One of the greatest challenges of leadership is the definition. There are literally thousands of books, documents, and lecturers that have each defined what their idea of leadership is. There are definitions for corporate leadership, civic leadership, home leadership, and more. We attempt to break down leadership and make it more complicated than it is. At its core, leadership is an individual achieving results through people.
In many cases you are considered a leader if you hold a particular title, have a certain set of personality traits, a particular skill, or lucky enough to be a born leader. None of these by itself define leadership, mainly because leadership is an individual decision. Just because someone is in a leadership position doesn't mean they necessarily exercise leadership. In some cases the informal leader exhibits leadership even though they aren't in a leadership role.
The people focused leader is adaptive and receptive to change. They understand the need to change in order to stay a step ahead in order to meet the demands and challenges of a rapidly changing marketplace. They have a vision for their organization that is clearly communicated throughout and the ability to influence at all levels in order to meet organizational goals and objectives.
The people focused leader realizes that it's not just management that drives performance in the organization, but also its people. Happy employees are productive employees. The people focused leader understands the importance of creating an environment that encourages diverse views and stimulates employees to take initiative, work as a team, and continuously learn.
The people focused leader has the interpersonal skills to develop relationships throughout the organization especially in the new millennium where many workers have more knowledge than those that are leading them.
The people focused leader is quickly replacing the autocratic leaders of yesterday. They recognize the importance of the people element to be critical to the success of the organization.
With the marketplace becoming more global, competitive, and turbulent, characterized by a highly mobile, skilled, and educated workforce. The people focused leader will need to demonstrate their "people skills" to drive organizational performance and business success.
As we move forward in the new millennium leadership will be the differentiating factor between successful and unsuccessful organizations. Rapid innovation and quality improvements will require even greater effort from the workforce in the future, and those that are able to change, influence, and transform his/her organization will be ready to lead their organizations well into the 21st century.