It is interesting to see how much the term “leadership” is used these days.  Eagle Scouts, and Girl Scout Gold Awards are leadership projects.  Clubs try to teach leadership, and Ravenscroft has started a phenomenal program to teach and instill leadership in the kids that go there.  But with all of that, I think that the term leadership has different meanings to different people.

For some people, leadership is about telling others what to do.  To me, that is more about management, than actual leadership.

True leadership is more of a question of influence, which is harder to teach.  Anyone can learn management techniques, but learning techniques on influencing others is much more difficult to do.  That’s because influence is much more complex, and is based on so many other factors like trust, a relationship, truth, someone being inspired to do what you need them to do, and more.  There are certainly aspects of this that are easier to teach than others.  You have to be real, authentic, genuine, and have a vision.  You also have to be able to communicate and sell that vision.

That means that leaders are essentially sales people for their vision.  To influence someone, also requires selling that idea. There is an idea, a vision, or a nugget of truth that others want to get behind.  A leader has an idea, or at least is able to fake it, so that people believe that they have an idea, and are willing to jump in and help the situation out.

That view of leadership, in my opinion, is much more difficult to teach than simply telling people how to do what they need to do, and managing them.  There are enough people who simply want to step in and be managers, but really aren’t capable of exerting that vision and influence that is so key and necessary.