What is Leadership? All About Leading and Leadership

  • Extensive guidelines for leading oneself, other individuals, groups and organizations

Comprehensive, practical book by Carter McNamara
Leadership and Supervision in Business - Book Cover

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Adapted from the Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision in Business and Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision for Nonprofit Staff.

There has been an explosion of articles about leading and leadership. However, the vast majority do not give an overview of the rich history, research and various theories of leadership. This topic aims to make that information accessible to you, so you can truly claim that you understand what leading and leadership are all about.

The following topics are very closely related to this topic: Leadership Development, Management and Supervision .

Sections of This Topic Include

--- How to Approach This Topic (and Its Relationship to Leadership Development)
Definitions of Leadership
--- Views That There is a Difference Between Leading and Managing
--- View That Separating Leading and Managing Can Be Destructive
Major Leadership Theories, Models and Styles
--- Major Theories
--- Major Models and Approaches
--- Conventional Styles
Different Domains of Leadership and Competencies Needed in Each
--- Understanding Leadership Competencies and Qualities
--- Understanding and Using Competency Models
--- Core Competencies to Lead in Any Domain
--- Domain: Leading Yourself
--- Domain: Leading Other Individuals
--- Domain: Leading Small Groups and Teams
--- Domain: Leading Large Groups and Organizations
--- Domain: Leading Communities
Miscellaneous Topics and Perspectives in Leadership
--- Miscellaneous Topics
--- Miscellaneous Perspectives

Also see
Related Library Topics

Also See the Library's Blogs Related to Leadership

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to Leadership. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog.

Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog


How to Approach This Topic

Leadership -- Very Human Activity -- and as Diverse and Robust as any Human Activity

Many people today are seeking to understand -- and many people are writing about -- the concepts and practices of leadership. There are a great many reasons for the strong popularity of the topic, including that people, groups and organizations are faced with changes like never before. Effective leadership is required to understand and navigate through the many changes.

There has been an explosion of literature about leadership lately. Leading is a very human activity -- we're all human -- so there are many people who consider themselves experts on leadership. Unfortunately, many people make strong assertions about leadership without ever really understanding a great deal about leadership. Understanding leadership requires more than reading a few articles or fantasizing about what great leaders should be. The contents of this topic aim to give the reader a broad understanding of the background, contexts and approaches to leadership.

The reader might best be served to explore the topic of leadership by:

  1. First, by getting a basic sense of the system of an organization, including its functions and roles, and how they are integrated. See the topic Introduction to Organizations.
  2. Next, get a basic sense of the functions of management (leading is one of them) and how they are integrated in order to lead an organization. See the topic Introduction to Management.
  3. Next, scan the topics in this topic of leadership in order to realize that there are definitions of leadership, different theories and models and traits of leadership, and different domains of leadership -- each domain requiring different competencies or qualities in order to lead in that domain.
  4. Finally, get a sense for how your abilities in leadership can be developed in an informal or formal way. See the topic Leadership Development.

Learn How to Read Literature About Leadership

Before you proceed to understand more about leadership, you might read about:
Leadership Cube -- The Many Dimensions of Leadership
Guidelines to Understanding Literature About Leadership

NOTE: Some people use the term "leadership" (the capability to lead) to refer to governance or executive management (both are roles in an organization). If you're seeking information about those roles, see Chief Executive Role and/or Boards of Directors.


Definitions of Leadership

Leadership Defined

By Steve Wolinski

There are hundreds of definitions of leadership and this is not an attempt to come to a consensus on a definition. The hope is to get readers to reflect on what they believe about leadership. It is also an attempt to give blog participants a general sense of how certain “experts” are describing leadership, in the hope that you may come to your own definition, which can then be used to guide your work.

What is Leadership?

