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You can read hundreds of theories about leadership but leading is something that is, rather than something to be dissected.  After all, what is a leader without followers?

In many ways leadership is defined therefore by the characteristics of followers, not by leaders themselves.

Leadership is created by those who choose to follow, and can only be taken away by their own decisions.

True leadership is relational and not limited by structure: it derives from who the person is, rather than from the title or position they hold, which is why all powerful leaders exert profound influence not only on those who report to them, but on their colleagues at many levels within the organisation.

By the nature of who they are, true leaders have an irrepressible capacity to engage interest, provoke passion and win people over.

True leaders have a wide-ranging ability to change how people think, feel and behave, without them necessarily being aware that they have been affected in such a way, or ever having met the person.

True leadership creates infectious agents of change, which are transmitted from one to another in attitudes, opinions, feelings and ideas which rapidly take root in each person’s life.

Such leadership is usually largely unconscious, and the person who wields it is typically oblivious to many aspects of their extraordinary power.

Strong leaders have so much “unofficial” influence that they can inadvertently create paranoia further up and down the chain of command, especially if their opinions have greater impact than those who are supposed to be providing direction.

True leaders are extraordinarily powerful when placed in a situation where they are able to lead officially as well as informally, by right of their position as well as by reach of their general sphere of influence.

>Adapted from Building a Better Business book by Patrick Dixon.



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