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November 24, 2005
What is leadership?
Over the past few days we have been thinking about leadership and coming up with our own definitions. Initially, I came up with: "the process of influence" because it makes sense to me that every time someone tries to influence, they try to lead. But it doesn't quite cover it. Through our group analysis of other definitions we identified three common themes: Influence, relationships and goals. Relationships must exist as to lead, there has to be someone to follow, and a realtionship must exist. Also, to lead implies a direction i.e. the achievement of some purpose of goal. Our analysis was corroborated by other authors on the subject (which was pleasing). The definition that our group came up with was: Leadership is the process of influence between the leader and followers to achieve goals.
Paul's definition was similar to ours but he specifies 'shared goals' in his definition: Leadership is the process of influencing the thoughts and activities of followers toward achievement of shared goals. This definition doesn't work for me. It implies that these shared goals have to exist for leadership to take place. I suggest that leadership encompasses the creation of these shared goals. I think that the creation of shared values is something more than selling an idea.
To create shared values, there has to be some influence. This could be an event or equally a person using their influence over others to bring them round to a single point of view. So, I would refine this definition to the following: Leadership is the process of influencing the thoughts and activities of followers to create and achieve shared goals. For the moment i'm happy with this but I know that I will refine this again and again.
I've also found myself interested in entrepreneurship and leadership. Entrepreneurs display a large amount of personal leadership, but are entrepreneurs always effective leaders? Do entrepreneurs have to have leadership qualities to be successful?
November 21, 2005
I can't really think of stuff to write today. It's the first day of 'Leadership and Excellence'. I'm sure i'm going to enjoy the next two weeks, as I learn about different leadership theories and how I can translate these into practice. How well will these work for me? How well do they work for other people? Will I be able to spot specific management styles as I walk around? Are there specific methods for breaking the cycle of poor leadership?
I've been thinking about why business people choose to look like they've been cloned i.e. wearing a suit, but that choosing to wear the same type of outfit as others in a social situation, for example, would be just plain creepy. I don't get it. It all seems so shallow and myopic. Maybe i'm being naive. What happened to actually talking to people and finding about what they have to say, rather than what their clothes say about them? And no comments about 'that's just the way that it is'. I get that. Sorry peeps, I have the grumps. Can you hear the snarling?