In an effort to define an integrated definition of leadership I’ve explored the layered definition of leadership and compared it to the research findings to the self-based evaluations that I have taken over time. Winston and Patterson (2006) “uncovered over 90 variables that may comprise the whole of leadership, and also reviewed 160 articles and books that contained a definition, a scale, or a construct of leadership.”
The authors then proposed an integrative definition of leadership encompassing the 90 plus variables that may help researchers and practitioners to more fully understand the breadth and scope of leadership” (Winston, B. E. & Patterson, K., 2006). I will integrate the research with the resonant leadership styles discussed by Goleman, Boyatis, and McKee (2013).
In examining the research, I will: a) provide an integrated definition of leadership, b) describe and focus on three of the components of the definition, c) argue for the viability of the definition, d) apply the definition to current competencies, and e) create a long-term stretch goal.
The three dimensions of leadership that I found interesting and reflect my personal assessments are:
- Leaders have one or more followers who have diverse gifts,
- leaders use both persuasive rhetoric and interpersonal communication including both active listening and positive discourse, and
- leaders cause followers to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy.
Integrated Definition of Leadership.
The integrated definition of leadership defined by Winston & Patterson (2006) is defined as: “one or more people who selects, equips, trains, and influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse gifts, abilities, and skills and focuses the follower(s) to the organization’s mission and objectives causing the follower(s) to willingly and enthusiastically expend spiritual, emotional, and physical energy in a concerted coordinated effort to achieve the organizational mission and objectives.
The leader achieves this influence by humbly conveying a prophetic vision of the future in clear terms that resonates with the follower(s) beliefs and values in such a way that the follower(s) can understand and interpret the future into present-time action steps.
Through the use of critical thinking skills, insight, intuition, and the use of both persuasive rhetoric and interpersonal communication including both active listening and positive discourse, facilities and draws forth the opinions and beliefs of the followers such that the followers move through ambiguity toward clarity of understanding and shared insight that result in influencing the follower(s) to see and accept the future state of the organization as a desirable condition worth committing personal and corporate resources toward its achievement.
The leader achieves this using ethical means and seeks the greater good of the follower(s) in the process of action steps such that the follower(s) is/are better off (including the personal development of the follower as well as emotional and physical healing of the follower) as a result of the interaction with the leader. The leader achieves this same state for his/her own self as a leader, as he/she seeks personal growth, renewal, regeneration, and increased stamina-mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual-through the leader-follower interactions” (Winston, B. E. & Patterson, K., 2006).
Components of the Definition
A Leader Selects, Equips, Trains, and Influences one or more follower(s) who have diverse Gifts, Abilities, and Skills. Before volunteers or employees become followers of a leader, the leader must first bring the people to the organization (Winston, B. E. & Patterson, K., 2006). “Effective leadership results when the leader engages the right traits in the right place at the right time” (Northouse, 2015).
An effective leader must select the right team rather than simply being content with having a team. A leader must first understand their traits and abilities, and then select the right combination of traits needed to assist him fulfill the vision of the organization.
The failure of a leader to identify their personal strengths and selecting complementary traits to support him will leave blind spots for him and the organization. Romans Chapter 12 reminds us that we need a diversity of gifts to accomplish a common goal. A leader must appreciate and intentionally make room for a variety of gifts to flourish in order to accomplish a goal that is bigger than themselves.
Leaders must learn how to be an “alliance builder.” “They have to take their competencies and what they do well and build alliances with others who have competencies and resources and form relationships that are mutually beneficial” (Cloud, 2006, p. 5). They are then able to create relationships with people, boards, and other organizations by leveraging what they do well to “much greater heights that make things a lot bigger” (Cloud, 2006, p. 5).
According to Cloud (2006), alliance building is the key to success and leadership. It is the capacity to create a network, and creating leverage to take what you do to a multiple. This allows the leader to be much more effective and accomplish more by being able to focus on their strength because they have selected and influenced followers to believe in and work for the vision.
Leadership is complicated and integrated. There is not a one size fit all answer. Taking the time to assess where you are in the process could save you time and energy.
Cloud, H (2013). Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge.
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & McKee, A. (2013). Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence
Northouse, P., (2015). Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice.
Townsend, J., (2009), Leadership Beyond Reason: How Great Leaders Succeed by Harnessing the Power of Their Values, Feelings, and Intuition.
Townsend, J., (2015), Stretch Goals Guidelines, Townsend Institute
Winston, B. E. & Patterson, K. (2006). An integrative definition of leadership. International Journal of Leadership Studies. 1(2), 6-66.