Define leadership. Not easy. There are so many views about leadership that it is difficult to create a concise definition. I am taking a multi-quarter leadership course right now, and one of our tasks as a class was to define leadership. As a result of the values we instill in a definition, it is difficult to reach consensus on a definition. However, the exercise is worthwhile as it has challenged us to consider the most important aspects of leadership and convey it in a clear and simple way.
My personal definition of leadership has a more pragmatic view. I am more focused on accomplishment rather than the ideals of great leadership. As a result, my definition reads: Leadership is the ability to engage, empower, and energize people to accomplish significant goals according to a shared vision.
Firstly, leadership is more than a mere act or process, but is an ability. Good leaders engage those around them (in turn making them a team), which is not easy in large stagnant companies. These leaders then empower their people to work together collectively and collaboratively. In the process, this group or team is energized to take action. Yet, the action taken is towards the accomplishment of common goals according to a shared vision. The vision may or may not have originated with the leader, but in the end, the leader can communicate the vision so that it is shared by the larger community for the purpose of accomplishing significant goals.
This is the kind of leadership needed for strategic execution.