Posted on Nov 18, 2013
MG Chief Executive Officer (Ceo)
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One definition of leadership is anyone who has followers. Another definition is getting things done through others. When I think of leadership, I believe it's about providing vision and direction that causes others to pursue that vision and direction. What do you think?
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LTC Rob Hefner
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Leaders develop other leaders. I used to think leadership was best defined as the ability to inspire others to do what they otherwise would not be willing to do. After the last five years of study I've changed my mind. Now I would define it as the ability to be who they otherwise would not be capable of being. Leadership is developing others, achievements are nothing but a welcome byproduct of doing so. Once we fully understand that leadership is about them, not us, our perspective changes and we can actually become a Soldiers first, mission always kind of Army.
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CMC Robert Young
CMC Robert Young
5 y


Sir, I concur completely. An often ignored facet of leadership is the necessity to prepare for our departure.

“What we have done for
ourselves alone dies with us. What we have done for others remains immortal.” -
Albert Pike



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CH (CPT) Heather Davis
CH (CPT) Heather Davis
5 y
Respectfully Sir, Leaders also protect the next generation and provide them grace and direction to grow.
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LTC Rob Hefner
LTC Rob Hefner
5 y
SCPO Young, I love that quote! I havent seen it before but guarantee I will use it in the near future.
I was once in a situation to be able to see a team that I built perform in my absence. It was sobering. I thought I was a leader, but seeing the team flounder without my constant (and in retrospect, intrusive) guidance demonstrated clearly that I was not leading, I was directing. They were not empowered to make tough decisions, I had made those for them, creating a culture that stroked my fragile ego but did not make my Soldiers better. I failed them and will never do that again. If I had been a leader they would have performed without my presence. Especially in the military, we are always training our replacement. If we fail to do so we not only fail our subordinates but fail our service.
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SGT Broker
SGT (Join to see)
5 y
Excellent comment. I knew a senior NCO who told me that we have an obligation to make sure the Army we leave behind us is as good or better than the Army we served in. Regardless of pay grade or duty position, we all have some sort of influence on the people and events surrounding us.
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PVT Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
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Sir,

I've come across this very thread a dozen times at least and each time, left it be thinking it is not my place to comment on it. However, I believe I have an answer to your question. It is an assessment of what leadership often is in many cases and what it should be.

Leadership is an umbrella term that encompasses thousands of different types of "leaders". It is comprised of people who for whatever reason have stepped up to the plate and have decided to take responsibility for accomplishment of a task through utilization of a team.

But there should be more to leadership than that. Many leaders in my limited experience are focused solely on accomplishment of the goal at hand. And to say that the goal at hand should not be the central focus is wrong, but to say it should be the only focus is equally wrong.

Leadership, in its truest form, is being able to motivate your subordinates to perform the goal at hand. It is also being the one who holds the career for which the death knell rings when failure should be at hand. Because leaders that is what leadership is; it is being the person to blame when failure is at hand and the person who points to his men for whom gratitude should be given to when success is at hand.

Leadership is knowing that you are the least important person on the team (whether it be Military or Private Sector), because the team can function without you. You can not function without the team. And it is for that reason that you should always place their welfare first, because they are the people who allow you to do your job. They assist you in accomplishment of your goals or completion of your mission which is why a good leader should never forget that the welfare of their subordinates should always come first.
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MG Chief Executive Officer (Ceo)
MG (Join to see)
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Outstanding!
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PVT Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
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Thank you for your thoughts, Sir.
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SSG General Services Technician And State Vehicle Inspector
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PVT (Join to see), I have to agree with the other compliments here. Very well stated. Keep your head up and continue to learn from your leaders, whether good or bad, for their actions and words will ultimately form YOUR leadership style. I hope you stay in for a while and continue to improve yourself as well as each unit you serve in.
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PVT Healthcare Specialist (Combat Medic)
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SSG, I wish I could say I would, but I'm currently finishing my outprocessing. I'm just happy to have learned what I have from those who have been willing to teach.
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Lt Col U.S. Federal Government
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Sir, great question, for my input I'll have to concur with John C. Maxwell's thoughts on the subject, according to Maxwell... "Leadership is influence--nothing more, nothing less."

Although concise, I believe there is a lot to consider in those few words. I have reflected on Dr. Maxwell's statement often over the years, and consistently go back to it when analyzing historical leadership examples, and use it as a lens to view my own leadership, as well as my growth as a mentor--on the subject of leadership.

Excellent topic, thank you for posting, Sir; I look forward to seeing others' ideas on the subject!

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Lt Col U.S. Federal Government
Lt Col (Join to see)
5 y
Thank you for the response, I have to say that you have me thinking as well; we've taken a bit more of a philosophical definition, which serves as an excellent thought exercise. When reading your reply, I started thinking about leadership qualities or attributes as an extension of defining leadership types. Napoleon Hill listed '11 leadership attributes' sometime around the late 1930s, I think it's safe to say that his principles have stood the test of time, and his concepts fit leadership in more than the purely philosophical definition. Thanks again for your thoughts and for expanding the discussion!
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PO2 Alex M.
PO2 Alex M.
5 y
The key to leadership is to get people to follow you because they want to, not because they are afraid of you. Leadership in your sense of the definition will result in people wanting to follow you based on reason. Leadership based on fear only lasts so long. I work in law enforcement and I can tell you that the best cases relating to gangs come from angry ex-girlfriends that are no longer afraid of their gang member ex-boyfriend or the other way around. A leader should not have a time stamp on influence.
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LTC Rob Hefner
LTC Rob Hefner
5 y
Crap! Mark, I was gonna leave this alone but I just can't do it! Its only a matter of time before somebody brings out a list. Leadership attributes are important, but they come from somewhere. lists don't matter, who you are matters.. Trying to act according to a leadership checklist only muddies the reflection of who you are. The more clear the reflection the stronger the leader. We all see the world through the prism of our own experience, and philosophical definitions will be different from practical definitions. All definitions of leadership will include influence or its synonym and I accept them all with one caveat: if the definition leaves out my Soldiers/your Airmen it is invalid. Even in the military we lead people, and we lead because they let us. Focus on them, it's all good. Focus on you and I'll tell a Cav Scout you insulted his mother.
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SFC Fire Support Specialist
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5 y
An interesting discussion gentlemen, you both have me thinking very hard about the topic. It seems like a simple question, but at the same time begs many of it's own. To define leadership, in my opinion, is to simply define it. I agree with both of you, what is done with it is what makes it good or bad. As MAJ Burns has said, we can ask ourselves what defines a good or bad or ethical, etc. leader and likely continue on with about 20 or so categories of leadership but, whether good or bad, does that change the fact that influence is the primary component of leadership? I don't think it does. So, as simplistic as it is, I think Dr. Maxwell got it right on the money.
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