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YOu nailed it, Steve.



Good post. Reminds me of the W.L. Gore & Associates definition of leader: one who has followers. Basically, no one is given a "leadership" position. Individuals develop a new project and influence others to help. If they do, the influencer becomes a leader.

Becky Robinson

I am glad to see you back, Steve. This post is spot on. The idea of "laser-like clarity" makes perfect sense to me.

Morgan Cheng

I don't think leader should be defined in this way, even though a leader really should inspire others. This definition applies more for Coach.

Steve Roesler

Hi, David,

Geez, I'm glad you brought up the W.L. Gore thing; more people need to hear the simplicity in that. Indeed, it's all about influence and people allowing you to influence them because they believe in what they're experiencing.

Steve Roesler

Rebecca, good to see you again as well!

Steve Roesler


I'm always open to hear why something doesn't work and what should replace it. How would you define it differently and why?


But how to accomplish such inspiring? I think a big part of it is admirability, and a big part of admiribility that can go overlooked, is vulnerability.

Chris Witt

I like the definition that the Army's field manual on leadership provides. It's similar to yours...

"Leadership is influencing people — by providing purpose, direction, and motivation — while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization."

Headhunters Philippines

You got it. I got to join in a student organization because the president of this org. really inspires me. She was so nice and entertaining. Also a leader is the one who listens and did not disregards your idea. And she was able to have me join that org.

Steve Roesler

Jet (or Mr. Jaguar),

You know, that whole vulnerability thing gets a bad rap as being too "touchy feely." It's related to the word itself. The fact is, I'm watching execs get dinged from their C-level bosses for "not being real." Which, when we talk about, leads to a discussion about "just being yourself" and not trying to act as if you know it all and are in control of it all.

People want the "real deal." That means being competent at what we do and real while we're doing it.

Thanks for starting that one.

Steve Roesler


Maybe I had a flashback:-) (Not enough to re-enlist).

But yes, that gets to the heart of it quickly and I don't know any organization that develops leaders more effectively than the military.

Steve Roesler

Dear Headhunters,

Your brief description inspires me! It's heartening to know that there are people out there inspiring and including students so that we'll have a "next generation" of leaders.

She sounds terrific.

Pete Jameson

Here's a similarly concise, British Army, definition:

A leader is someone who makes someone do something that they would otherwise not want to do

Pretty much hits the nail on the head and something that I have always subscribed to over the last 20 years of trying my best to lead ...

Elad Sherf

I am not sure I agree. How do you define inspire...? I think a manager can also (and should also) inspire people and a manager is a different thing than a leader (see, for example http://tinyurl.com/yc5mzjd). A leader is a change agent, He deals with the future and a great leader is able to mitigate people's fear of the unknown future, usually by articulating a clear picture of the future. A manager, which I think most of the people who commented here talk about, is something else. He deals with the present and with making the most out of every employee. See more here: http://tinyurl.com/yjbtpk5
Thanks for starting this discussion...

Steve Roesler


Since my own initial exposure to leadership development was in the military, I think that definition is fairly accurate. What I found that might tweak it a bit is this: *Really* effective leaders also enabled people to reach the point where they finally said, "Heck yeah, I'll do that!"

It sounds as if it has served you well, Pete, so I don't think I'd mess with that simple formula quite yet.

Steve Roesler


I get the intellectual distinction that is made between the two. But I've never seen a supervisor, manager, leader, or the owner of a plumbing company who got anything done well without creating a certain amount of inspiration within those involved.

BTW: I believe we will do a dis-service if we allow "managers" to start believing that they aren't change agents. I've never seen an organization move ahead without managers helping to orchestrate that.

Thanks for tossing in the leader/manager angle. . .

Billy Kirsch

I LOVE this, thanks! I love that you've boiled it down to one sentence, much appreciated.

Nike Shox OZ Shoes

It is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.

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