Leadership in itself is defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” Yet, this definition does not clearly define leadership because there are many components that make up leadership including communication, influence, mentorship, responsibility, motivation, support, ethics, decision making, contribution, vision, teamwork, and management. In order for individuals to become great leaders they must understand these components.
- Communication-Leaders understand that communication has more to do with the connection made with their listeners than it has to do with the words coming out of their mouth. Therefore, leaders take their time, listening to their followers to find common ground. Once this is achieved they are better able to convey their message in a simple and clear manner.
- Influence-Influence has nothing to do with your position in a company or organization. In fact, anyone can have influence on someone else because influence is the ability to personally affect others’ actions, decisions, opinions or thinking. Having influence only occurs when followers feel as though a person or leader can be trusted. John Maxwell noted that “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less” and this is true.
- Mentorship-Building a relationship with followers is key in leadership. Becoming a mentor to followers allows the leader to teach others in his or her area of expertise but it also allows the leader to learn about each follower and guide him or her in the right direction for success.
- Responsibility-Leaders understand that every action that a leader takes can greatly influence the outcome of their success, therefore, they accept full responsibility for the performance of their followers. In addition, leaders are not afraid to accept criticism for mistakes or take steps to address concerns and make amends with those who have been inconvenienced.
- Motivation- Motivation is a crucial element in setting and attaining personal and organizational goals. Therefore, through relationship building with followers, leaders learn their wants and needs. They use this information to better encourage these individuals which helps their followers to become motivated in their task. This in turn develops highly effective individuals.
- Support-Leaders understand that lending support is important in leadership for followers who may be struggling with a task. Though leaders communicate their expectations and directions while ensuring that it was clearly defined and understood. Leaders do not simply assign tasks and then receive the results. Instead, if a follower is struggling the leader works through the tasks with the follower to improve skills and talent.
- Ethics- Leaders know what they value. They also recognize the importance of ethical behavior. The best leaders exhibit both their values and their ethics in their leadership style and actions. Leadership ethics and values should be visible because the leader exhibits them in all actions. By demonstrating this through action, it visibly will create trust between the leader and followers.
- Decision-Leaders understand how to balance emotion with reason and make decisions that positively impact themselves, their followers and their organizations.
- Contribution-Leaders think about their contribution to their followers. They reflect on how their leadership is making a difference to their followers, organizations and community. Leaders recognize by asking “how their leadership is making a difference” helps them understand how their own actions have contributed to followers and their organization, whether good or bad.
- Vision- Effective leaders define a vision and build followers' commitment to it.
- Teamwork-Leaders understand that teamwork consist of collaboration from their followers and allow their followers to be heard.
- Management-Leaders understand that leadership refers to an individual's ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.
Each components that makes up leadership is very important and is easily executed by a successful leader. However, if you find yourself struggling with any one of these components, it does not mean you will never become a successful leader. Leadership is teachable. All you have to be is willing to learn!