Many articles, books, and papers have been written on leadership. It seems an ever elusive concept but a desirable trait among business professionals, the average Joe or Josephine, and especially politicians. Besides being a common dogma used to gain respect among voters, what exactly is leadership? A quick Google search reveals that the definition of leadership is the action of leading a group of people or organization. In addition, it is also the state or position of being a leader. Both definitions are relatively nebulous and really don’t express what we as individuals consider leadership in an individual.
But maybe that is the reason for its common use among those that seek to attain position. The meaning is nebulous yet projects a strength of character, a virtue, we all wish to attain and many seek to achieve. We can claim the trait of leadership without deceit by merely being placed in a position in which we are in charge of a group of people. But does this not confuse leadership with management?
The business dictionary definition goes well beyond just placing a person in charge of other individuals. Leadership under this definition “involves establishing a clear vision, providing information, knowledge, and methods to realize that vision and coordinating and balancing conflicting interests of members and stakeholders. A leader steps up in times of crisis and thinks and acts creatively in difficult situations” (BusinessDictionary.com, 2016). This definition is active and works better towards embracing the traits we come to expect of those that wish to lead us.
Management, on the other hand, is defined by the business directory as a coordination of activities of organization which includes the basic task of innovation (BusinessDictionary.com, 2016). In essence the basic tasks of management do not necessarily make you a leader or imbue you with leadership capabilities.
When choosing a candidate for office should we not seek the leader as well as the manager? Management skills can and should be essential to most positions. But we, when electing our public officers, are betting on the future. It is essential to have those that have a clear vision and the capability to implement that vision holding that position. The future is always changing. Crisis do happen. Strong leadership skills with proven leadership experience will ensure our county’s success in the face of crisis and in preparation for the future ahead.