Leadership is a behavior or an activity not position or a role.
Leadership is a practice
Leadership is an activity of mobilizing people to make progress to address their most difficult issues. Leadership is about pushing against the resistance with both courage and skill to minimize the chances of being taken out of the game.
There are no leadership positions; instead there are positions of authority and one can lead with or without authority.
Leadership from a position of authority is particularly dangerous
Leadership does not depend on a particular personality characteristics
The foothold of leadership is the ability to hold unto one’s sense of purpose and to connect others to the purpose. Purpose makes leadership meaningful. We need to stay grounded in the purpose that holds us steady through ups and downs of doing an adaptive work.
Connecting others to purpose is essential in order to generate the energy, passion and commitment required to face, diagnose and address the tough adaptive problem.
In exercising leadership what is hard is getting people to do what’s necessary to solve the problem. Understand that the solution to a complex problem is going to require adjustments in the habits of people involved with the problem. Issuing a command and telling people what to do will not change people's understanding. Leadership require building capacity in people to resolve conflict of values, bridge the gap between aspiration and reality, face harsh reality, question their own privileges and manage losses, renegotiate loyalties, develop new skills and capabilities to continue to adapt to a changing and complicated environment. In our next lesson we are going to look at the difference between leadership and authority.