Leadership: What Is It?

What is leadership?

An Easy Question?

What is leadership? One may think this is an easy question to answer. After all, millions of people in the world function as leaders. We all know that leadership is what leaders do. However, knowing that does not help us understand its components, how to improve it, or how to judge whether it is good or bad.


There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are leaders.  There has been an explosion of academic study on the subject. However, scholars have not developed one definition that captures the essence of leadership.

Leadership Is Complex

That’s because we actually know a great deal about leadership. The more we learn about it, the more we realize its complexity. That complexity makes the concept difficult to capture in a single definition.

What’s Your Definition?

Yet, there is value in describing leadership in a short, memorable statement. In the Leaders Alive! conversation which aired on December 5, 2013, Drs. Jeff and Renée Hale shared one of their favorite definitions  that offers real guidance for being a better leader on the job, in the community, and in the home.

Leadership is a process of influence. Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people toward accomplishing a goal in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader. – Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges.

Share your personal definition of leadership in the comments below. We will mention some of these on the air!

Listen to AM 1230 WJOB at 4:30 PM on Thursday, December 19th for the Leaders Alive! conversation: What is Self-Leadership?

We will be discussing self-leadership as a process of intentionally directing one’s own thinking, behavior, or development to accomplish a goal in one’s personal or professional life.

There will be on-air prizes!