Have you asked yourself how many leadership publications are out there? Textbooks, academic papers, best sellers, professional articles, feel-good and airport books, newspapers and magazine columns, blogs…? Guess a number and then go and google the word “Leadership” and see if you are close. On Amazon only there more than 100,000 results when you look for the word “Leadership”. We are only talking about those written in English, what about those who were written in other languages? You do the math!
Why that many? Maybe because Leadership has been always an interesting and hot subject to talk about. Fortune 500 companies, top business schools, among many others spend billions of dollars annually on executive leadership training and leadership development programs with the assumption that, leadership really matters, and leaders are actually the main reason behind the rise and fall of their organizations. In the past, the “leadership” term had been has been misled by mostly associating it with the power of authority. I would argue that one of the main reasons behind this countless number of books and articles is just to introduce the new meaning of leadership. We know that at this is not necessarily the case anymore, yet we are having a new and a bigger dilemma, which is what is leadership? A lot of us think that you can name almost any positive trait and it should be fine if you call it a leader trait, decisiveness, honesty, supportive, smart, visionary, aware, etc…
Almost every single day, another scholar, best-seller to be, celebrity CEO or entrepreneur, rises to the fame by claiming that he/she has found the DNA of true leadership and broken the source code of it by introducing the new, ever right, the bulletproof and magic model of leadership, that if followed, we will have more leaders who could solve the problem of the worlds. You can imagine how many definitions for “Leadership” we would end up with! Again, you do the math.
The question is leadership that complicated so we need that endless resources of academic and nonacademic books and training to fill that gap of knowledge. I would say not really!
My assumption is that, although we have different types of leaders, the leadership process could be similar to a large distinction in any given situation. Look at how a scholar would define Leadership: “Taking responsibility for seeing what is needed and acting with integrity to influence and support others so they commit to achieving new goals” (S. Green).
I am certainly not claiming that this the flawless definition of leadership, and I would be falling in the same trap if I did so, but the question that should addressed: How many definitions for leaders and leadership we have to come up with to confuse more people and end up with more leader-like and less true leaders who can solve the problems of th world.For now, I will take this definition for granted so I can have something to start with, but I will be tackling tomorrow a question, that I believe hasn’t not been tackled enough. When Not to lead?