The Real Meaning of Leadership

At Aquire, we start most meetings which are departmental or small groups with a moment of Positive Focus.  It allows each of us to bring to the spotlight something that is working really well, or an individual or team which deserve a shout out for something they are doing really well.

This week I am adding a Leadership Moment into the manager’s meeting.  So I added a slide to the agenda deck and went looking in the standard clip art for placeholder picture.  I was sorely disappointed.  I put in the word “leadership” as my search term.  PowerPoint provided me with a much of shiny slick power photos.  They were not about leadership they were about winning, dominating or being the one with the most expensive suit in the room.

So I looked at another word and found what I was looking for (more on that in a minute).  Then I thought I would see what popped up if I used the word “follow.”  There was not a single picture of the back of the heads of the people in power positions in the best suits.  Not that I really expected that image (but it would have been clever).  No, the term “follow” provided lots of good arrows and cartoons of people fo

rming a line.  It was adequate.

So then I searched on the word “help.” This is where I found pictures I needed for leadership. Leadership isn’t about being the rich and beautiful in my book.  Leadership is about painting the vision that is achievable by the people you need; and convincing them you will help them achieve the vision.

Being a manager is hard, you get disappointed by people that don’t say what they mean or don’t do what they commit to do doing.  Sometimes people leave the company and leave you holding the bag.  Sometimes people are not who they pretend to be and can damage the team.

But being a manager can be highly rewarding when you get the buy-in from the team.  When you help someone get over a challenge they were really struggling with in the past.  When your team excels at what they are doing.  When you know you have made a difference for your employees, your customers or your company.  When your employees appreciate you for the hard work you do too.

Being a manager is hard enough already, let’s make sure they understand the real meaning of leadership and it will help them achieve and make life a lot easier for everybody.


About the Author

Lois Melbourne

Lois Melbourne, GPHR, is co-founder and former CEO of Aquire Solutions, mom to one terrific young son and wife of co-founder Ross Melbourne. After entering a bit of a sabbatical life phase, she is authoring a series of children's books about career ambitions. She maintains a strong personal commitment to career education and small business development and is a speaker, author of industry articles, and an occasional blogger and networker. Connect with her on Twitter as @loismelbourne.



Love the idea of “Positive Focus”. Thank you for sharing.

Sybil Stershic

Lois, I love your definition of leadership about “painting the vision that is achievable by the people you need; and convincing them you will help them achieve the vision.” Well said!

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