Some view leadership as a series of specific traits or characteristics. Others see it as comprised of certain skills and knowledge. And some, me included, think of leadership as a process. This view of leadership, as a process, places an emphasis on social interaction and relationship. This is the idea that leadership is a type of relationship, one that typically includes influencing others in a certain direction. This leads to my current working definition of leadership: Leadership is a relationship that involves the mobilizing, influencing, and guiding of others toward desired goals. This definition does not assume that the goals are shared or even explicit. The word desire simply means that someone in the relationship, perhaps just the person in a leadership role, wants a particular outcome. The following are some definitions that have a bias toward leadership as a process:

  • “Leadership is a process of giving purpose (meaningful direction) to collective effort, and causing willing effort to be expended to achieve purpose.” (Jacobs & Jaques)
  • “Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation.” (Hersey & Blanchard)
  • “Leadership is an attempt at influencing the activities of followers through the communication process and toward the attainment of some goal or goals.” (Donelly)
  • “Leadership is defined as the process of influencing the activities of an organized group toward goal achievement.” (Rauch & Behling)
  • “Leadership is interpersonal influence, exercised in a situation, and directed, through the communication process, toward the attainment of a specified goal or goals.” (Tannenbaum, et al)

It has been my experience that many organizational leaders, knowingly or unknowingly, view leadership as a set of specific traits or skills. Below are a few definitions that are grounded in skills and, to a lesser extent, traits.

  • “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”. (Bennis)
  • “Leadership is about articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished.” (Richards and Engle)
  • “Leadership is the creation of a vision about a desired future state which seeks to enmesh all members of an organization in its net.” (Bryman)
  • “It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.” (Ciulla)

These definitions are entirely valid perspectives — they are simply different from a leadership as process perspective. Having said that, it is my impression that, overall, definitions of leadership are becoming more process and relationship oriented.

How Important Is It to Have a Definition of Leadership?

In my role as a leadership consultant it is not necessary for me to share my clients definition of leadership – but it is important to know whether they have a definition and, if they do, what is included in that definition. If there isn’t an understanding of what leadership entails it diminishes the likelihood that the client will get what they want from our relationship. It is similar to a client looking to hire a consultant to increase employee engagement and, after digging a bit deeper with the client, discovering that what they are actually looking for is a way to improve the efficiency of work processes.

Various Other Definitions

Leadership Defined
Concepts of Leadership
Leadership in the Next Millennium
Leadership (an Introduction)

Is Leading Different than Managing? (Pros and Cons)

Traditional views of management associate it with four major functions: planning, organizing, leading and controlling/coordinating. However, many educators, practitioners and writers disagree with this traditional view.

Views that Leading is Different Than Managing

Maintaining the Delicate Balance between Leadership and Management

By Dr. Greg Waddell.

Management and Leadership are two very different systems of human behavior. Both are essential to the success of an organization; yet, like the repulsing polarity of two magnets, they push against one another and, if not kept in balance, can end up ejecting one or the other causing great damage to the organization and its people. It is difficult, yet necessary, to maintain both strong leadership and strong management simultaneously.

People are naturally reluctant to step into change and the discomfort we experience when we find ourselves in the midst of ambiguity. Much of what we call “organization” is the struggle to reign in that ambiguity and bring things back to a state of equilibrium. Management is about developing systems and processes that enable us to take dominion over chaos. It is an attempt to create a semblance of order and constancy in an inherently complex situation. It’s about designing plans and systems for monitoring progress and controlling outcomes. It involves solving problems, giving reports, having meetings, and developing policies, all for the purpose of bringing things to a place of efficiency, where the ambiguity is dispelled and people can feel comfortable again.

The problem is that, in a rapidly-changing environment, equilibrium can be deadly. The external environment today is a bit like whitewater rafting. To survive, you have to constantly shift your weight from one side of the raft to the other, thrust your paddle first to the left and then to the right, or use it to push off a rapidly approaching rock. This is when you need leadership rather than management.

Leadership is about change. It’s about helping the organization define its vision, one that can take advantage of opportunities and avoid oncoming threats. It’s about challenging people to grow and to unleash their yet untapped potential. It’s about inspiring people to step into uncharted territory. Leaders get nervous when things are running too smoothly; often introducing innovative ideas just to stir things up a bit. CEO, Renato Beninatto of Milengo, a translation and localization industry, uses the term “chief instigator” to describe his job. Whereas managers constantly try to adjust to change, leaders are in the business of producing change.

