What is Leadership?

Leadership is About Relationships...and results

Whoever is at the top of the team or organisation makes a big difference to their group or company.

As the saying goes, “the fish rots from the head.”  If it is certainly true that poor or dysfunctional leadership permeates down through the organisation, then it is also true that effective, inspirational leadership also filters down through the company or organisation.

"The key to successful leadership today is being comfortable about being uncomfortable." - George Sawiris

About the Results...the cost of bad leadership

The cost of bad leadership is extensive as per the Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report 2013, the findings on Australia has:

  • 60% of Australian employees are disengaged at work...a further 16% are actively disengaged.  

  • What is the cost to the economy of those actively disengaged?

  • $54.8 billion a year...how much is it costing your business?

About the Relationships... 

In essence, leadership is relationships and results. As JM Kouzes and BZ Posner (2002) say in their book, “Leadership Challenge,” “It’s a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow” (page 20).

Sometimes the relationship is one to one.  Sometimes, it is one to many.  Irrespective of the number, leaders must master the dynamics of this relationship.

Leadership is an influence process.  At any time you’re trying to influence the behaviour of someone toward a goal, you’re engaging in leadership.  This is so no matter whether you’re a politician, a CEO, a parent, a teacher or a minister of religion.

Leadership is about moving people from dependence to independence in pursuit of a goal.  However, consider that there are some prime requisites here: 

  • First, leadership is about going somewhere, it's about crafting your vision and purpose of the future...if you don’t know where you’re going, your leadership doesn’t matter.
  • Second, it's about building alignment by communicating with clarity, engaging in dialogue and providing inspiration...if you don't, everyone will be moving in different directions.
  • Third, it’s about implementation.  Certainly leaders need to champion the implementation, through momentum, structure and feedback...if you don't, you will disable the group from capitalising on it's talents and losing the reality of your vision.  
  • Finally, it is about serving and supporting...in this way, leaders serve their people by guiding and cheerleading them, as their needs require.

Definitions of Leadership

“The legitimate use of power to achieve outcomes on behalf of a group of people”

(Jock Cameron, National Student Leadership Forum, Parliament House, Canberra, 20th Sept 2012)

“Management is doing things right; Leadership is doing the right thing”

(Peter Drucker; Austrian-born American management consultant and educator, 1909-2005)

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves”

(Lao Tze; 6th Century BC, philosopher of ancient China)

“Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power, but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those led. The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders”

(Follett, MP. The Creative Experience, NY; Longmans Green, 1924, page 3)

Are Leaders Born or Made?

This is a very good question.  In fact, I was sitting on a plane some time back and the guy behind me turned to his friend and asked that very same question.  I taught leadership for fifteen years to frontline and middle management for Australian and international corporations and it was the one question that students always wanted to know about.  Since 2005, I teach and coach those same programmes to senior management and still the question is asked.

Next move...

Contact us for an initial discussion on how we can make this service work for you, or call George Sawiris today.

1300 159 000