The very idea of leadership, though can be detailed, viewed, witnessed, or accounted for, is ever changing. More importantly, the ideals of leadership can be expressed and understood in different ways to different people. The following will report on different definitions and views of leadership, highlight how Steve Jobs from Apple, Inc. portrayed many of these characteristics and how they can be relatable to the mission of campus recreation.
Understanding Leadership Kouzes and Posner highlight the five practices of exemplary leadership and explain the importance of each as they tie together in the creation of what is, and what defines a leader. While Kouzes and Posner serves more as a “how-to” book in understanding leadership from more of a perspective of individuals, Collins and Hansen take a more systematic approach to understanding why certain companies were successful over the course of several decades. Collins and Hansen found that “The best leaders they studied did not have a visionary ability to predict the future. They observed what worked, figured out why it worked, and built upon proven foundations. They were not more risk taking, more bold, more visionary, and more creative than the comparisons. They were more disciplined, more empirical, and more paranoid (pg.9).”
The five practices of exemplary leadership highlighted by Kouzes and Posner are “Model the Way,” “Inspire a Shared Vision,” “Challenge the Process,” “Enable Others to Act,” and “Encourage the Heart.” The following are discussed by highlighting key elements Kouzes and Posner discuss in the five practices.
Great leaders are able to “Model the Way” by setting core values and living by example. By communicating what is important to you as a leader and portraying those principles, you will have a better buy-in to what needs to happen. “You cannot lead through someone else’s values, someone else’s words. You cannot lead out of someone else’s experience. You can only lead out of your own. Unless it’s your style, your words, it’s not you – it’s just an act. People don’t follow your position or technique. They follow you. If you’re not the genuine article, can you really expect others to want to follow (Kouzes & Posner, pg. 58)?”
By “Inspiring a Shared Vision” great leaders are able to get people on their team. Joining what their mission is and how that plays into the future of the ultimate goal is a key element. Kouzes and Posner explain that “Exemplary leaders are forward-looking. They are able to envision the future, to gaze across the horizon of time and imagine the greater opportunities to come. They are able to develop an ideal and unique image of the future for the common goal (pg. 105).” They go on to say that “Leaders help people see that what they are doing is bigger than themselves and bigger, even