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November 24, 2005
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?