Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Redefining Leadership: November TVCNet Meeting Recap

Normally I take this time to recap what was presented at the most recent TVCNet meeting, but I thought I would take this time, and perhaps the next couple days, to blog my reflections of what I learned.

Kim Lewis of Leadership In Motion presented on the Power of Leadership last night at the November TVCNet meeting. The word "power" is really and understatement. For me, the discussion was a paradigm shift in what I had always thought leadership to be.

I might have mentioned before, but I think the reason why consultants are hired to help clients solve problems is because they are actually seeking our leadership. Leadership, unfortunately, is an ambiguous term. Kim pointed out that if you look up the word "leadership" in the dictionary it says, "The ability to lead."


That doesn't tell me much.

Definition of Leadership
According to Kim, the definition of leadership is:

The ability to influence an individual or group of people by understanding, developing and utilizing their strengths/talents to achieve a common goal and reach an outcome.

Now that's better!

It's a broad definition, but nevertheless it does a much better job explaining the role of a leader. Being a leader doesn't mean you have underlings or people who report to you. If you are a consultant and run your own business (whether or not you have people working for or with you) you are still a leader. You are a leader with everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis starting with the people who are close to you, like your friends and family all the way down to your clients.

A Paradigm Shift in Leadership (for the consultant)
At the conclusion of the meeting I walked away with a new definition of leadership that I formed which I think fits nicely with the profession of consulting. If it is true that consultants are hired to provide leadership with the services they provide, perhaps a new definition of leadership can be formed for consultants.

A consultant's leadership role is to influence and motivate the client's resources (people and / or physical assets) to create understanding, development and utilization.

How about that definition? Do you think it defines the leadership role of the consultant or does it need more work? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

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