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7 Definitions of Leadership

Leadership is a term that is often used, but it can be challenging to define. At its core, leadership is the ability to influence and guide others towards a common goal or vision. A great leader is someone who inspires and motivates their team, communicates effectively, and is accountable for their actions. In this article, we will explore seven definitions of leadership with real-life examples.

Definitions for leadership

In businesses, different kinds of leaders are needed depending on the leader’s role. Taking this into account, we have defined leadership in 7 ways to understand it properly.

  1. Leadership is the process of social influence.
    A great leader has the ability to influence and guide others towards a common goal or vision. This definition emphasizes the importance of social influence in leadership, which can be seen in the example of Nelson Mandela. Mandela was a great leader who used his influence to guide South Africa towards a more peaceful and equitable society.
  2. Leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate others.
    A great leader is someone who can communicate a clear vision and purpose and inspire their team to work towards that goal. An example of a leader who embodies this definition is Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey is a successful businesswoman and media personality who has used her platform to inspire and motivate millions of people around the world.
  3. Leadership is taking responsibility for outcomes. 
    A great leader is someone who is accountable for their actions and decisions and takes responsibility for the outcomes, whether they are positive or negative. This definition is exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi, who took responsibility for leading India to independence from British rule.
  4. Leadership can be defined as visionary thinking.
    A great leader has the ability to think outside the box, identify opportunities, and create a clear vision for the future. An example of a leader who embodies this definition is Elon Musk. Musk is the founder of several successful companies, including Tesla and SpaceX, and has a reputation for his visionary thinking and innovative ideas.
  5. Leadership can also be defined as building relationships.
    A great leader understands the importance of building strong relationships with team members, stakeholders, and customers. An example of a leader who embodies this definition is Bill Gates. Gates built Microsoft into one of the most successful companies in the world, in part by building strong relationships with his team and customers.
  6. Leadership is defined as setting direction.
    A leader is someone who can create a clear vision and direction for the organization or team. This definition is exemplified by Steve Jobs, who was known for his ability to set direction and guide Apple towards success.
  7. Leadership can also be defined as creating change.
    A great leader has the ability to identify areas for improvement and drive change within the organization or team. An example of a leader who embodies this definition is Malala Yousafzai. Yousafzai is an advocate for women’s education and has used her platform to drive change and raise awareness about this important issue.

Importance of different leadership definitions

Understanding the various definitions of leadership is crucial as it helps to identify leadership strengths and weaknesses, facilitates effective leadership development, encourages diversity in leadership styles, enhances team performance, and promotes effective decision-making. Each definition provides a different perspective on what leadership means and highlights the different skills, qualities, and characteristics that are needed to be an effective leader. By embracing this diversity, organizations can develop leaders who are better equipped to lead in different contexts and create a more inclusive and innovative organizational culture. It also helps individuals identify their own leadership strengths and weaknesses and work towards developing their skills in areas where they may be lacking.

Executive education

Executive education plays an important role in developing effective leadership skills and enhancing the performance of leaders in organizations. Through executive education programs, leaders can gain new knowledge, insights, and skills that are essential for effective leadership in today’s complex business environment. These programs offer a range of training and development opportunities, such as seminars, workshops, and courses, that are designed to help leaders acquire new skills and develop their existing ones.

The importance of executive education in leadership lies in the fact that it provides leaders with a platform to learn new techniques and strategies for effective leadership, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and gain exposure to different perspectives and best practices. It also helps to bridge the gap between theory and practice by offering real-world examples and case studies that can be applied to the challenges and opportunities that leaders face in their organizations.

Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM)

The Berkeley Executive Program in Management (Berkeley EPM) is a general management program that prepares you for the next level of leadership. This program is created in such a way that it helps transform proven leaders into global executives ready to lead the charge. The Berkeley Executive Program in Management encourages its participants to reflect, enhance strategic thinking, and develop authentic leadership. It is designed to create an immersive, relevant, and dynamic learning experience for senior executives, ready for the next level of the leadership challenge. It includes modules on advanced management competencies, leading innovative change, etc., which are a must for a person in C-level positions to ensure the growth of the company.

MIT Professional Education Technology Leadership Program (TLP)

This is a multi-modular program delivered by MIT faculty on campus and virtually, geared towards the development needs of the next generation of technology CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, and emerging leaders.  The program is designed for technology leaders and experienced practitioners from large corporations as well as startups—innovation-oriented firms that are focusing on leveraging emerging digital technologies to remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace. After completing TLP, you will be part of a cohort of global leaders and practitioners. You will also become an integral part of the global MIT Professional Education network and will be considered an alumni of TLP as well as MIT Professional Education.

MIT Professional Education | Technology Leadership Program

Chicago Booth Accelerated Development Program (ADP)

The Chicago Booth ADP is a rigorous learning journey across 8 modules spread over 9 months and gives you access to the latest management thinking and tools. It is taught by an award-winning faculty at the Chicago Booth School of Business and accomplished senior business leaders. It creates an amazing opportunity to build a strong personal brand and competitively position yourself and your organization. ADP actively engages you in a collaborative learning environment with accomplished peers. The Chicago Booth Accelerated Development Program is designed for the global executive with a focus on delivering impact and leveraging the significant history of the Accelerated Development Program delivered across the globe. The program is tailored for the busy schedules of senior professionals and is blended in design, with academic on-campus modules and off-campus experiences with online learning and live interactions to complement the on-campus experiences. You will build a global community of like-minded leaders and will become part of the Global ADP Network for life.

Conclusion

Leadership is a complex and multifaceted concept that can be challenging to define. However, at its core, leadership is about the ability to influence and guide others towards a common goal or vision. A great leader is someone who inspires and motivates their team, communicates effectively, and is accountable for their actions. The seven definitions of leadership that we have explored in this article highlight the different aspects of leadership and the varied ways in which it can be expressed in real life. By understanding the different definitions of leadership, we can better appreciate the importance of this critical aspect of any organization or team.

The Oxford Dictionary defines leadership as, “the action of leading a group of people or an organization.” To explain In simple words, leadership is about taking risks and challenging the status quo and leaders motivate employees to achieve something new and better.

“A leader is someone who can think strategically, simplify the strategy so everyone in the organization can understand it and communicate that strategy simply, enthusiastically, and in a caring way.” is a unique definition of leader according to Ajay Banga, Ex-CEO, MasterCard.

Leadership skills are an essential component in positioning executives to make thoughtful decisions about their organization’s mission and goals, and properly allocate resources to achieve those directives. Valuable leadership skills include the ability to delegate, inspire, and communicate effectively.

An executive education program such as Chicago Booth Accelerated Development Program (ADP), can help you prepare for driving innovation in an organization.

Padmavati

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