Define Leadership By Managing Conversations

December 17, 2015

Let’s take a moment here to actually define leadership. It’s easy to go into the dictionary and look for a definition. And a few of the definitions that show up are:

  • One who actually is in the position or office of a leader
  • One who has the capacity or ability to lead
  • One that gives guidance and direction

Another definition of leadership is “the capacity of someone to lead.” And you’ll notice that these definitions are kind of circular. We don’t actually know a definition of “leadership” that encompasses other qualities. And this is where I want to provide you with a new interpretation of leadership.

A New Interpretation

Leadership, as it’s typically understood, is about results. Businesses want individuals on the leadership level who produce results.

Now, let’s take a look at the word “results.” What exactly are results? If it’s a business, results indicating growth will include:

  • What an employee produces…
  • How customers are served…
  • Revenue Increase in market share …
  • Expanding to new markets …
  • Developing new products …

Revenue can be measured in dollars. Growth can be measured in number of units produced etc. But I want to invite you to consider another metric. It is an internal metric and unique to the organization. What I’m talking about are the organization’s culture which includes its business units and its employees. It’s a subjective metric and it works on a number of levels.

A Different Metric To Define Leadership

When an organization develops an individual for a leadership capacity, it has to understand who that individual is  on an internal level  as well on an external level.

On the external level, the leader produces results. On an internal level, the leader has embodied “qualities” and practised the skills necessary to have effective conversations. Internally, the leader is one who is able to elicit commitments and actions from those they lead.

Or to put it in a different way, one definition of leadership is… “an individual who can get commitments from others!”

In my work with clients, we take a closer look to create understanding of leadership and what it actually means to be a leader. We take a look at those internal qualities and get to the heart of what it means.

Every individual has an inner, internal vocabulary. Every organization has an inner, internal vocabulary.

When the individual is aware of the culture of language, the culture of communication, and vocabulary available then they are able to make use of it in an effective manner.

When the individual chooses to align those internal qualities with that of the organizational level, then leaders are produced.

Actions are congruent once they are understood intellectually. Then it is possible to align actions, promises and commitments from that emerging leader with the way they interact with other human beings.

Therefore this future leader will show up in presence in their physical body with actions, promises and… commitments that align with the way they show up internally.

Getting Commitment, Generating Possibilities

The way that I define leadership is about a whole human being who has the capacity to get commitment and generate new possibilities of actions from other human beings.

The external result is a leader  who has the ability to lead others.

Thank you for your time and for watching this video. If you want to learn more about how you can learn to manage your conversations, I invite you to check out my self-paced, self-study course. It’s called “3 Steps To Improve Your Communication Skills”

The course includes 41 lectures and over 5 hours of content! Learn at your own pace and develop skills to effectively manage conversations through a simple 3-step model.

Take care of yourself and I’ll see you soon.