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Leadership: Is There A Void?

To determine if a void exists within the many forms of leadership, we must first define what exactly leadership is. Only at that point can it be determined if a void exists and how prevalent that void may be. Once a reasonable conclusion is reached, we can apply this theory to several sectors and come to an understanding of where leadership exists or where it lacks.

There is no reason to go through these exercises, or read further, if a void is uncovered and nothing will be done to fix it. If you define yourself as a leader, or as someone who can be a leader, and a person who plans to take a leadership position in filling any void found, read on. If not, do not waste your time—skip to the next article.

Now that you are serious, let us get started. What is Leadership? Many books, research studies, academics, business and political gurus have defined it in their own ways, but ultimately they all have a common theme. Leadership is the ability to rally a group of others around a common vision where a set of strategic missions are deployed that cause forward momentum to occur in the pursuit and actualization of making that vision become a reality.

We can discuss it in terms of social, business, political, and family issues and even apply it to non-human leadership. After all, the definition of a word should apply across all segments of our global society. So whether it is a pack of hyenas, a pride of lions, a tribe of hunters, a company taking market share, political bodies driving policy or religious organizations herding their flock, the previously mentioned definition of leadership is fully in play for being at the top of the decision making pyramid.

Now that leadership is defined, we can test to see if it is prevalent and if so, where? There is not much debate about the leadership exhibited in our animal friends. Survival is the word of the day and without leadership, the herd, flock or school ceases to exist. This has been proven time and time again in the study of lions, apes, monkeys, wolves and more. We can learn so much from our animal friends. However, that is another article.

What about us humans? Well pundits look all day long at the large and small business sector, the NGO and political sector, analyzing leadership and the lack or strength thereof. This is what makes stocks move, countries vie, sports teams compete, and individuals move up, down or out. So there is no doubt it is measured in both subjective and objective ways minute by minute each and every day. As to sectors, once again there are strengths that others see as weakness and vice versa.

So the question therefore comes down to, is there a void?

Where does Leadership start and more importantly, where does it end? If I am a leader of my unit does that extend to the overall team or is that someone else’s job? If I am the leader of the team, does that then extend to leadership in the league made up of other teams? Relate this to business. If I am a shift supervisor at a plant among many plants in a division among many divisions, where does leadership stop? At the shift level, at the peer level in the plant, at the peer level across all plants at a division level, at the peer level across all plants and across all divisions? What is your answer?

Now, throw in that through the leadership on my shift, we have the most efficient, productive and profitable shift in the global organization – does the answer change?

We can apply this theory across all sectors and disciplines. The common answer may be that responsible leadership does not cross the lines of where leadership is granted. So the shift supervisor should not cross the lines of his/her authority. This is where the void exists.

True leadership is not only what is described above, it is that coupled with the ability to take the risk to step through the unknown, break taboos and make true change happen. You must cross barriers and challenge the status quo.

A leader in a single company should step forward into community leadership; a community leader should foster leadership on a regional or national basis and so on. True leadership is breaking out of the comfort zone to cause the next great occurrence to take place. Without forward movement, there is no progress. Without leadership, status quo and complacency set in. This is a formula for failure.

So, you have read this far and think of yourself as a leader. What are you doing to move the dial on progress? What are you doing to ward off complacency, challenge the status quo, to drive towards a vision not yet attained? Leave no void, take up the leadership mantle and charge forward. The year is already one quarter behind us. Do not let this year be a year of lost opportunity. As a leader in small business you have the sole ability to truly make your vision become a reality.