What is Leadership?

At the most basic level, leadership is working through others to get things done. There are things you need to be done, but you can't or don't want to do them yourself, so you choose to work through others to get it done. You choose to lead.

Leaders Rise to a Challenge and Work Through Others to Get Things Done

Examples of Leadership

Illustration of Parent Delegating Chore to Child

A parent who "doesn't have time" for chores enlists the help of their kids.

Illustration of Parent Delegating Chore to Child
Illustration of a Confused Leader

A nonprofit founder who isn't good with operations recruits a board member who is.

Illustration of Chef Asking a Chicken for Help

A chef who can't do all the prep hires and works through an "assistant."

Illustration of Chef Asking a Chicken for Help

How does influence play a part in leadership?

Leadership is often thought about in the context of influence and power. A leader uses influence to get other people to help.

Examples of Influence

Illustration of Politician with Growing Nose

Politics
"Vote for me"

Illustration of Manager in Need of Help

Manager
"Solve this problem"

Illustration of Religious Leader

Religious Leader
"Believe"

What are the sources of influence or power?

As a leader, it's helpful to know the ways you can influence others. Some methods are good. Some are not. Sources of influence or power include coercive, connection, reward, legitimate, reverent, information, and expert.

Illustration of Bad Manager Firing Employee

Coercive

A leader threatens punishment.

Example: "Do it or you're fired!"

Illustration of Executive Surrounded by Security

Connection

A leader uses relationships with influential people.

Example: "Help me and I'll ask the CEO to help you."

Illustration of Executive Surrounded by Security
Illustration of Employee Receiving a Trophy

Reward

A leader promises something of value.

Example: "Make one more sale and you'll get your bonus!"

Illustration of Judge Sentencing Person

Legitimate

A leader uses position in an organization.

Example: "I'm in charge and you'll do what I say."

Illustration of Judge Sentencing Person
Illustration of Friends Getting Into Trouble

Reverent

A leader without legitimate power uses personal relationships.

Example: "I need your help. It will be epic!"

Illustration of Leader Monitoring Data

Information

A leader is influential because of information.

Example: "Let's ask the CEO's assistant, he'll have the data."

Illustration of Leader Monitoring Data
Illustration of Engineer Giving Thumbs Up

Expert

A leader is influential because of their own skill or knowledge.

Example: "Let's ask the boss, she's great at getting agreements."

Thought Questions

Smiling Coach asking you to Please Use Your Brain
  • What are some examples when you have acted as a leader and enlisted the help of others?
  • What are some instances when you have been a follower and helped others?
  • Who are people who have influenced you, and how?
  • What examples from your past can you think of for each of the seven sources of influence or power?
Smiling Coach asking you to Please Use Your Brain

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