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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Defining Leadership

Management Consulting News offers this interview with author Aubrey C. Daniels on "What Followers Reveal about Leaders." Daniels helps the world’s leading organizations apply the principles of behavioral science to the workplace. His consulting firm, Aubrey Daniels International, works with business leaders to develop management strategies that reinforce behaviors for long-term success

The essence of his research:

  • Although leadership has been dissected and written about for hundreds of years, the failure rate for American business leaders is 50 to 60 percent. Clearly, we still have a problem.
  • There’s no real agreement on the definition of leadership. Usually it’s defined so broadly that it’s up to the individual to decide what constitutes good leadership
  • Leadership is not a personality trait. But charismatic profiles tend to make people believe that’s all there is to it.
  • A definition of leadership: the role of the leader is to establish the conditions under which all performers will choose to execute the mission, vision, and values of the organization.
  • Leadership is about affecting behavior, so when we talk about leading people, we should really talk about leading people’s behavior.
  • What we’re writing about is measuring the effectiveness of leaders by examining the behavior of their followers. We define leadership, not only by a leader’s behavior, but also by the behavior of a leader’s followers.

BOTTOMLINE: The most successful leaders transcend personality to develop a follower’s loyalty to the organization’s goals. A leader must continually challenge followers to reach for attainable goals so they will stretch and grow

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