What Is The True Meaning Of Leadership?
To help you understand the true meaning of leadership, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best insights. From helping people develop and perform to their best to being an example for others to follow, there are several insights about true leadership that may help you perform your responsibilities with a clearer sense of purpose.
Here Are Nine Responses To “What is the true meaning of leadership?”:
- Helping People Develop and Perform To Their Best
- Being One With The Purpose You Represent
- Putting Aside Personal Biases
- Taking Responsibility
- Acting With Integrity in The Best Interests of Everyone
- Exhibiting Wisdom and Courage
- Listening and Showing Empathy
- The Ability To Influence People To Reach a Goal
- Being an Example for Others To Follow
Helping People Develop and Perform To Their Best
The true meaning of leadership is putting the needs of your team first before yourself. True leaders believe team members who are personally and professionally fulfilled yield higher quality work more efficiently and productively.
Rather than being authoritative, true leaders share power, put the needs of others first, and help people develop and perform as highly as possible.
They make decisions with the team’s best interests in mind.
Alexander Shute, FaithGiant
Being One With The Purpose You Represent
A true leader is synonymous with the company or cause they represent. Think of Steve Jobs: During the time that he was CEO of Apple, his image was indistinguishable from the company’s brand.
This is even truer when the leader is the founder of a company. When that is the case, the company is created in the entrepreneur’s image. When they speak, the leader speaks with the voice of the company itself. This is leadership.
Kiran Gollakota, Lightyear Health
Putting Aside Personal Biases
Leadership means keeping the best interests of the group in mind over any of your personal biases. While it’s tempting for many new leaders to prioritize employees who make a leader’s job easier, it’s not a good practice as it’s ultimately a selfish one.
Instead, it’s important to treat your employees equally and fairly–even those ones who might be a little more difficult to work with–since they contribute to the group as much as anyone.
John Jacob, Hoist
For me, leadership is all about taking responsibility for the things you do and the people you work with. As a leader, it is our duty to take responsibility for our decisions and deal with both the good and the bad things that come as a result of those decisions.
Everyone makes mistakes, but true leaders are the ones who take responsibility and do something about it.
Ian Kelly, NuLeaf Naturals
Acting With Integrity in The Best Interests of Everyone
Leadership is synonymous with integrity, which is to say doing the right thing for the right reasons no matter who is watching. Effective leaders are willing to speak up and take action for those in their care, whether employees, a business operation, or simply their own behaviors. While not always in the spotlight, leaders act for everyone’s best interests with the resources and information they have.
It is said that “everything rises and falls on leadership”, but that doesn’t mean a leader is solely responsible to do everything themselves. They develop others’ leadership skills by asking good questions, discussing potential outcomes and consequences, and providing additional support for people to affect a positive impact on both the present and future.
Marilyn Zubak, Snif
Exhibiting Wisdom and Courage
Leadership is having the wisdom to know the difference between what you can and cannot change, and the courage to change the things you can. WIthout courage to change, there can be no innovation. Yet the courage to innovate will not yield results if it is not aimed in the right direction.
That’s where wisdom, including the wisdom to listen to others, comes into play. Bold courage properly focused by sharp intelligence points out the path of a true leader.
David Culpepper, LifeMD
Listening and Showing Empathy
Good leaders know how to listen to their team members and be empathetic. Their emotional intelligence is well-developed and allows them to foster collaboration in their teams. Leaders show understanding towards their employees and keep their fingers on the pulse regarding their performance. They take an individual approach when working with each team member and can spot any alarming signs in their employees’ behavior.
Leadership is also about communication. It’s a good idea to schedule weekly individual meetings to be aware of any challenges your coworkers might be facing. You don’t want to step into their private sphere but show that you are there for them. Sometimes something as simple as showing that you care can encourage people to open up and look for support.
Dorota Lysienia, MyPerfectResume
The Ability To Influence People To Reach a Goal
True leadership is centered around being able to socially influence people to complete a goal. I believe the way you accomplish that is just as important in describing true leadership. Being able to motivate others to complete a task or goal is great, but doing it in such a way that people want to follow you again means that you have socially influenced people in a positive way.
Behaving admirably, treating people with respect and kindness, and leading from the front are all examples of positive social influence. Being a good leader is hard and getting a group of different personalities to pull in the same direction is the crowning achievement. Accomplishing this in a way that provides a good experience for those you lead because of how you treated them is true leadership.
Michael Taylor, Shifting Shares
Being an Example for Others To Follow
A real leader acts as an example for their team to follow. Leaders do not consider themselves above any task that is part of obtaining the objective and they do not ask their team members to do something they would never do.
Leadership is about encouraging a sense of morale in others and this is achieved with action that puts the group in a position to win. When team members see their leader carrying out the group objective, they will be encouraged to do the same. This is leadership by example.
Liza Kirsh, DYMAPAK