What Is Leadership? 10 Ways To Define It

What Is Leadership? 10 Ways To Define It

What is leadership? Each of us believe we have a good idea about what it means to be a good leader, but when it comes to defining the concept, the picture is not so clear. For some, leadership is motivation, for others, it equals results and it can also represent inspiration.

Are you a leader?

Check this scorecard to put your leadership to the test.

Anyway, we can define leadership based on common elements that we can all agree on. Here are 10 ways to define the art of leading:

1. Vision of a leader

Leading means having a vision and sharing it with others. Only when you get to inspire others, it is possible to share a common goal towards which to direct the efforts and dedication of the entire team. What is your vision? Your vision must be bold and ambitious. You need to aim high. Creating a vision is quite complicated and will require to take your team and define your company 10 years from now. Will you be able to dominate your sector? Will you be able to create a leading company in your sector? Being a leader a create a vision requires time.

Vision is not a pitch

Vision is not your pitch. Vision is something more philosophical. Is “why we are here”, “why we work”, “what are our goals”.

Vision is a slide in your pitch, but your pitch deck needs more information.

Some examples of “vision” from leading companies:

Honest Tea: To create and promote great-tasting, healthy, organic beverages

Ikea: To create a better everyday life for the many people

You may also like: The 7 Great Challenges for the Leaders of Tomorrow

2. Motivation

A leader knows how to motivate better than anyone else; it is one of their main functions as people managers. Through motivation, a leader channels their coworkers energy and professional potential in order to achieve objectives. This is a very important feature in a leader. You need to talk to your team, ask them questions, let them talk, listen and understand what they need. Leading is not about talking and giving orders, is about listening and creating the perfect environment for each one in your team.

For motivation it is very important to have goals and targets. If everyone can review their goals and targets by themselves you will have a constant motivation for your team. Make your data transparent and accesible to everyone. Transparency is a great tool for motivation.

3. Serving as a leader

The leader is at the service of the team, and not the other way around. Group members must have and feel the support of their leader, the tools needed to do their jobs properly must be available to them, they must have recognition for their efforts and know that there is a person paying attention in order to correct bad habits. That is all part of a leadership which serves the team, and not the opposite.

4. Empathy

One of the basic qualities of any leader seeking success is precisely emotional intelligence, that ability – often innate – that makes leaders put themselves in the place of others, understand their concerns and solve problems. Leaders know the secrets of their businesses and therefore can empathize with customers and members of their teams: that empathy gets to inspire and establish links that will ultimately lead to success.

Read more: Top 11 Leadership Competencies That Will Make You Indestructible in 2016 (Infographic)

5. Creativity

The definition of leadership also has to do with creativity. Good leaders are able to create an environment that will encourage all the members of their team to develop their skills and imagination, so that they can contribute to the common project and vision of the company. If you want to lead successfully, respect the creativity of others and learn from the people around you; their ideas will surely prove to be positive for you.

6. Thoroughness

A good leader sets the bar high for their people, because they want to reach the goals and bring the best ou of their teams. Only a demanding leader will achieve great results. In addition to this thoroughness, the leader must know how to listen, in order to know the needs of the people, and then provide the necessary time and resources for them to do their job properly, and therefore meet what is demanded of them.

7. Managing as a leader

The leader must be at the forefront to lead and guide their team throughout the whole process until the goal is reached. But besides being that “torchbearer”, leaders also know when to step back and make their team take the initiative. In this way, the team gets the chance to develop, both personally and professionally. Pure management focuses on the tasks, real leadership focuses on the people.

8. Team building

True leadership is about working in a team to reach a common goal. People management is one of the most difficult tasks faced by leaders. Thanks to the positive attitude, essential in good leaders, and the trust in their workmates, people get better results. Team-aware leaders take responsibility when something is wrong, and reward the group after a job well done.

It may interest you: 10 Leadership Tips To Manage Every Type Of Team

9. Taking risks

The leader is the one responsible for taking the risks that others are not willing to take. They are confident enough to make a decision, and if they make a mistake, the leader must have the courage to rectify, assume their guilt and take the right path, without blaming it on the team. Good leaders know how to get ahead of their time, they see opportunities where others can’t and know how to spread the enthusiasm for their vision to try to make it real.