It’s important to understand that both are necessary for success. Unfortunately, some organizations I have been acquainted with continue to value management over leadership. In these situations, the leadership function can be mistakenly identified as subversive to the organization’s welfare. The call for unity is often a demand that those with innovative thoughts keep them to themselves. The status quo is confused with the sacred. If organizations are to stay afloat and thrive in today’s volatile environment, they must recognize that leadership is essential. In the Bible there is a saying about putting new wine into old wineskins and thus causing the wineskins to burst because they lack flexibility. The new wine must be put into new wineskins. Management tries to hold the wine in a manageable form. Leadership is the process of changing from the old, dried-out, leaky wineskins to the new, more resilient, more adjustable forms.

View That Separating "Leading" from "Managing" Can Be Destructive

Another view is that to be a very effective member of an organization (whether executive, middle manager, or entry-level worker), you need skills in the functions of planning, organizing, leading and coordinating activities -- the key is you need to be able to emphasize different skills at different times.

Yes, leading is different than planning, organizing and coordinating because leading is focused on influencing people, while the other functions are focused on "resources" in addition to people. But that difference is not enough to claim that "leading is different than managing" any more than one can claim that "planning is different than managing" or "organizing is different than managing".

The assertion that "leading is different than managing" -- and the ways that these assertions are made -- can cultivate the view that the activities of planning, organizing and coordinating are somehow less important than leading. The assertion can also convince others that they are grand and gifted leaders who can ignore the mere activities of planning, organizing and coordinating -- they can leave these lesser activities to others with less important things to do in the organization. This view can leave carnage in organizations. Read:
Founder's Syndrome -- How Organizations Suffer -- and Can Recover

Additional Perspectives About Leading Versus Managing

Management Styles (says they're different and compares different traits)
The View From the Front Line
Management vs. Leadership
Manage Things, Lead People
Leadership Transitions


There are a variety of classifications for organizing information about leadership. In this section, a theory is considered to be a set of general ideas about why a certain system (for example, a person, process, team or organization) is behaving the way that it does. A model is a general framework that depicts the theory in action. A style is a particular nature or manner in how the model is applied. Even those classifications can seem to overlap in the following paragraphs.

Major Theories

Most theories view leadership as grounded in one or more of the following three perspectives: leadership as a process or relationship, leadership as a combination of traits or personality characteristics, or leadership as certain behaviors or, as they are more commonly referred to, leadership skills. In virtually all of the more dominant theories there exist the notions that, at least to some degree, leadership is a process that involves influence with a group of people toward the realization of goals. -- Steve Wolinski

Additional Perspectives on Theories of Leadership

Leadership Theories
Leadership Theories
Leadership Theories
Leadership Theories

Behavioral Theory

This theory focuses especially on what highly effective leaders do. This theory is often preferred by educators because behaviors can rather easily be seen and duplicated. The major criticisms are that it doesn't help leaders know when to use certain behaviors and to share their motives for using those behaviors.

Behavioral Theory
Behavioral Theories of Leadership

Contingency Theory

This theory states that a leader’s effectiveness is contingent on how well the leader’s style matches a specific setting or situation. And how, you may ask, is this different from situational theory? In situational the focus is on adapting to the situation, whereas contingency states that effective leadership depends on the degree of fit between a leader’s qualities and style and that of a specific situation or context. -- Steve Wolinski

Contingency Theory (Wikipedia)
What Is the Contingency Theory of Leadership?

Functional Theory

This theory focuses especially on the behaviors needed to help a group to improve its effectiveness and achieve its goals. The theory identifies the specific functions needed by leadership for addressing certain situations.

Functional Theory of Leadership
Functional Theory

Great Man Theory

This theory focuses on the traits and actions of those who are considered to be great leaders, as if they were born with those traits of leadership -- that leadership is a trait of those people, more than any skills that they had learned.

