Leadership 100: What A Leader Is

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Leadership builds upon itself through a progression

Level 1 leaders change and direct themselves

  • Productive towards goals proven to succeed
  • Comfortably happy in their mind and self-aware
  • Honors values as the standard for personal behavior
  • Aware of and diligently uses talent, knowledge, skills, and great habits
  • Competent at managing most aspects of lifestyle including health and money

Level 2 leaders create positive change with others

  • Recognizes how a group or society performs by observing behaviors and motivations
  • Contributes meaningfully to group objectives
  • Assertively works in a team without unnecessary conflict
  • Devoted to discovering how to help the team win

Level 3 leaders inspire changes and direct others

  • Organizes people and resources toward predetermined objectives
  • Instructs the necessity of each task and how to perform them
  • Maintains communication with subordinates and others to ensure tasks are moving projects forward
  • Others follow them, but they naturally give power to others
  • Tries to minimize ambiguity, but tolerates it well

Level 4 leaders inspire others to become leaders

  • Sufficient social skills to inspire others to follow them
  • Gives authority to others and guides them to healthy results
  • Lets subordinates learn and grow as independent leaders
  • Shares a clear vision to strive for instead of directions
  • Understands that activity isn’t achieving
  • Knows the best time to lead or follow

Level 5 leaders manage and direct networks of people

  • Builds greatness through sharing a vision with a diverse group
  • Creates a succession and vision which often persists beyond their lifetime

Leaders need followers

Leadership is another word for influence

  • Great leaders raise up other leaders
  • Leading other leaders multiplies instead of grows
  • Leadership is more of an art than a science

Leadership builds on proven trust

  • People buy into a leader, then the leader’s vision
  • Everyone naturally follows leaders stronger than themselves
  • Leaders come into their reputation over a long period
  • Momentum is a leader’s best friend

People listen when a legitimate leader speaks

  • Anyone can direct what to do, but a leader sees the long-term purpose
  • Leaders inspire passions in others before asking for help
  • The people closest to a leader define that leader’s potential

Leaders can choose several ways to interpret their role

Believing no single leadership style fits all situations and must adapt to situation, context, and followers

Letting circumstances define what they should or shouldn’t do

A leader and follower are in a transaction where the follower will pass or fail the leader’s commands and receive reward or punishment for it

A leader and follower are in a relationship where the leader should inspire and motivate each follower to success

Leadership positions don’t always have leaders working in them

Most cultures forbid promoting someone and then forcefully demoting them later

  • A competent worker often gets promoted until they’re no longer capable, which proves the Peter Principle: anything that works will be used in progressively more challenging applications until it fails
  • Honoring impotent authority is morally necessary, but worth considering an alternative or workaround
  • Promotions come more frequently from preference than talent

All leaders usually fail on at least a few elements

Not enough energy or enthusiasm to motivate others

Accepting mediocrity in personal tasks

No clear vision or direction

Bad judgment with large decisions

Unwilling to hear subordinates’ input

Leading by speaking but not from example

Resisting new ideas

Not learning from mistakes and failures

Poor interpersonal skills

Failing to help others grow, improve or succeed

A true leader will always have specific characteristics


  • Trustworthy, reliable, open, has integrity

Emotionally mature

  • Well-adjusted without any severe psychological disorders
  • Sees their role as a personal responsibility


  • Intense desire to lead others to reach shared goals


  • Constant belief in themselves, their ideas, and their ability

Mentally capable

  • Able to show good judgment, strong analytical abilities, and skill in understanding concepts
  • Finely sharpened intuition which detects nuances in the environment

Driven by achievement

  • Applies deep effort, enthusiasm, and energy into their work
  • Willing to sacrifice to gain what they want

Leadership has many functioning theories

Action Centered Leadership

Separates Tasks, Teams, and Individuals

  • Leaders need a Task to exist
  • The quality of leadership is from how well a leader understanding how to accomplish a Task
  • A leader’s job is to encourage the Team, who is a group devoted to the Task
  • Each Individual’s various desires, fears, motivations, and experiences uniquely change how the leader can encourage them

Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid

Separates leaders into Concerned for People and Concerned for Tasks/Results

  • Concerned for People leaders focus on group members’ benefits, what members enjoy the most, and the greatest benefits to their careers
  • Concerned for Tasks/Results leaders are determined to get the job done as successfully as possible and only think about the organization’s benefits

The two competing ideas form a measurable model on two axes

  • Impoverished management fails both on tasks and helping people
  • Country Club management fails on tasks, but workers love to be part of the organization
  • Produce or Perish management focuses exclusively on the task and disregards employees’ well-being
  • Team Leadership offers both, but providing fully for both of them is impossible in reality, meaning Middle of the Road is usually a worthy balance

