What Is Leadership?

At first glance, this question seems easy enough to answer. However, a little bit of reflection will immediately show that the Word Leadership is a rather complex word that means different things to different people in different social circles and cultures. Each of us believe we have a good idea about what it means to be a good leader, but when it comes to defining the concept, the picture is not so clear. For some, leadership is motivation, for others, it equals results, for others it is inspiration.

A general definition of leadership may be described as having some of these common traits:
1.. Having Vision. Leaders with a vision and have the ability to share it with others, inspire others to share a common goal and  direct the efforts and dedication of the entire team.

  1. Ability to Motivation

Leadership encourages the team to strive towards a common vision. Through motivation, the leader channels the energy and professional potential of their team to achieve the group objectives.

  1. Understand to lead is to Serve

A strong leader supports the team. Group members must have and feel the support of their leader, the tools needed to do their jobs properly must be available to them, they must have recognition for their efforts and know that there is a person paying attention in order to correct bad habits.

  1. Is Creative and encourages Creativity

Good leaders are able to create an environment that will encourage all the members of their team to develop their skills and imagination, so that they can contribute to the common project and vision of the company. Encouraging creativity and ideas of others help leaders encourage innovation.

  1. Strong at Managing the team.

The leader must be at the forefront to lead and guide their team throughout the whole process until the goal is reached. It is important for leaders to lead and allow the team to lead. Know when to hold tight and let go will allow the team to get the chance to develop, both personally and professionally. Pure management focuses on the tasks, real leadership focuses on the people.

  1. Emphasise Excellence rather than perfection.

A leader understands that the pursuit of excellence is far more sustainable than the pursuit of perfection. Perfectionists strive for impossible goals. Pursuers of excellence enjoy meeting high standards that are within reach.

Perfectionists value themselves by what they do. Pursuers of excellence value themselves by who they are. Perfectionists can be devastated by failure; pursuers of excellence learn from it

  1. Taking risks

The leader is the one responsible for taking the risks that others are not willing to take. They are confident enough to make a decision, and if they make a mistake, the leader must have the courage to admit mistakes and take the right path, without blaming it on the team. Good leaders know how to get ahead of their time, they see opportunities where others can’t.

  1. Balancing the interests of various stakeholders in the organisation.

Coordinating and balancing the conflicting interests of all members and stakeholders within the organisation.

  1. Being a true leader has nothing to do with rank

The definition of leadership has nothing to do with the hierarchy or position of anyone in the company. It is about the commitment to achieving a goal and whose conviction they manage to transmit to others through enthusiasm and optimism to reach a common goal as a team.


Another more complex definition describes Leadership as a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.

Key differences:

  • Leadership stems from social influence, not authority or power
  • Leadership requires others, and that implies they don’t need to be “direct reports”
  • No mention of personality traits, attributes, or even a title; there are many styles, many paths, to effective leadership
  • It includes a goal, not influence with no intended outcome


Lastly, what makes this definition so different from many of the academic definitions out there is the inclusion of “maximizes the efforts”.

Although this curated article merely skims the various definitions of what leadership means, it is a good start towards uncovering the complex layers of that make up the definition of leadership.