Great Man Theory
Great Man Theory of Leadership

Path-Goal Theory

This theory is about how leaders motivate followers to accomplish identified objectives. It postulates that effective leaders have the ability to improve the motivation of followers by clarifying the paths and removing obstacles to high performance and desired objectives. The underlying beliefs of path-goal theory (grounded in expectancy theory) are that people will be more focused and motivated if they believe they are capable of high performance, believe their effort will result in desired outcomes, and believe their work is worthwhile. -- Steve Wolinski

Path-Goal Theory of Leadership
Path-Goal Theory

Servant Leadership Theory

This conceptualization of leadership reflects a philosophy that leaders should be servants first. It suggests that leaders must place the needs of followers, customers, and the community ahead of their own interests in order to be effective. The idea of servant leadership has a significant amount of popularity within leadership circles – but it is difficult to describe it as a theory inasmuch as a set of beliefs and values that leaders are encouraged to embrace. -- Steve Wolinski

What is Servant Leadership?
Servant Leadership

Situational Theory

This theory suggests that different situations require different styles of leadership. That is, to be effective in leadership requires the ability to adapt or adjust one’s style to the circumstances of the situation. The primary factors that determine how to adapt are an assessment of the competence and commitment of a leader’s followers. The assessment of these factors determines if a leader should use a more directive or supportive style. -- Steve Wolinski

Situational Leadership Theory
Situational Theory of Leadership

Skills Theory

This theory states that learned knowledge and acquired skills/abilities are significant factors in the practice of effective leadership. Skills theory by no means disavows the connection between inherited traits and the capacity to be an effective leader – it simply argues that learned skills, a developed style, and acquired knowledge, are the real keys to leadership performance. It is of course the belief that skills theory is true that warrants all the effort and resources devoted to leadership training and development. -- Steve Wolinski

Skills Theory
Skills Theory of Leadership

Trait Theory

This theory postulates that people are either born or not born with the qualities that predispose them to success in leadership roles. That is, that certain inherited qualities, such as personality and cognitive ability, are what underlie effective leadership. There have been hundreds of studies to determine the most important leadership traits, and while there is always going to be some disagreement, intelligence, sociability, and drive (aka determination) are consistently cited as key qualities. -- Steve Wolinski

Trait Theory
What is the Trait Theory of Leadership

Transactional Theory

This is a theory that focuses on the exchanges that take place between leaders and followers. It is based in the notion that a leader’s job is to create structures that make it abundantly clear what is expected of his/her followers and also the consequences (i.e. rewards and punishments) for meeting or not meeting these expectations. This theory is often likened to the concept and practice of management and continues to be an extremely common component of many leadership models and organizational structures. -- Steve Wolinski

Transactional Leadership
Transactional Leadership

Transformational Theory

This theory states that leadership is the process by which a person engages with others and is able to create a connection that results in increased motivation and morality in both followers and leaders. It is often likened to the theory of charismatic leadership that espouses that leaders with certain qualities, such as confidence, extroversion, and clearly stated values, are best able to motivate followers. The key in transformational leadership is for the leader to be attentive to the needs and motives of followers in an attempt to help them reach their maximum potential. In addition, transformational leadership typically describes how leaders can initiate, develop, and implement important changes in an organization. This theory is often discussed in contrast with transactional leadership. -- Steve Wolinski

What is Transformational Leadership?
Transformational Leadership: What are the Differences that Make a Difference?

Major Models and Approaches

Overview of Leadership Approaches

Adaptive Leadership

The adaptive leader needs to be able to connect organizational change to the core values, capabilities, and dreams of the relevant stakeholders. The adaptive leader seeks to foster a culture that collects and honors diversity of opinion and uses this collective knowledge for the good of the organization. The adaptive leader knows that change and learning can be painful for people, and is able to anticipate and counteract any reluctant behavior related to the pain. The adaptive leader understands that large scale change is an incremental process and that he/she needs to be persistent and willing to withstand pressure to take shortcuts.
-- Steve Wolinski

Adaptive Leadership in Action - A Civic Leadership Coaching Scenario
Adaptability and Resiliency in Leadership
Leading Adaptive Change
Adaptive Strain: Seeing the Need for Change
Making Change Your Ally
The Role of Adaptive Change Leader
Skills for Leading the Fall
Taking the Fall without becoming the “Fall Guy”

Appreciative Leadership

Appreciative leadership asserts that we all never fully “arrive” … instead, we all do the best we can a day at a time, using the best tools and resources that are available to us. Appreciative leadership shares generative stories and practical tools that can help each of us to feel that we belong and are valued, and to walk that path a little more consistently and consciously. In so doing, it may help others do the same – and make the world kinder, better place. -- Steve Wolinski

