Leadership Definition


Our Definition of Leadership
There are many diverse definitions of leadership. This page outlines a few common approaches, and outlines the definition of leadership underpinning Christian Leadership World. For this site, our leadership definition is defined as "enabling a group to engage together in the process of developing, sharing and moving into vision, and then living it out." We also emphasise the importance of a leader's character and integrity in building up the trust necessary for the leadership to be exercised over a period of time. For Christian Leadership, the importance of prayer must be emphasised - since God seeks to work in partnership with his people, and prayer is the primary channel of communication. Some of the common ideas that others include in leadership definitions include exerting influence, motivating and inspiring, helping others realize their potential, leading by example, selflessness and making a difference. For perspective, we include several other common definitions : Leadership Definition : The Collins English Dictionary. ( © 1998 HarperCollins Publishers ) leadership (n) 1. The position or function of a leader. 2. the period during which a person occupies the position of leader: during her leadership very little was achieved. 3. a. the ability to lead. b. (as modifier): leadership qualities. 4. the leaders as a group of a party, union, etc.: the union leadership is now very reactionary. This dictionary definition of leadership focuses on the position (singular or collective), tenure and ability of leaders. As such, it misses key points about the purpose and hallmarks of effective leadership. Leadership Definition : Peter Drucker : The forward to the Drucker Foundation's "The Leader of the Future" sums up leadership : "The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers." To gain followers requires influence (see John Maxwell's definition below) but doesn't exclude the lack of integrity in achieving this. Indeed, it can be argued that several of the world's greatest leaders have lacked integrity and have adopted values that would not be shared by many people today. Leadership Definition : John C Maxwell : In the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell sums up his definition of leadership as "leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less." This moves beyond the position defining the leader, to looking at the ability of the leader to influence others - both those who would consider themselves followers, and those outside that circle. Indirectly, it also builds in leadership character, since without maintaining integrity and trustworthiness, the capability to influence will disappear. Leadership Definition : Warren Bennis : Warren Bennis' definition of leadership is focused much more on the individual capability of the leader : "Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential." Leadership Definition : Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester : For the purposes of the Leadership Development Process of the Diocese of Rochester, their leadership definition is "the process of influencing the behavior of other people toward group goals in a way that fully respects their freedom." The emphasis on respecting their freedom is an important one, and one which must be the hallmark of Christian leadership. Jesus influenced many diverse people during his ministry but compelled no-one to follow Him. Other perspectives on the essence of leadership can be found on our leadership quotes page.

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11/20/2008 2:56 PM

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