utmost importance for each organization, to clearly define leadership in the context of that organization. The definition should be allowed to evolve, must be agile, but it’s better than no definition.
A leadership definition in an Organization will ensure everyone is on the same page. It will also allow that organization to prepare a certain type of leaders that will fit the company’s culture. For example, if the chosen leadership style for an organization is Servant Leadership. That fuels leadership style into company’s culture, everyone starts preparing them into that leadership filter. All employees know they need to develop certain characteristics to be promoted. Current leaders start answering those questions in a similar direction.
Leadership filters ensure that the understanding of leadership across the organization is similar. People who best represent the culture and values have a stronger chance of being promoted as leaders. A leader focused solely on raising profits and earning more money would not fare well in a company focused on developing empathetic leaders. The vice versa can be true in some cases as well. Leadership definition help promote the right people and maintain a cohesive work environment.
What is Leadership Definition for L&G?
The chosen leadership style for us is, Servant Leadership. A person who understands and practices company’s values; A person who is empathetic, connects with people to create a positive impact on their careers, maintains work-life balance; A person who understands L&G’s Value Creation process at all levels & A person who can challenge and help us evolve this definition more, is a Leader to us.
What is your leadership Definition?
I would love to hear more about how do you or your organization define leadership. Of course, the goals, the targets can vary across domains & organization. The emphasize here is on the Leadership approaches, values, and personality styles you focus on.