Dunham & Pierce’s Leadership Process Model

Addresses how every element which plays a role in leadership connects with each other

The model demarcates several significant factors

  • Leader – in charge of a project or team a group answers to, no matter what their title is
  • Followers – people mostly responsible for results led by the Leader
  • Context – circumstances for the Leader to manage the team, which include the project length and management capabilities
  • Outcomes – results of performing a project

All leadership aspects interconnect with a circular relationship, not a linear one, through other aspects

  • Relationships must grow between the Leader and Followers
  • People tend to apply their natural skills and ignore other assigned responsibilities
  • Since everything connects with other elements, Feedback is critical
  • Everything will only stay in harmony with ethical and honest behavior

Fiedler’s Contingency Model

Observes how circumstances change from various leadership styles and approaches

A leader can only lead in a style based on their personality, meaning a different needed leadership style requires a different leader

Rank a potential leader on many values from 1 to 8 on how they interpreted their Least-Preferred Co-Worker

  • Unfriendly to Friendly
  • Unpleasant to Pleasant
  • Rejecting to Accepting
  • Tense to Relaxed
  • Cold to Warm
  • Boring to Interesting
  • Backbiting to Loyal
  • Uncooperative to Cooperative
  • Hostile to Supportive
  • Guarded to Open
  • Insincere to Sincere
  • Unkind to Kind
  • Inconsiderate to Considerate
  • Untrustworthy to Trustworthy
  • Gloomy to Cheerful
  • Quarrelsome to Harmonious

Next, measure the Situational Favorableness to determine how a leader will perform in a situation

  • Leader-Member Relations measure the relationships between the team members and leader
  • Leader’s Position Power ranks a Strong or Weak leader from their relative power in the entire organization
  • Task Structure is Unstructured or Structured from how detailed and clear each member’s expectations are

Hersey-Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Theory

Asserts that a leader should vary their approach from skills, knowledge, and circumstances of group members

Telling Style (low relationship, high task)

  • The most direct form of leadership where the leader tells them what to do and how they want it done
  • The leader and team members work very little together
  • Works best with Maturity Level 1 (M1): least experienced, needs a leader to tell them how to do almost everything, could be from low knowledge or background

Selling Style (high relationship, high task)

  • More room for collaboration than telling
  • Leader more frequently engages with team members and convinces them to follow specific methods
  • Works best with Maturity Level 2 (M2): slightly more knowledge and skill than M1s, more willing to take on tasks even if they need help to do it correctly

Participant Style (high relationship, low task)

  • Leader builds relationships with team members
  • Leader blends in more fully with followers and might even defer some decisions
  • Works best with Maturity Level 3 (M3): excited to work on the job, has most of the skills to perform it, can do most of the work alone

Delegating Style (low relationship, low task)

  • Leader passes on most responsibilities for a project or task to team members
  • Leaders with experienced teams will rarely need to direct members
  • Works best with Maturity Level 4 (M4): fully able to perform a task without a leader

Tannenbaum-Schmidt Leadership Continuum

Interprets multiple spectrums from leadership style extremes

  • Every leader will fit into the middle somewhere

The spectrum runs between Manager-Oriented Leadership (a dictator) to Team-Oriented Leadership (encourages sharing ideas)

  1. Tells – gives direct instructions with limited interaction, usually from distrust
  2. Sells – still direct, but allows dynamic between the leader and members where the leader still commands but listens
  3. Suggests – softer approach than selling and wants the team’s input in the process
  4. Consults – trusts team members to ask their advice, gives legitimate power to the members
  5. Joins – the leader is more a member than a dictator, maintains control over choices but makes the decisions with the team
  6. Delegates – believes in the team implicitly and expects them to perform
  7. Abdicates – leader gives up any involvement and lets the team run itself from start to finish

Lewin’s Leadership Styles Framework

Indicates three distinctive leadership styles within each person

A. Authoritarian Leadership takes command and doesn’t pass on any decision-making responsibility

B. Participative Leadership works as part of a team and expects group input

C. Delegative Leadership hands off responsibilities entirely to team members and trusts them completely

Path-Goal Theory

Proposes all goals have a pathway and a leader is responsible for guiding the way through it

  1. Clears the path by helping team members see the goal, or mid-points if the end isn’t in sight
  2. Removes future obstacles to the project and steps in to correct problems which inevitably arise
  3. Offers rewards to keep team members motivated and happy

The Path-Goal theory uses and mixes four leadership types

  1. Supporting Leadership – leader builds relationships and shows individual interest with each member
  2. Directive Leadership – gives assignments and objectives
  3. Participative Leadership – leader motivates team members by treating them as equals in authority
  4. Achievement-Oriented Leadership – leader offers incentives and rewards to make members feel recognized and accomplished
Next: Level 1 Leadership – Being A Professional