Leadership is varied in its many understandings and interpretations. Over the centuries, there have been many perspectives as to the nature and function of leadership. No one doubts its necessity. Many question its source, qualities, effects, and virtue. Here is a sampling of some of those perspectives.
Most of what leaders have that enables them to lead is learned. Leadership is not a mysterious activity. It is possible to describe the tasks that leaders perform. (John W. Garner)
. . . citizen leaders do not usually choose leadership. They do not even seek it. They leave their private lives reluctantly for these public roles. (Richard A. Couto)
The great leader is seen as a servant first, and that simple fact is the key to his greatness. The best test is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? (Robert K. Greenleaf)
One of the most universal cravings or our times is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership. (James MacGregor Burns)
Would be leaders learn to manage their time more wisely. Would be leaders learn that self pity and resentment are like toxic substances. Would be leaders learn the old truth that most people are not for or against you but rather preoccupied with themselves. Would be leaders learn to breakout of their comfortable imprisonments ; they learn to cast aside dull routines and habits that enslave most of us. Would be leaders learn to become truly sharing and caring people–in their families, in their professions, and in their communities. And would be leaders constantly learn too that they have more to give than they have ever given , no matter how much they have given. (Thomas E. Cronin)
Leadership is “the process of influencing an organized group toward accomplishing its goals.” Leadership is a social influence process shared among all members of a group. Leadership is not restricted to the influence exerted by someone in a particular position or role; followers are part of the leadership process, too. (Richard L. Hughes, Robert C. Ginnett, Gordon R. Curphy)
From its infancy, the study of history has been the study of leaders–what they did and why they did it. (Bernard M. Bass)
Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils–no, nor the human race, as I believe–and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day. (Plato)
For he who would learn to command well must, as men say, first of all learn to obey. (Aristotle)
Learn to lead in a nourishing manner. Learn to lead without being possessive. Learn to be helpful without taking the credit. Learn to lead without coercion. (Lao-tzu)
But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Jesus Christ)
What is your philosophy of leadership?