While there are many different understandings of leadership, I have a simple definition. It is influencing a group of people to go somewhere and do something.
Within this definition there are four key ideas. The first is the idea of influencing. I’ve already quoted Maxwell on influencing as the basis of leadership. The second idea is that it refers to people. The third is that it is about doing something and the final that it is about direction and method (where and how).
These four areas relate to the four areas of talents that I’ve been discussing. Each person will have a primary area, whether it is influencing, relationship building, completing (or achieving) or thinking. Each person will also have a secondary area. However, nobody is strong in all four areas.
What does this mean for leadership? It means that to truly do leadership well requires more than one person. It requires a team.
It is vitally important to understand what talent areas and perspectives we bring to leadership. I’m primarily a thinking person. I’m secondary a relationship person. I struggle in the areas of achieving and influencing. I’m actually very strongly a thinking person and while I have some relationship perspective, it isn’t nearly as strong as others.
Within my leadership teams I know that I need to have people that bring other views and skills. I need people that will help me be aware of the relationship issues that are happening. I need people that will fulfill the influencing roles. I also need people that will help get the tasks finished and bring that detailed perspective of a completer.
Having a leadership team doesn’t mean that I absolve myself of the responsibility of leading and getting things done. Every team needs a team leader. But within that team I know that I will work with people to achieve real leadership.