Leadership: From the Outside Looking In

The word ‘leadership’ can be defined in a number of ways depending who you ask. Big names in the field of leadership like John Maxwell, Bill Gates and even businessdictionary.com all focus on different elements when defining this catch term.

So where should you start?

Well at the most basic level leadership is defined as the act of leading a group of people – but there’s so much more to it than that. All of the different definitions I have come across bring a lot of great points to the table yet based on my personal experiences in the field of education and psychology, I define leadership as:

“An individual who has a passion for helping others develop their skills in a cohesive and respectful group dynamic while working towards a common goal.”

This definition can be broken down to pin-point a variety of skills that a true leader has. Some of the most important skills include:

1. A leader has a passion for helping others; they focus on helping their team members become leaders.
It’s not about controlling others or proving you’re the best. A true leader is happy when they’re able to collaboratively work with others to improve their skills like: project completion, communication or team brainstorming.

2. A leader naturally earns respects of their team members, they don’t command it.
A true leader is able to earn the respect of their team members by giving credit to their contributions, actively including them in team work and genuinely complimenting their work.

3. A leader always goes above and beyond the call of duty for their team, no matter the expectations set.
Doing more than you are required always shows that you are a dedicated and hardworking team member. A true leader can do this in a number of ways including: adding an extra element to the project, working one-on-one with a member if they are struggling or even bringing in a snack to a long meeting.

4. A leader is dedicated, effective and always has one eye on the goal.
One of the main reason why an individual is given the title of leader is because they are highly motivated, focused and creative. They are given the opportunity to lead because they have proven themselves in another area of school and are reliable.

Being a leader is not always fun and games, when in this position there is usually a group that is depending on you and looking to you for direction. With great power comes great responsibility.

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