Definitions of Leadership from Do Lead

Let’s smash some of these leadership myths and take a look at what leadership really is.  First of:


What Leadership Isn’t!

1. Charisma

IMage: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Vladimir_Putin-6.jpg

IMage: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cf/Vladimir_Putin-6.jpg

 

2. Genius

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Albert_Einstein_Head.jpg

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d3/Albert_Einstein_Head.jpg

 

3. Position

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/Queen_Elizabeth.jpg/785px-Queen_Elizabeth.jpg

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/54/Queen_Elizabeth.jpg/785px-Queen_Elizabeth.jpg

 

Are we getting the point?  Now let's look at:

What Leadership Is!

1. Groups or teams, big or small

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/81/Small_groups_working_at_tables_during_summit.jpg/1024px-Small_groups_working_at_tables_during_summit.jpg

Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/81/Small_groups_working_at_tables_during_summit.jpg/1024px-Small_groups_working_at_tables_during_summit.jpg

 

2. Can happen instantly and isn't a permanent state

Image: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/File:Melting_icecubes.gif

Image: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/File:Melting_icecubes.gif

 

3. Happens formally (in a work meeting) and informally (at the dinner table.)

Image: http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140429035145/simpsons/images/thumb/4/4b/The_Yellow_Badge_of_Cowardge_Promo_1.JPG/1024px-The_Yellow_Badge_of_Cowardge_Promo_1.JPG

Image: http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20140429035145/simpsons/images/thumb/4/4b/The_Yellow_Badge_of_Cowardge_Promo_1.JPG/1024px-The_Yellow_Badge_of_Cowardge_Promo_1.JPG

 

Getting the Picture yet?

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Elite Heroic Leadership - a Recipe for Scandal?

What happens when we define leadership as heroic - as something only for ‘the elite’?

Well, let me ask the question another way: what do David Edmondson Martha Stewart, and Kenneth Lay all have in common (besides once having the title of “CEO” on their business cards)? The answer? They’re all ridden with scandal.

David Edmundson, Martha Stewart and Key Lay

David Edmundson, Martha Stewart and Key Lay

David Edmondson, the former CEO of RadioShack, claimed to have completed two undergraduate degrees (one in Psychology and one in Theology.) In reality, he completed two semesters at college before dropping out. After the errors in his resume were reported in 2006, Edmondson resigned in disgrace.

Martha Stewart, CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, was found guilty of participating in insider-trading and lying to federal investigators and served five years in a minimum security prison.

Ken Lay, former CEO of Enron, grew a small natural-gas corporation into an energy-trading behemoth worth $68 billion. Unfortunately, he did it largely by condoning shady accounting practices. After being investigated by the SEC, Enron’s stock took a nosedive and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. (Lay died of a heart attack while awaited sentencing.)

People do bad things for many reasons, of course, but an increasingly prevalent ‘reason’ for misdeeds and poor behavior is, ironically enough, to be seen as a strong and effective leader.

To misquote Joseph de Maistre, “every generation gets the leadership they deserve”. By implicitly defining leadership as heroic, and as something only for an elite group of people to engage in, we’ve warped leadership, and in turn, warped our leaders.

It’s time to redefine leadership, and the first step is in removing the implicit assumption that leadership is something only to be undertaken by an heroic elite. We can all lead - ethically.

Want to learn what it means to lead and learn how to lead? Download the first chapter of Do Lead for free today.


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