written by: Mary White•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 7/13/2010
Are you wondering what leadership is? Now that you're running your own business, it's time to make sure you understand the most important facts about leadership and why being seen as a leader is important to entrepreneurial success.
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Leadership. It's something that every business owner and manager needs to have, but it's a fact that becoming a leader is something that is much easier said than done. The concept of leadership is one that can be somewhat difficult to understand, because it's both a process and a variety of variables that impact whether or not an individual is perceived by others as a leader. As a business owner, it's important for you to develop an understanding of what leadership is so that you can cultivate the traits and characteristics within yourself that are likely to cause others to see you as someone they'll willingly choose to follow.
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5 Facts About Leadership
1. Leadership is Granted by Others
While you can make up your mind to improve your leadership skills, you don't get to decide that you are a leader. Leadership is something that is granted by other people. If your employees decide that you are someone they are willing to choose to follow, then you will be viewed as a leader. What you can control is whether or not your behavior reflects the qualities that people value in leaders.
2. Leadership is Based on Interpersonal Influence
Leadership is non-coercive. It is not about making people to do things based on the formal authority of your position. Instead, if people see you as a leader, they are likely to follow you willingly based on interpersonal influence. They'll do what is required of them – and maybe even go above and beyond – because they want to and because it's the right thing to do rather than because they have to do so.
3. Leadership is a Process
Functioning as a leader is a process. It involves continually guiding the organization toward growth and accomplishment of goals. It requires vision and the ability to inspire other team members to continually make forward progress toward moving the business closer to its long term goals and objectives.
4. People Need Leadership
It is a basic fact of human nature that people need leadership. Within an organization, employees will look to top management for guidance and direction. When the owner exhibits leadership traits, the business will enjoy the greatest chance of long term success. If leadership is absent from the top of the organization, team members will lack commitment and will look elsewhere for guidance. The result can be disastrous. That's why entrepreneurs should continually strive to develop their leadership skills.
5. Leadership is an Intangible Quality
Leadership is an intangible quality that is based on many factors – such as putting the needs of others first, listening skills, open communication, integrity, and more. It's not something that's visible or that can be measured or touched in any quantifiable manner. Its value, however, is priceless.