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Leadership Connotation

What is Leadership?

This definition of what is leadership carries a number of implications. First, within an organization leaders are not always managers or supervisors, formally appointed by others.

In fact, this is one way of distinguishing between managers and leaders; managers are appointed from above (ie, by more senior management), leaders are appointed (or anointed?) from below (ie, by their followers).

To really grasp what this means, think of terms like “Ring leader” to describe someone who leads a group of people into trouble. Ring leaders are not appointed from above but from within the group. We also talk of some people as being a “Bad influence”. We are concerned about people who are a bad influence because, once again, we recognize their ability to lead others into trouble.

Ring leaders and bad influences are clearly not appointed, but they are most definitely followed.
Secondly, leaders don’t even need to have responsibility for a team. Sometimes people are recognized as having leadership characteristics or qualities by others, who then simply choose to follow what the person says or does. Good examples are people who lead religious (such as Jesus Christ), revolutionary (such as Napoleon) or civil rights (such as Martin Luther King) movements.

Another implication is that being a manager does not make you a leader. A manager may have excellent skills in organizing work, creating policies and procedures, following disciplines and delivering services. But if others don’t willingly follow their lead, they are not a leader.

So, leaders must offer others (their followers) a cause, direction or objective that is interesting, attractive or satisfying enough for others to wish to follow.

Finally, is a leader created, or is leadership defined, by giving someone a job title? No, it’s defined by what a person is (their qualities), what they have learned (their skills) and what they do (their actions). Others recognize these attributes and choose, willingly, to follow.