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Leadership - how do you define & demonstrate it?

#1 Leadership - how do you define & demonstrate it?
13/04/2006 01:04


A question for strategy consultants in particular. The word leadership gets bandied about quite a lot. How do you folks define it and how do you demonstrate it? I'm ex-industry so I usually think of it in terms of projects I led especially where I seized the initiative to get the assignement. The other notion of course is 'thought leadership', which I think is more likely to occur in consulting. The consulting team approach suggests it will be difficult to show leadership otherwise except when assigned a managing role. Any comments?

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#2 Re: Leadership - how do you define & demonstrate it?
13/04/2006 12:01

sharad mahindrakar

message must flow downwards which tunes to your methods

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#3 Re: Leadership - how do you define & demonstrate it?
13/04/2006 13:05


- You can answer the first part of this with an Oxford dictionary. You can also get thought leadership about 'leadership' from resources like the Harvard review or top strategic consulting websites.

- The middle part of your paragraph looks fair enough to me. I heard it once described as 'the art of leadership and the science of management' by ANON. It perhaps shows the difference between what you are supposed to do in business, and what feels best for yourself and others.

- It also saves time to avoid the 'leadership by doing' and 'leadership by thinking' debate. Both activities must surely have scope for leading. Industrialists probably spend more time doing and strategy consultants spend comparatively more time thinking, but there are many exceptions and it can simply become labelling for the sake of it. There are leading captains of industry who show leadership in world-class innovation, and then there are strategy consultants who struggle to switch on photocopiers. My apologies to all strategy consultants that are adept at this task!

- It is more difficult to show leadership if you are not in a leadership role, but that is quite a managerial attitude. Alot of Chairman have little chance to manage anymore, versus leading, and they are often not in a managing role, by definition.

- It is best to avoid asking teams about leadership too often in my experience, especially when the voting system is absent or unfair. As Churchill said 'it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time', and by God does our government like forms these days!

- My only real comment is therefore to change your definition slightly to 'seizing the initiative to achieve an assignment', because you can show leadership in projects. Alternatively define what you 'got' by demonstrating it in terms of quality or quantity. Any thoughts?

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#4 Re: Leadership - how do you define & demonstrate it?
27/04/2006 16:18


Firstly, differentiate strongly between "Leadership" and "Management" as these are totally different things. I agree totally that Leadership is an art - ignore miltary leadership because thats 'regimentation' in most cases. Leadership is about a lot of so-called softer things like ideas, motivation, encouragement, example etc ..... think football manager or Richard Branson. Management is the more mundane task of meeting targets, turning the handle and making the numbers add up. Few are both.

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