As the word, “leadership” is getting used more often; it is almost on its verge of losing its meaning. It is most often confused for manager or boss, when the actual meaning is quite far from these words. Even when asked the meaning of the word “leadership”, it sounds like a snobbish question that has been intentionally thrown on someone to catch him or her off guard.
A quick internet search would prove that most of us believe that the word is inextricably attached to people like Sheryl Sandberg or Steve Jobs. Though the fact is bound to be far from what it seems. Now, it is sure to be found in both men and women at the same time, though the manifestation makes all the difference.
Leadership is a state of mind or a frame of mind and is not just a job. Any management curriculum will tell you the difference between a manager and a leader and would prove that being a leader is much better than being a manager. The only issue with all this is the simple fact that you cannot be a leader just by reading about it.
You can take the example of navigating a ship and relate the same to being a leader. No matter if you have hundreds of people working under you as the captain of the ship or if you are alone. In both cases the bottom line is the same; chart the course of the ship and make it reach its destination, while making sure it does not sink on the way. Leadership mainly has to do with navigating the number of people you have (no matter how many), and make sure they reach the goal, without crashing or sinking along the way. A leader needs to know his/her own values and should be able to convert the values into visions, not just for yourself, but for others as well.
How to View Leadership
Think of leadership as being the best motivator of individuals. You will need to use different ways of approaching each member of a team and in the end, if you are successful, the team will reach the goal together. Lead each person and you will become a leader. If you are working alone, lead yourself (often the hardest) to reach your goal.
Having the word printed on your business card will not make you a leader, it is a state of mind, which you need to work for on your own. It is definitely not a job title that could be used at the end of your card, but rather has to be earned. Think about the difference between demanding vs. commanding respect.