10. Improving

True leadership seeks continuous improvement. Leaders have the ability to turn the people in their teams into stars, people who have improved and developed their skills through the influence of their leader.

In short, the definition of leadership has nothing to do with the hierarchy or anyone’s position within the company; it has nothing to do with imposing views but its about listening to those who know. Leadership is the attitude assumed by those looking for something different, who are committed to achieving a goal and whose conviction they manage to transmit to others through enthusiasm and optimism in order to reach a common goal.

A questions from you about leadership

Is a manager a leader?

  • A manager is someone who executes a plan designed by the leader.
  • A leader can start with a team who directly work with her / him.
  • If the team grows, the leader can create “teams” and each team will have a leader on its own. Each team leader will be a manager.

If you have questions about leadership, send it. We will be happy to help you. You can use our chat channel for that.

Updated: December 2019.

Test yourself as a leader – online

  • Do you have a vision for your company?
  • Do you know how to motivate your team?
  • You can do this test to evaluate yourself as a leader.
  • This is a free test you can do on your own to evaluate yourself as a test. In this test you will need to reply freely to some questions about leadership. There are no right or wrong replies. You need to talk about your team, company and how do you manage it. To be a leader you need to evaluate yourself and talk about your day to day.
  • Please contact us if you have more questions.

Updated: November 2019.

We are reading the amazing book “Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of Salesforce.com” by Aaron Ross, Marylou Tyler and we have a very cool definition about leadership:

6 Responsibilities of a Manager. A no-nonsense management model:

  • Choose people carefully. Interview, test and listen.
  • Set expectations and vision – Goals, metrics and constant updates.
  • Remove obstacles – Find the best tools. Cut out the bureaucracy.
  • Inspire your people – Training, mentoring, coaching.
  • Work for your people – They do not work for you. You work for them.
  • Improve it next time.

We think this is a very good list to have in your “to-do” as a leader. The book is amazing and if you are managing a team or a project, you must read it. There is a chapter all about “training your team”.

Did you enjoy this posts? Help us help you.

  • Are you a new CEO and do you need help?
  • Do you need training to become a leader?
  • Are you looking for training for your management team?
  • Send us an email and we will help you with our courses on leadership. We help 2,000 companies worldwide become leaders with our courses.

What is leadership for you?

Related post: How to Be a Good Leader

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Alemshet Damte says:

It’s a great leadership lesson. Thank you for emailing me another useful leadership lesson.

Tejashree Anchan says:

Mindfulness in leadership. Just one concept explored. Here are 100 global thought leaders that talk geopolitics, the pandemic, the impact to jobs, work, workplaces and you. Be inspired, get a peek into the future from the best minds.

Kyamanywa B. Francis says:

I have really liked the post as it has been so educative, inspiring & challenging.

Gamelearn Team says:

Thanks a lot!

Ron Smate says:

The 10 listed qualities might be attributes of leadership, the veracity of some which I’d argue, but they are not what leadership is about. Let’s get the concept of leadership straight. It’s that quality that makes others want to follow [the leader]. It’s esoteric, it might be charisma, it might be a position of power, it might be wealth, but I like to think the only true form of leadership comes from inspiration. Where others look at the leader and are willing to follow because that [leader] demonstrates qualities that others value as appropriate in the circumstance . The qualities that are listed above are synonymous with good MANAGEMENT. Management and Leadership are completely different. You don’t have to be a manager to be a leader. Conversely, very few managers are good leaders. And leaders can be found across all forms of pursuits from recreational and community through to academia and corporate.

b says:

very good

Sa'id abdirhman mumin says:

The best form of speak people thank you for ever

Maverick says:

Good ideas for my leadership SA thank you ☺️

Thabiso Moletsane says:

Very clear, simple and inspiring.

