Leadership Defined

October 7, 2011

Leadership, Personal Excellence

Learning anything first requires an understanding of what it is that you are trying to accomplish.  This is particularly true when examining a complex concept like leadership.  There are many definitions of leadership, with many of them centering on ‘influence’.  The US Army definition speaks of providing influence by providing purpose, direction and motivation.  It also addresses the purpose of Army leadership – getting the job done and improving the organization.  The Guardian Leadership definition builds on the Army’s definition.

Guardian Leadership is credibly motivating others to achieve the Mission while constantly improving the organization.

This definition brings focus to four main leader actions or competencies that leaders must learn and perform:

  • building credibility
  • motivating
  • achieving the Mission
  • improving the organization


Identifying these leader actions starts you down the path to learning leadership.  You can learn what attributes others value in leaders and develop those attributes to build credibility and voluntary followership.

You can build an understanding of motivation and motivational theory. Knowledge of motivational theory can lead to effective application in the real world.

Understanding the Mission indicates the underlying competencies the leader needs to develop to get the job done.

Improving the organization means that the leader needs to develop themselves, their followers and the processes (management) that support their leadership.

How do you eat an elephant?

On the surface, learning leadership can be a daunting task.  The belief that leaders are born and not made simply excuses bad leaders who fail to make an effort.  You can learn to be an effective leader.  Like eating an elephant, you break your development down into manageable bites. 

Please comment: How do you define leadership?

, , , ,


Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.

One Response to “Leadership Defined”

  1. Jim Jordan Says:

    I like Ron Heifetz’s Adaptive Leadership philosophy. Leaders mobilize people to move from an inadequate behavior to a new, adequate behavior. In policing, especially, adaptation is a constant. Leaders need to be observing, learning and intervening in a continuous cycle of motivating their personnel.

    Another topic that gets too little mention is Followership. Leaders need to remember that following is a dynamic and active response, not a reactionary and passive one.

    The First Follower is critical. Like the second person to stand when people are unsure if its right to give a standing ovation. The first one up usually stands along for send. Once the First Follower stands, the whole room follows.


Leave a Reply