Appreciative Leadership
Leadership: Appreciative Leadership
Appreciation for Appreciative Leadership

Also see
Appreciative Inquiry

Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership asserts the need for leaders to be truly authentic human beings in their roles as leaders. Authenticity has a variety of interpretations in this approach, ranging from being respectfully honest and direct with others in the moment to be fully self-realized human beings. Critics assert that we must be careful about how we interpret authenticity so that we do not romanticize and idealize the concept to the extent that no human being could ever achieve that status - and thus the approach inadvertently becomes inauthentic in itself.

Authentic Leadership Can Be Bad Leadership
Authentic Leadership – Dare to Be Yourself

Also see

Dynamic Leadership

Dynamical leaders pay attention to three conditions to ensure an effective, highly functioning organization: coherence, resilience, and fitness. Coherence can be thought of as an interdependence of parts. Dynamic leaders are constantly scanning their environment for potential surprises, and regard blips and trends as pieces of a larger puzzle to be solved. Resilience is the ability to integrate, re-calibrate and recover quickly when challenged. -- Steve Wolinski

Introduction to Dynamical Leadership by Royce Holladay
Leading Dynamically: Achieve What Others Say is Impossible

Heroic Leadership

Heroic leadership is when followers are greatly influenced by a leader in whom they have strong confidence to solve complex problems and achieve great goals -- in that sense, the leader is their hero. Critics caution us to not take this to extremes, that is, that the hero is not to be seen as someone who can save us from any situation. Rather, the heroic leader is someone that we greatly respect and, thus, we are willing to follow him or her.

Are We Really Just Looking for Leaders to Save Us From Ourselves?
Center for Heroic Leadership

Also see
Is Transformational Leadership Overly Heroic?
Are We Really Just Looking for Leaders to Save Us From Ourselves?

Systems and Complexity Leadership

This approach to leadership is from the believe that "today is so interconnected and interdependent that leaders need to differentiate situations that are Complex from those that are complicated – think Everglades (Complex) versus Rolex watch (complicated) or customer relations (Complex) versus financial spreadsheet (complicated)." -- Carol Mase

Dancing with the Butterfly - Part I (also see parts II through V)
Leading the Dynamic between Uncertainty and Understanding

Also see
the "Unleashing the Power" series in the section Leading Yourself
Systems Thinking

VUCA Leadership

The VUCA framework was developed at the US Army War College in response to changes in the security environment over the last twenty years. The purpose of the Army post-graduate institution is the education of its best and brightest, focusing on leadership and strategy, and teaching the skills required to act effectively in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous world. Its usefulness led to a new nickname for the College, VUCA-U. -- Carol Mase

VUCA Prime - A Leader's Response
Leading the Dynamic between Volatility and Vision
Leading the Dynamic between Ambiguity and Agility
Turbulence or Designed Instability?

Also see
Chaos Theory
Systems Thinking

Conventional Styles

Overview of Conventional Styles

Leadership Styles
Adapt your leadership style
Are you an Innovator, an Entrepreneur, or a Manager?
Are You a Crisis Manager?

Autocratic (Authoritarian) Leadership

Autocratic leaders rarely solicit information from those they lead, rather these leaders make decisions based on their own perspectives, assumptions and conclusions. This style is the opposite of the participatory leaders.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Autocratic Leadership Style
Is Autocratic Leadership Relevant Today?
Culture, Cars, and Leadership

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leaders influence others by the nature of their personality, for example, by being highly visionary, inspirational and motivational. As with other styles of leadership, the charismatic leader can influence others for highly moral or immoral reasons.

What is Charismatic Leadership?
Charismatic Leadership: The Elusive Factor in Organizational Effectiveness

Participative (Democratic) Leadership

Participative leadership is when the leader encourages other to take part in decision-making and problem-solving. It can range from decisions being made by the leader after suitable discussion to decisions being made by consensus of the participants. This approach often results in stronger understanding and commitment to the outcomes of the participation.

