Leadership Explained by the Internet
If management is defined as getting things done through others, then leadership should be defined as the social and informal sources of influence that you use to inspire action taken by others. It means mobilizing others to want to struggle toward a common goal. Great leaders help build an organization’s human capital, then motivate individuals to take concerted action. Leadership also includes an understanding of when, where, and how to use more formal sources of authority and power, such as position or ownership. Increasingly, we live in a world where good management requires good leaders and leadership. While these views about the importance of leadership are not new (see “Views on Managers Versus Leaders”), competition among employers and countries for the best and brightest, increased labor mobility (think “war for talent” here), and hyper competition puts pressure on firms to invest in present and future leadership capabilities.
P&G provides a very current example of this shift in emphasis to leadership as a key principle of management. For example, P&G recruits and promotes those individuals who demonstrate success through influence rather than direct or coercive authority. Internally, there has been a change from managers being outspoken and needing to direct their staff, to being individuals who electrify and inspire those around them. Good leaders and leadership at P&G used to simply having followers, whereas, in today’s society, good leadership means followership and bringing out the best in your peers. This is one of the key reasons that P&G has been consistently ranked among the top ten most admired companies in the United States for the last three years, according to Fortune magazine. Ranking of Most Admired Firms for 2006, 2007, 2008. http://www.fortune.com (accessed October 15, (2008).
Whereas P&G has been around for some 170 years, another winning firm in terms of leadership is Google, which has only been around for little more than a decade. Both firms emphasize leadership in terms of being exceptional at developing people. Google has topped Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for the past two years. Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, built a company around the idea that work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun. http://www.google.com/intl/en/corporate/tenthings.html (accessed October 15, 2008). Google’s culture is probably unlike any in corporate America, and it’s not because of the ubiquitous lava lamps throughout the company’s headquarters or that the company’s chef used to cook for the Grateful Dead. In the same way, Google puts users first when it comes to online service, Google espouses that it puts employees first when it comes to daily life in all of its offices. There is an emphasis on team achievements and pride in individual accomplishments that contribute to the company’s overall success. Ideas are traded, tested, and put into practice with a swiftness that can be dizzying. Observers and employees note that meetings that would take hours elsewhere are frequently little more than a conversation in line for lunch and few walls separate those who write the code from those who write the checks. This highly communicative environment fosters a productivity and camaraderie fueled by the realization that millions of people rely on Google results. Leadership at Google amounts to a deep belief that if you give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, they will; What is a Leadership?.
Successful Leaders around the World
- My definition of a leader…is a man who can persuade people to do what they don’t want to do, or do what they’re too lazy to do, and like it.
– Harry S. Truman (1884–1972), 33rd president of the United States.
- You cannot manage men into battle. You manage things; you lead people.
– Grace Hopper (1906–1992), Admiral, U.S. Navy.
- Managers have subordinates—leaders have followers.
– Chester Bernard (1886–1961), former executive and author of Functions of the Executive.
- The first job of a leader is to define a vision for the organization…Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
– Warren Bennis (1925–), author and leadership scholar.
- A manager takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to.
– Rosalynn Carter (1927–), First Lady of the United States, 1977–1981.
Leadership Explained by the Internet? Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to “lead” or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. The literature debates various viewpoints: contrasting Eastern and Western approaches to leadership, and also (within the West) US vs. European approaches. US academic environments define leadership as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. Leadership seen from a European and non-academic perspective encompasses a view of a leader who can be moved not only by communitarian goals but also by the search for personal power. In a holistic perspective, as the European researcher Daniele Trevisani highlights: “Leadership is a holistic spectrum that can arise from; (1) higher levels of physical power, need to display power and control others, force superiority, ability to generate fear, or group member’s need for a powerful group protector (Primal Leadership), (2) superior mental energies, superior motivational forces, perceivable in communication and behaviors, lack of fear, courage, determination (Psychoenergetic Leadership), (3) higher abilities in managing the overall picture (Macro-Leadership), (4) higher abilities in specialized tasks (Micro-Leadership), (5) higher ability in managing the execution of a task (Project Leadership), and (6) higher level of values, wisdom, and spirituality (Spiritual Leadership), where any Leader derives its Leadership from a unique mix of one or more of the former factors”.