Definition of Leadership

What Does It Mean?


Ethan Lin is the founder of and He has a passion to empower and develop people. Professionally, he is a corporate trainer focusing on sales training, leadership development and team building with his company Personality Central.

In this section Definition of Leadership, I will attempt to define leadership and break it down into its essence.

Leadership is a buzzword today. Everyone wants to be a leader. The word ‘leader’ is now used in titles and awards, sometimes obscuring its true meaning. It is used so frequently at the workplace that some staff roll their eyes when their boss is labeled a leader.

After reading so many definitions, I’ve decided that John Maxwell’s working definition is the most practical and easiest to understand. Here’s what he says:

“Leadership Is Influencing Others Toward A Common Goal.” John MAxwell

So according to his definition, leadership is described and defined by these two terms: influence and goal. They are necessary components of achieving leadership.

“This Is Where We’re Going.”

Goal – A leader guides his team toward an achievable goal. You can’t be a leader without a goal or an aim. What’s the point of calling yourself a leader, and yet not be leading anyone anywhere?


If you’re in charge of people in your organization, think about this: are you leading people anywhere better than where they are today? Do you have a vision?

Granted, there are some roles in management that simply don’t require the manager or the staff to have a vision. Their roles are simply to maintain status quo. If such is the case, perhaps setting a goal of minimal errors could be a possibility.

Above all, it is the vision that gives focus and direction to people. When you set targets and goals, people know what is expected of them and will work toward those goals more productively.

“Here’s Why We Need To Do This.”

Influence – You can have a goal, but if no one is following, then you’re not a leader. So, the other factor of leadership is to persuade people to follow you to achieve your goals. In other words, you need their buy-in.

Influence happens all the time. The more important question is:

Are you influencing your staff to head in the right direction toward your goal?

Some people simply don’t have influence. They think just because they have great ideas, people should listen to them; but because they don’t know how to articulate it, or they have no personal credibility, people simply ignore them.

Influence is when you can, through your words, get the precious buy-in from your team or organization. This is the mark of a leader.

So a leader must have these two skills: vision and influence. The vision of a better circumstance and the influence to cause people to follow.

Learn More About Leading.

In this section, you’re going to discover the basics of leadership and lay a foundation of understanding as to how to do it well.

Articles on Definition of Leadership

Importance of leadership today
We should never underestimate the importance of leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Understand why it’s so important to have leaders in today’s world.

What are Leadership Skills?
Leadership is not born, but it must be nurtured through time. Leadership skills, like any other skill can be learnt through practice and experience.

Difference between a Manager and a Leader
Most people who call themselves leaders are really just managers. Being a leader means that you must already be manager but it doesn’t does not work vice versa. Understand what makes a leader.

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