The Advantages of Participative Leadership
Participative Leadership

Laissez-Faire Leadership

This style can be seen as a hands-off style in which the leaders delegate responsibilities and decisions to the followers. The leaders do not see themselves becoming involved unless their is a problem that requires it.

Laissez-Faire Leadership: A Definition
What is Laissez-Faire Leadership?


Understanding Leadership Competencies and Qualities

Challenge of Identifying Competencies Needed by Leaders

The particular competencies (knowledge, skills and abilities) or qualities that a person needs in order to lead at a particular time in an organization depend on a variety of factors, including:
1) Whether that person is leading one other individual, a group or a large organization;
2) The extent of leadership skills that person already has;
3) That person's basic nature and values (competencies should be chosen that are in accordance with that nature and those values);
4) Whether the group or organization is for-profit or nonprofit, new or long-established, and large or small;
5) The particular culture (or values and associated behaviors) of whomever is being led.

The above considerations can make it very challenging when trying to determine what competencies someone should have in order to be a better leader. Perhaps that's why leadership training programs in institutions typically assert a set of standard competencies, for example, decision making, problem solving, managing power and influence, and building trust.

Don't Get Hung Up On Categories -- Different People Will Categorize Topics Differently

If the reader had the opportunity to review a variety of leadership development programs, he or she would notice a wide variety of approaches to categorizing topics. Don't get hung up on the "right" way to categorize the topics.

Competencies Are Cumulative from Leading Individuals to Organizations

Leading in successively larger contexts (from individuals to groups to organization-wide efforts) requires successively larger sets of competencies. For example, "core" competencies are the minimum needed in leading others, whether other individuals, in groups or organization-wide efforts. To really be effective at leading other individuals, one should have the core competencies plus certain other competencies to lead individuals, etc

Understanding and Using Competency Models

A competency model is an integrated approach, a framework, that can be used to identify the competencies (new knowledge, skills and abilities) and qualities required by leadership in various contexts. Consider the following articles.

How to Develop a Leadership Competency Model
Leadership Competencies for the Common Good
Leadership Competencies

Core Competencies to Lead In Any Domain

Whether you're leading yourself, others, teams, organizations or communities, there are certain skills that you need to have. Certainly, there's a wide variety of perspectives on which skills to have, but most people would probably believe the following are necessary. Other core competencies are listed later on in this overall topic, especially in regard to certain domains.

Decision making -- setting a course of action
Planning -- Basics (establishing goals and how they will be reached)
Problem Solving (analyzing alternatives and selecting a course of action)
Ethics and Social Responsibility (how to do the right thing in any situation)
Creativity and Innovation (how to think out-of-the-box)
Systems Thinking (seeing larger structures and patterns in processes of groups and organizations)

Domain: Leading Yourself

Most information about leadership seems to start from the opinion that leading is about leading other people. However, you cannot effectively lead others unless you can first effectively lead yourself. Thus, this is the most important domain.

Setting Direction

Career Development (includes several topics, for example, career planning, finding jobs, etc.)
Personal Development (includes several topics, for example, assessments, setting goals, etc.)

Effectively Leading Yourself

Personal Productivity (includes several topics, for example, decision making, problem solving, etc.)
Personal Wellness (includes several topics, for example, self-confidence, assertiveness, etc.)
Most Forgotten Type of Leadership - Self-Leadership

Also Consider

Managing Yourself

Unleashing the Power of your Story-I
Unleashing the Power of your Story-II
Unleashing the Power of your Story-III
Unleashing the Power of your Story-IV
Unleashing the Power of your Story-V
Unleashing the Power of your Story-VI
Your Leadership Story
Unleashing the Power of Your Story
Unleashing the Power of your Story Leadership for Our Era

Also see
The "Butterfly" series in the subsection "Systems-Based Leadership" in the section Major Models and Approaches.

Domain: Leading Other Individuals

Remember that the competencies to effectively lead other individuals first require that a person can effectively lead themselves. So be sure to read the above section about leading yourself. The activities in leading other individuals who report directly to the leader is often referred to as Supervision, so that topic also might be useful to you.

