Thursday, May 8, 2014



On his website, George Ambler (2014) defined leadership as “... a process of influence that generates the commitment and capabilities required to translate vision into reality.”. I just don't know, however, if his definition will serve to clarify or confound the issue. Little doubt exists that leadership deals with change, social processes, and results and that it exists as distributed, personal, and developmental in human nature; at least, as Ambler described them in his post. However, Greenleaf (1977) cited a dictionary definition of leadership as something like: going out ahead and showing the way. If that holds true, then (notwithstanding the stated opinion of John Maxwell, in a personal discussion, in 2007) influence and the resulting commitment serve as antecedents to, rather than factors of "leadership." For example, before I engage in the actual act of following, someone will have had to sell (influence) me to the point where I buy in (commit), either to a person, a vision, or a process. Additionally, with all other things equal, that influence and subsequent commitment might or might not result from the efforts of the same persons. In many daily instances, the people who influence me to commit, differ from the people who actually go before me to show the way -- even on the same projects. I suggest that Ambler's definition actually identified a combination of the labels of different skill sets (concepts) and that the combined constructs generally represent skills necessary for people to succeed in life. Based on that conclusion, I further suggest that the skill set that supports "influencing others" differs from the skill set used to go before and show the way. I recommend that people who really desire to isolate the skills unique to leadership (and not life, in general), take a more discrete approach.

Ambler, G. (2014, May 9) . 6 factors that define leadership. Retrieved from http://www.georgeambler.com/6-ideas-define-leadership/

Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Pualist Press.

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