Volume 1, Issue 11

November 2012

Blue Ridge Conference


Leadership Defined

I would like to share with you what I believe to be the very best definition of leadership. Listening to the great speakers who presented at last month’s Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership, I realized that many, in their own interesting ways, agree with this view of leadership.

Ken Blanchard, the well-published leadership expert (and co-author with Mark Miller, one of this year’s Conference excellent keynote speakers), in his inspiring and instructive book ‘Leading at a Higher Level’ (2010), defines leadership as follows:

“Leadership is the process of achieving worthwhile results while acting with respect, care and fairness for the well-being of all involved.”

This definition highlights three key components that are important aspects of successful leadership; you will probably not be an effective leader if one of the components is missing.

The first key point to glean from the definition is that leadership is a process. True leadership is not about achieving quick self-serving objectives. In leading others, you must balance long term results and human satisfaction. In order to achieve this balance, leadership becomes a process that ensures what you are delivering and how you go about it are both effective.

The what is the second key component of the definition. First, a leader must strive for worthwhile results. This is what gets you and your team up in the morning and rearing to go. It is necessary for people to be engaged in their work and give it their best. Second, is the fact that leadership is about the well-being of all people involved. This requires you to be a servant leader, making the world a better place. A servant leader’s role is to help people be successful and achieve their goals.

Finally, this leads us to the how, the third key component: acting with respect, care and fairness is the only way leaders can effectively deal with others, no matter what their purpose. Great leaders get to know their team members (their stories, their personality and their preferences) and ensure each one of them remains engaged while feeling good about their work and themselves.

You may not agree with me that this is the best definition of leadership; I hope, however, that it challenges you to think about this complex and important concept…in a small way, kind of like being on the mountain attending the Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership!

Remember: if you enjoyed your time on the Mountain, tell a friend or a colleague. And don’t forget to look for us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube!

Gary Droghini, Director of Learning & Development

Coats North America

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