How would you define leadership for yourself?
Leadership is about influencing the behavior of individuals and groups, and motivating them towards a common goal. Therefore it is a communication process, one between a leader and follower. Leadership can be a positive force such as Abraham Lincoln or a negative force such as Adolf Hitler.
Leadership is a process, a state-of-mind, a choice one makes to demonstrate. Therefore, leadership is personal and unique to the individual. Leaders who demonstrate a positive force of leadership in their organizations do so by developing their followers potential and increase their quality of life, by building meaningful relationships based upon establishing trust, principles, credibility, respect, setting an example and equally important, giving clear structure and purpose to their followers work. Leaders take a genuine, authentic interest in their followers and work hard to provide meaning and purpose to their followers lives and work.
Leadership is about who you are at your core, your values, and your authentic self. If you know who you are, what you believe in, and what you want to do, then regardless of what you are or are not, you still have to make the choice to lead.
There was never a more prevalent time to demonstrate positive authentic leadership than when I served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army. Many people that I have encountered since I left the service don’t understand the how leaders are developed in today’s military. At the core we are taught the same sets of tools that all business leaders are taught, even how we use them and why we use is the same. We just might have different names or acronyms for the tools. In the military accomplishing the mission is everything, however, without a mentally and emotionally strong and engaged group of soldiers following you, the mission has a strong likeliness of failure. The health and welfare of a soldier always came before mission and this requires leaders who are confident in who they are, know what they believe in, and respect for the people who surround them, or simply put a great emotional intelligence ability. Leaders who were toxic and disregarded their soldiers for the sake of the mission, fail. Without the will of your followers and the freedom of their choice to follow you, you simply are not a leader.