Skip to content

What is leadership?

September 18, 2012

“What is Leadership?”

Lambert asks, then writes, “Most of us probably think of a particular person or set of behaviors when we think of leadership. When we use the word ‘leadership’, the next sentence often suggests what the principal, superintendent, or president did or did not do. ‘We have strong leadership in the school.’ ‘We have weak leadership in this school, and we are clearly not going to achieve our goals.’ ‘We need a change of leadership!’ Each of these assertions refers to the principal. We generally consider leadership to be synonymous with a person in a position of formal authority. When we equate the powerful concept of leadership with the behaviors of one person, we are limiting the achievement of broadbased participation by a community or a society.”  (np)

“When we equate ‘leadership’ with ‘leader’, we are immersed in ‘trait theory’: if only a leader possessed these certain traits, we would have good leadership. This tendency has caused those who might have rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to help to abstain from the work of leadership, thereby abdicating both their responsibilities and their opportunities. Although leaders do perform acts of leadership, a separation of the concepts can allow us to reconceptualize leadership itself.” (np)

Ref: Lambert, L. (1998). Building Leadership Capacity in Schools. Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. [taken from ELP book]


Comments are closed.