Really…. what is leadership?
Updated: Mar 24
Well, I am writing things now more and more often outside the theme of this blog again….. Perhaps I should change the scope.
My work focus has switched exclusively into something called ‘leadership development’ 2 years ago. My job title has the words ‘leadership development’ in it. Here is the story – At an evening drink with my university friends last year, I was asked what I do in my job. ‘Really….. what is leadership?’ There was a lot of ‘friendly suspicion’ on the words ‘leadership’ and ‘leadership development’ Perhaps these words are too widely and differently used. When it means everything, it means nothing. (In fact, I just google ‘leadership’, there are 783m search result.)
After the ‘interrogation’, I said to myself I should come up an elevator pitch of what leadership is…. at least to me. Recently, in exchanging emails with another practitioner, I think I am getting closer to the pitch. Here is an excerpt of my email:
….If I use 1 word to describe (or replace) leadership, it would be ‘consciousness’.
A good leader need to be first be conscious about self – strength, weakness, emotion, motivation, etc. It is about mobilizing self as a tool e.g. role modeling, vulnerability stuff. Consciousness also in the sense that a good leader helps others be more conscious e.g. arouse what they really need but not want, do the things which they limit themselves from doing….
I am pretty happy about the pitch, and also happy to further modify it. Perhaps I need a simple example.
What do you think?