Definition of Leadership: Raising People Up

“Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

— Peter F. Drucker

As the leader of your team, what do you think leadership means? For a lot of the leaders, I have known throughout my career, it has centered around that certain type of personality. Someone who we think has “it” or a natural born leader or the magnetic personality. We may feel envious when we encounter this person, they seem to do all the right things, senior leadership is enamored with them and they have been dubbed “high potential”. And, sometimes that is true.

Contrast this leader with the one who may embody the description from Peter Drucker’s quote. This is leadership that transcends to something bigger than us. The vision becomes “lifted to higher sights” because it becomes a shared team vision that is accessible to all the players, yet each player feels personally stretched and changed from the vision. The individual players on a team are asked to perform at a higher level. Indeed, the bar is set to show talent on the team that they can exceed their setpoint and acheive even more. And finally, the more we engage in leadership that focuses on a vision for all and belief in the potential of our direct reports, we become better leaders than before!

What is your definition of leadership? Does it involve a vision that raises others up? Does it center around the belief in the potential of those we lead? 

Topics: leadersdefinition of leadershipleadership development

Peggy Titus-Hall

2/13/2013, 10:06:19 PM

One of the best concepts around leadership is emotional intelligence. The realization that leaders must be more connected with the people they lead is a 21st century revelation and one that needs to be continuously presented to corporations ’round the world.