Defining Leadership in America

        The definition of leadership and whit it means in American society has been widely debated.  Leadership is important to understand because it often identifies basic values and mission for an individual or company.  A variety of different definitions have been put forward about leadership throughout time.  This essay will define these different definitions of leadership and define what I feel leadership is.

        Leadership can be defined by The Collins English Dictionary “is the ability to lead” which focuses on the position and ability of a leader.  Warren Bennis definition of leadership focuses on the individual capabilities:  “Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.”  John W. Gardner defines leadership as “the process of persuasion and example by which an individual induces a group to take action that is in accord with the leader’s purpose, or the shared purposes of all.”  I believe that leadership consists of many qualities and skills that involve the rational process of interacting with others in many types of situations.        

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        As you can see, the four definitions I have given differ in many ways and these differences have resulted in society’s viewpoints of leadership.  There is no specific strategy in approaching leadership; it has to be appropriate for a specific or given situation.  Many people plan their actions for a given situation.  I believe that an individual’s personality, situation and organizational structure determine what is best for an individual applying their leadership skills.  The ideas of motivation, influence, selflessness, leading by example and making a difference are also factors in defining leadership.  These are common ideas that individuals or companies ...

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