The Changing Meaning of Leadership
Leadership has always been based on power. For the conventional view, this means the power of personality to dominate a group.
But in our knowledge driven world, business is a war of ideas where the power to innovate and promote new products is the new basis of leadership.
Anyone with critical knowledge that could alter business direction can show leadership. This is thought leadership.
It can be shown by front line employees who don't manage anyone.
It can be bottom-up as well as top-down. It can even come from outside. It can be shown between organizations too as in market leadership.
Only management is a formal role.
Leadership re-invented is an occasional ACT, like creativity, not a role or position.
Those at the top sometimes lead, sometimes just manage. Other times they operate as venture capitalists investing in the best ideas (leadership) emerging from below.
Leadership is based on youthful rebelliousness, the drive of young people to challenge the status quo and find a better way.
Bottom-up or thought leadership is more like the actions of Martin Luther King Jr. than business leadership. His demonstrations had a leadership impact on policy makers in the U.S. government and, of course, they did not report to him.
This shows that leadership is really just about taking a stand for what you believe and trying to convince people to think and act differently.