Bernard Bass observed, “There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept.”
But isn’t that part of the beauty of leadership — those different shades of meaning that bring greater focus and clarity to leadership. John Maxwell taught me, “Leadership is influence.” The one definition of leadership that I have memorized. Yet over the years I have added a few other definitions and answers to what leadership is thanks to John Maxwell teaching me to file great quotes away. May these “leadership is …” responses feed your soul this Friday.
“Leadership is disciplined passion.” — James Kouses and Barry Posner
“Leadership is like third grade: it means repeating the significant things.” — Max Depree
“Leadership is knowing what to do next, knowing why that’s important, and knowing how to bring the appropriate resources to bear on the need at hand.” — Bobb Biehl
“Leadership is the ability to get a person to do what you want him to do, when you want it done, in a way you want it done, because he wants to do it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Leadership is getting people to look beyond their own job description for ways to improve and challenge the process.” — Maureen Fries
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.” — Peter Drucker
“Leadership is the art of serving God by helping His people become more like His Son through the indefatigable pursuit of His vision and values.” — George Barna
“Leadership is not something that is done to people, like fixing your teeth. Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” — Bill Bradley
“Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” — Stephen Covey
“Leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those who are led. The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders.” — Mary Parker Follett
“Leadership is the catalytic gift that energizes, directs, and empowers all other gifts.” — Bill Hybels
Leadership is influence is still my favorite, but if I had to come up with my own: “Leadership is influencing people to fulfill their God-given purpose from generation to generation.” Such legacy leadership that reproduces leadership is my favorite kind of leadership.
So how about it, how do you complete the sentence: Leadership is …?