What Is A Leader?

What does the American Heritage Dictionary say about leaders? Leaving behind the standard definition of "one who leads or guides", consider the second definition: "one who has power or influence".  Have you known people in a leadership role who seem unable to influence the people around them? The ability to make connections, to speak clearly and to frame information so everyone hears a "what's it in for me" message are essential for influence.  We are also persuaded by people with conviction and passion. We are influenced by people whom we think we can trust.  Lose or misuse any of this and a leader's power vanishes. A leader is defined as "a conductor or the principal performer in an orchestral section".  Finding ways to bring together the different talents of employees or volunteers so that all play from the same sheet of music and blend their instruments into a harmonious whole is a skill demonstrated by the finest of leaders!  As a principal performer, we look to a leader to have one talent that is heads above the other people in that arena of "play". We don't want a leader who professes to best at everything. But we do want a leader to have one clearly recognizable skill. Leader is also defined as "a duct for conveying warm air from a furnace." Care is a four-letter word heard more and more frequently in business circles. Employees want to know that a leader cares for them. The cold, stern dictator might get some results but never the full-blown commitment, creativity and loyalty of a warm and caring leader. What is your definition of a leader?

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