While attending an advertising conference this week, I picked up on a trend.  Keynote speakers kept using the word “leader.”  Hearing all the different context around the word made me feel as if their is not a universal definition of the word: “leader.”

So exactly what is a leader and what accounts for leadership qualities?

Dictionary.com reports the definition of a leader is “someone who rules, guides, or inspires others.”  But, I think leadership goes deeper than that.  Leadership should be about setting a vision and getting others to follow that vision for the benefit of greater cause.

Pause for a moment and think.  A leader creates a vision.  Then a leader inspires others to follow that vision all while serving a greater purpose.  When you really think about it, that doesn’t sound like an easy task.

So, how does it get done?  By leading by example.  Leaders should not be above anyone else.  They should inspire others by understanding motivations and concerns of others. Leaders foster an environment of candor and respect.   They act with humility and hold themselves and others accountable.  When a leader makes a mistake, he quickly owns up to it and finds resolution.  Leaders use emotional intelligence in stressful situations, and they trust their gut when making tough decisions.  When things go awry, they point the finger to themselves.  Similarly, when things go well, they point the finger outward and give credit to others.

I can go on and on, but I think it’s acceptable to close with this point; leaders never stop learning and/or challenging themselves.  They’re constantly seeking to improve themselves for the benefit of a greater cause.

Do you agree?


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