Setting Direction (depending on the situation)

Establishing Performance Goals

Various Methods of Influencing Individuals

Work Directing

"Advanced" -- Effectively Leading Other Individuals

Building Trust
Communications (face-to-face)
Conflict (Managing Interpersonal Conflict)
Handling Difficult People
Motivating Others
Managing Power and Influence
Sharing Feedback
Diversity and Inclusion
Leading from all 4Quadrants

Also consider:

Basic Overview of Supervision
Basic Guide to Management and Supervision.
Who do you serve?
How to Get Involved Without Micromanaging People
Employee Commitment: Get Rid of “It’s Not My Job!”
Summary Principles for Staying Sane When Leading Others
How Does a Young New, Supervisor Lead?
Career Transition: From Technical Expert to Effective People Manager
Creating the Container for Connection
Just 3 Rules

Domain: Leading Groups and Teams

Note that some experts believe that the dynamics of a collection of about 12 people or less is quite different than a collection of 12 or more -- 12 or more becomes more like what we think of as an "organization" with a distinct culture. Many people think of a "team" as apart from a group -- they think of a team as a collection of people with a specific purpose and organized to achieve certain goals.

Remember that the competencies and qualities that are required to lead groups and teams also require that a person can effectively lead themselves and other individuals. So be sure to read the above sections about those topics.

Methods of Influencing Groups

Group-Based Problem Solving and Decision Making
Meeting Management
Project Management

"Advanced" -- Effectively Leading Groups

Conflict Management in Groups
Group Dynamics (basics about nature of groups, stages of group development, etc)
Systems Thinking (seeing larger structures and patterns in processes of groups and organizations)
Team Building

Domain: Leading Large Groups and Organizations

The topic of leading large groups and organizations is often referred to as organizational change and development. Thus, the topic Guidelines, Methods and Resources for Organizational Change Agents will be especially useful to those following the links in this section.

Setting Direction

Strategic Analysis (environmental scan and SWOT analysis)
Strategic Direction (mission, vision, values and goals)

Methods of Influence

Organizational Performance Management (includes numerous methods and movements)

"Advanced" -- Effectively Leading in Organizations

Guidelines, Methods and Resources for Organizational Change Agents
Organizational Communications
Leading Change - Part 1
Leadership Competencies and Change - Part 2
Leading a Dilemma
Leading from all 4Quadrants

Domain: Leading Communities

Many of the principles, guidelines and tools for leading in the domain of large groups and organizations came from the field of community organizing. Thus, information about that field can be very useful in gaining a broad view of the leading change in that domain.

Community Organizing (includes many links)


Miscellaneous Topics in Leadership

Women in Leadership

Women, Power, and Leadership
Women and Senior Organizational Leadership
Women in Leadership
The Greatly Exaggerated Demise of Heroic Leadership: Gender, Power, and the Myth of the Female Advantage
Women Leading Change

Unconventional Views of Leadership

Is Transformational Leadership Overly Heroic?
Are We Really Just Looking for Leaders to Save Us From Ourselves?

Leading Nonprofits

The vast majority of guidelines about leading for-profit and government organizations also apply to nonprofits, so do consider the above information in this topic.

Capacity Building in Nonprofits
Leading a Nonprofit Organization

Cultivating Meaning

Leadership and the Quest for Meaning

Miscellaneous Perspectives on Leadership

Before reading and of the following, it's important to get a sense of the overall "territory" of leadership, so be sure to at least scan the sections of topics (listed at the top of this page). There is a great deal of anecdotal information about leadership -- much of it more in the realm of spiritual development than leadership. It's insufficient to learn about leadership merely by reading a few articles.

New Paradigm in Management (including in Leadership)
Tips for Leadership Impact – Influence Others
Feedback and Leadership
The Creative Leadership No-Brainer, Part I
The Creative Leadership No-Brainer, Part II
10 Attributes of a Leader
Three Actions of Leaders
6 Tips to Delivering Customer Value (a Leadership Challenge)
The $125,000 Thank You
Leadership Games
Leadership Pyramid
Supportive Leadership – The 5 Basic Rules
Becoming a Peak Performing Leader Through Flow
Can Leaders Evolve Fast Enough
Spirit Warriors – Leaders for Complex Times
The Freedom to Be Foolish

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Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

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