What is Leadership?

I have been thinking a lot about leadership recently. Whether you are on the bike or in the boardroom, the success of your team depends on leadership. Leadership occurs at various levels in the organization and should be recognized for what it is.

There are basically two forms of leadership: Organizational and Personal. However, both of these types of leadership have two things in common. You need to have a vision of a future desired state, and you need to be able to inspire yourself and others to achieve it.

Organizational leadership is when we inspire others to achieve greater results. Although most people who practice organizational leadership have a title to go along with it, you do not have to have the title to be a leader in your organization. In some situations you may be an informal leader. People trust you and they know that by following you the outcomes will be positive.

Personal Leadership is more around gaining a vision of who you want to be and developing a plan around it. It may include writing your mission statement, or a vision statement, and working to achieve it. It may include going after and achieving a fitness goal. It may even include going after and achieving a promotion at work.

In both of these cases you need to have discipline. In fact Jim Collins in his book good to great outlines that the shift from a good organization to a great organization is a deliberate shift and that it takes discipline. He states it takes disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action. When all these are in place, we can move from good to great.

Might I suggest disciplined people begins with self. Implement self leadership by developing an idea of where you want to go, then lay out how you are going to get there. These two steps create disciplined thought. Then if we can stay the course we will have disciplined action. If these steps are followed we become disciplined people and we are able to help ourselves and our organizations achieve greatness.

Suggested actions:

1. Ask yourself if you have a clear vision for yourself and your organization. This differs greatly from a mission. Your mission explains why you exist. “To be the best (Insert type of organization here). Your vision is where you are going.  “Increase revenue by X% over last year”; “Find a cure for cancer by the end of the decade”. It should always be an achievable goal although difficult to achieve.

2. If you have a vision of where you want to be by the end of next year or in the next two years, write out a plan to get there. EX: Vision: Get my weight to 155 lbs and race a sub 10hr LOTOJA. Plan: Put in an average of 300 miles per week including sprints, intervals, hills and recovery. Hire a nutritionist to help with diet and proper nutrition. etc.

3. If others are required to help you achieve the goals make sure you communicate the goals to them and that they not only understand them, but agree with them and know what they need to do to help you achieve them.

4. Check in regularly to make sure you are tracking progress. Have people take accountability for what they have done to achieve the goals.


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