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4 Ways to Define Leadership

Sammi Caramela
Sammi Caramela

Leadership critical to every company. Workers need someone to look to, learn from and thrive with.

Every leader has their own style and strategy. Further, leadership styles and methods vary because of outside influences and personal challenges.

While leadership is unique to everyone, there are some common ways to define the term. Peter Economy, also known as "The Leadership Guy," listed the qualities of today's best leadership in an article. According to Economy, leadership embodies:

  • Decisiveness
  • Awareness
  • Focus
  • Accountability
  • Empathy
  • Confidence
  • Optimism
  • Honesty
  • Inspiration

Research published in Harvard Business Review in 2000 and an article on Mind Tools listed some common leadership styles:

  • Coercive: Leaders demand immediate compliance.
  • Authoritative: Leaders mobilize people toward a vision.
  • Affiliative: Leaders create emotional bonds and harmony.
  • Democratic: Leaders build consensus through participation.
  • Pacesetting: Leaders expect excellence and self-direction.
  • Coaching: Leaders develop people for the future.
  • Bureaucratic leadership, whose leaders focus on following every rule.
  • Charismatic leadership, in which leaders inspire enthusiasm in their teams and are energetic in motivating others to move forward.
  • Servant leadership, whose leaders focus on meeting the needs of the team.
  • Transactional leadership, in which leaders inspire by expecting the best from everyone and themselves.

More specifically, leaders share similar goals and standards to abide by. Here are four ways that good leaders achieve success:

1. Leaders better their environment

Leaders do not exist to order their workers around. While they oversee their team, a true leader takes initiative and trusts their employees to perform efficiently and independently.

"Leaders are coaches with a passion for developing people, not players," said Randy Stocklin, co-founder and CEO of One Click Ventures. "They get satisfaction from achieving objects through others. Leaders inspire people through a shared vision and create an environment where people feel valued and fulfilled."

When a company has a positive culture, employees are more motivated and confident in their work. It's through supportive leaders that a company finds the most success. According to Richard Kissane, executive chairman of Premium Franchise Brands, leaders are responsible for setting the tone for their team and organization.

"As a leader, it is your responsibility to establish goals, innovate, motivate and trust," he said. "A passionate and compassionate leader can energize a company."

2. They know their team and themselves well

Good leaders want their entire company to succeed, including everyone involved. They take the time to understand every worker so they can help them achieve their personal goals in line with the company's.

"A leader places the people around him or her in a position that sets them up for success," said Andor Kovacs, CEO and founder of property restoration brand Restoration 1. "This is a difficult task, because a leader must have an in-depth understanding of each individual, such as understanding their career goals and knowing what motivates them. By being committed to helping each person achieve their own personal goals, the leader sets the organization up for greatness."

This translates to providing tools that workers need to succeed, offering praise when things go right and taking responsibility when things go wrong, said Jordan French, founding CMO of BeeHex, Inc. 3D Food Printing.

3. Leaders maintain a positive attitude

Businesses face ups and downs. Without someone to take the reins and push forward in optimism, the company will likely be unsuccessful.

"A good leader can hold his or her emotions in check, especially in tough situations," said David Moore, founding partner and regional vice president of Addison Group staffing firm. "For example, maybe you lost your best client, or a deal you've been working on falls through. Regardless, it's important for leaders to guide a team through challenging times, encouraging them and remaining positive along the way. Team morale is heavily contingent upon a leader's attitude."

This is done without pride standing in the way. While no one likes to admit defeat, sometimes it's inevitable. Good leaders recognize that.

According to Darcy Eikenberg, founder of, a leader should be confident enough to know when they're wrong so they can move past a mistake.

"Leadership is the ability to see a problem and be the solution," said Andrea Walker-Leidy, owner of Walker Publicity Consulting. "So many people are willing to talk about problems or can even empathize, but not many can see the problem or challenge and rise to it. It takes a leader to truly see a problem as a challenge and want to drive toward it."

4. They build the next generation of leaders

Leaders can't, and shouldn't, stand alone. A company doesn't need just one influential individual. Leaders should want to develop more leaders from the get-go.

"Great leaders also hire and inspire other great leaders, whom they trust to carry out the company mission and instill a sense of purpose that touches each and every staff member," added Tom Villante, co-founder, chairman and CEO of payment processing company YapStone.

According to J. Kelly Hoey, author, "Build Your Dream Network" (TarcherPerigree, 2017), a leader builds their employees so they can be as successful as, if not more than, the person in charge. "A leader is someone who builds their team, mentors them and then advocates for them," she said.

They are not in competition – they are part of a team.

Additional reporting by Business News Daily staff members. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Image Credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock
Sammi Caramela
Sammi Caramela
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't writing for and Business News Daily, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. She is also the content manager for Lightning Media Partners. Check out her short stories in "Night Light: Haunted Tales of Terror," which is sold on Amazon.