When I was growing up in a very small town, leadership meant those individuals who had positions of authority in our community; many of these positions were perceived because they lived in the community for generations or had monetary influence. They weren’t always Mayor, School Board President or Council members, but we always knew they had a certain power or influence over the way things were done within the community, schools and churches.

As I work in the “leadership” arena, I see how the meaning has changed for me. There are many books offering definitions for the term leadership that is for sure. My experience and study of this topic over many years brings to me this simple yet powerful definition. t Leadership is an action, an activity. People can serve in a position of authority or power and not necessarily exercise leadership. When you hear “he/she is a great leader”, is it defining who they are or is it what they do? Would you consider them a leader if they didn’t do something (action) to make it so? Or do you consider them a leader because of the position they hold?

In the society we live in, there are scandals from the highest level of government to the smallest nonprofit organization for adultery, embezzling, nepotism and more.

In the publicity following, it is said they were considered great leaders. Now, after all that has come out, are they “bad” leaders?

It seems there is a level of uncertainty about those in positions of authority. We have been taught that certain positions demand respect just by the positions they are, but when the people in those positions fall from grace, do we blame the person or the position?

Is there a difference or does it become one and the same?

Determining how you define “leadership” is important in our society. I believe strongly that exercising leadership takes more than the position that is held. It takes being aware of the people we are working with, the knowledge that tackling tough, daunting concerns in our communities takes time. Even though we want to see results quickly, most issues or concerns that we care deeply about can’t be “fixed” quickly. Anyone can exercise leadership, anytime and anywhere. It takes getting involved in those issues you care about. It is easy to let others tackle the challenges; while it is hard to take initiative toward solutions.

To learn more about leadership, contact Becky Wolfe at HYPERLINK "mailto:info@leadershipbutlerinc.org"info@leadershipbutlerinc.org.