Category: Introduction to Leadership

Defining Leadership

We face challenges at every level of life today.  Challenges exist within the corporate world, government, home and the church. Challenges define leaders and leadership.  Determining the need for leaders and leadership is not the difficulty, but defining leaders who step up and provide what is needed when difficulties arise.  Perhaps this is the greatest challenge before us in understanding true leadership.

Beginning as early as the 1920’s we find the definition of leadership based on the challenges facing our culture as a whole.  The 20’s were characterized as “the lawless age.”  While it was a conservative time, prosperity led to depression.  Challenges developed quickly on every front.  As the “Great Depression” dawned, government leaders took a greater role and leadership was defined as “the ability to impress the will of the leader on those led and induce obedience, respect, loyalty and cooperation” Steward.  The purpose behind such actions led a depressed society into a more stable economy.

As the United States entered the 40’s, World War II dominated the decade.  The war was instrumental in bringing an end to the depressed economy of this country.  However, events such as the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust created fear in the hearts of all people.   As a result, the definition of leadership was adapted as “the art of influencing…people by persuasion or example to follow a line of action.  It must never be confused with drivership…which is the art of compelling… people by intimidation or force to follow a line of action” Copeland.

The 60’s and 70’s brought revolutionary thinking to the United States.  Advances in civil rights, growth in radical ideas, mystic religions, liberalism and a major introduction to humanism reshaped our understanding of leadership.  The idea of leadership became a process “in which an individual takes initiative to assist a group to move towards the production of goals that are acceptable to maintain the group, and to dispose the needs of the individuals within the group that compelled them to join it” Boles and Davenport.

Throughout the last two decades a great emphasis has been placed upon the need for leaders.  John Maxwell defined leadership simply as “influence, nothing more, nothing less” Maxwell.  Prior to the events of 9-11 and the beginning of the war on terrorism, leadership, and the concept of a leader, were defined as “the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal…the inspiration and director of the action” Susan Ward.

With the passing of years, leaders have come and gone.  Culture in America has been a key factor in defining leadership and the type of leaders represented.  Perhaps it has always been this way regardless of the country or culture.  However, the definition should be found in the very essentials of leadership.  A leader is one who possesses the vision to see the future and speak as though it were present, the character to build trust and the passion to inspire the direction of others.  Leadership is about establishing the goals to provide purpose and direction for the good of all based upon the abilities of the leader.

Leadership is an Investment

The title of this blog lends to several considerations.  The Leadership Fund is focused on providing areas dealing with the fundamentals of leadership.  Some authors refer to them as principles or laws.  When dealing with the subject of leadership, the bottom line involves the basics, the fundamentals needed to be a successful leader.  This blog site is designed first to provide the fundamentals of leadership to help anyone with the desire to learn how to lead in ways to bring success.

The Leadership Fund is also designed with a second purpose in mind.  For several months now I have read numerous books defining leadership through words like “influence” or  ”example.”  While I agree with the assessment, there seems to be an underlying thread I have discovered in my research tying leadership  to one powerful thought, “leadership is an investment.”

The Leadership Fund is about investing in leadership.  The more one puts into leadership the more they get out of it.  John Maxwell makes reference to the “Law of Process” as one of the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.”  Here he describes and parallels the idea of leadership to one who invests in the stock market.  Investing over the long haul is what produces great dividends.  Regardless of the principles, laws or qualities often found in books dealing with the subject of leadership, when we sum it all up, we are talking about a major investment.

The Leadership Fund is designed to help us understand the application of various leadership ideas.  When we make application in the areas of leadership we are investing in ourselves.  When we continue to add to our investment we are going to see growth and ultimately, tremendous rewards.  I have also asked several men, I look to and admire for their leadership, to invest their time and abilities in helping make this blog site helpful to anyone who wants to lead.  I encourage you to listen and learn from the wisdom of those who have invested in the realm of leadership.  These men have invested in themselves and others to provide for the great need of leadership in our world.

Thank you for taking the time to read The Leadership Fund.  Your input is valued and appreciated.  Perhaps through the wisdom of many we can all learn to develop into the leaders God intends us to be, in the home, community, and His church.  Investing in leadership now and each day throughout our lives will leave lasting results in every area of our lives.