Sometimes getting to what the core of what leadership is remains to be seen. It’s almost as if leaders know what leadership is, but getting to a core agreeable definition is difficult among scholars and researchers. Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus even go as far to say that “leadership is like the Abominable Snowman, whose footprints are everywhere but who is nowhere to be seen.” Warren Bennis moves even further to indicate that “A leader must be able to leverage more than his own capabilities. He must be capable of inspiring other people to do things without actually sitting on top of them with a checklist.”
So understandably, most all leaders agree that there is a major part of leadership that is wrapped around influence. John Maxwell presents that “Leadership is influence… Nothing more, nothing less.” However, this definition falls within itself as it presents leadership as sort of static and not dynamic. In essence, this definition places all the dynamic and intrinsic pieces and parts of leadership into one hodgepodge of “influence.” Leadership is influence, yes, but it is also so much more than that. There has to be a desired result, something produced from the influence.
Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard move that “Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation.” Thus, there is the desired result of some sort of productivity toward a goal or something. Accordingly, Kouzes and Posner agree in that “Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.”
Another area to think about is within the realm of an integrative approach to what leadership is. From this perspective, Dr. Kathleen Patterson and Dr. Bruce Winston deposit that “A leader is 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.”