Weion Sevenon says:

yes good

jahizah hassan says:

very good, simple and clear. am inspired.

trace says:

good ideas

muslima says:


Kathy Castle says:

Thank you for this article. Very nice.

Qudratxoja Musayev says:

Thank you so, much I appreciate your work. Simple, but very powerful, inspiring article.
Gives a sense everyone is a leader to some extent.

maddie says:

good it helped me understand leadership

Randall Harris says:

“Managers light a fire under people; leaders light a fire in people.”
― Kathy Austin, Management Consultant.

Namkoko says:

Really helpful

Mikail Babatunde says:

leadership mean going in front and direct people to achieve common goals

CJ Starnes says:

I found this to article to be a very interesting read. I was encouraged by the portion of the article that summarizes leadership as the attitude in which an individual takes on tasks to meet an objective. Through this positive attitude, a leader is able to encourage those around them to persevere and strive for the same goals.

LINDA says:


Somila says:

Leadership is the ability to bring peace

John Harper says:

Is there a spark of leadership in most persons? If so, shouldn’t some discussion be engaged in re levels of and reasons for submissiveness as it relates to leadership, if it does?

Triceratops says:

this web is truly amazing love to just read about leadership

Pegesus says:

Truly amazing work here because I for one know that when I’m bored I always look at websites that talk about leadership

Kevin Wilks says:

The tools of trade of a leader are other people. The job of a leader is to combine the collective wisdom of many minds into a single plan of action. To do this, a leader must have the personality necessary to get the best out of other people. At the end of discussion, the leader has the casting vote in making a decision, after which, his decision becomes that of the whole team from which there must be no dissenters.

Okony Kono says:

This is one of the best definition of leadership I have yet come across. Thank you Game-Learn!

Maria Luisa Roja says:

this is very helpful and useful. Thanks so much for sharing this to us. God bless and more power.

Roy says:

Enjoyed your 10 characteristics of Leadership. Thank you

Genesis says:

Hi,my problem is that I find myself creating an anger towards my colleagues while I’m trying my best into doing my job in my working environment and no complement after all ,please help.Regards :Mthethwa M.T

luthando says:

thats fruit full can u send this to my email address please all the step together with other knowledge of being a good leader please

Rodney Maye says:

Thank you so much for your words of inspiration!

Gamelearn says:

Thank you Rodney!

Gorakh says:

Thanks for giving knowlaged
Hope more

BARIA V B says:

Narendra Modiji is a leader in the true sense. One who not only leads by example, but also infuses confidence in his team.

johnscott says:

I noticed that there is nothing about high ethics/moral compass. Yet, that is just what is getting leaders (and us) in trouble in these times. I have always told my subordinates: “Do the right thing, the first time”. Be brave, have courage to do what’s right. Example is that I noticed that the CEO of Wells Fargo is retiring with a rather hefty, millions, bonus. Yet it is his company that apparently engaged in wrongdoing during his tenure by creating false accounts so business would look better. CEO’s seem not to have a moral compass and perhaps that’s because the Business World doesn’t punish them, they get millions reagardless if Congress finds them in criminal situations or not. Get some ethics and cleanse the higher ranks so our younger folks can see ethical persons in charge.

Jackson says:

Truly just amazing work here

Mbalhuwako David Mayerson says:

I have liked these definitions they explain what is required of a leader they will help me answer my course work and inspire me to inspire others

Jayanti. says:

very nice and use full to All types of leader/manager. relay i m glad to get such knowledge.

kishwar says:

it was very helpful thank you .

jacob says:

A leader needs to communicate in a way that makes people feel what they need to do. As a leader of a large group you have to keep in mind that people need to believe in you and know that you’re behind any given message. It’s not only what you say but truly what you feel and believe. This rule reminds all of us, and leaders in particular, that emotions are a powerful motivator — or, in some cases, a de-motivator. We’re social creatures who need interaction, and you use that to make points when they’re important enough. When you deliver a message face-to-face, it’s strikingly different than when you do some kind of mass communication. If we’re going to have impact as leaders, we have a responsibility to communicate directly

nar bahadur gurung says:

very good