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How do you define leadership?

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Rakesh Wadhwa:

How do you define a leader then? How do you define leadership?

 

Tom Peters:

There is an American movie director by the name of Robert Altman who said “The role of the director is to create a space where people can be better than they have ever been before, better than they have ever dreamed of”

The definition of a leader is somebody who can't do the job anymore. And what I mean by that is the leader needs help. It's all about what the leaders do among the group of 10 on a project team of thousand in some big company. A leader is not the one who picks the technology investment but wants incredibly fabulous people who are two levels down or three levels down or one level down in the organization who are amazingly creative about those kinds of things.

In a family of two adults and four kids, the important thing is the four kids. The intensive time in your life, even if you're working is to make sure those kids get educated, are polite or able to deal well in society. And at some level leadership is the same thing. The people who work for you are not children and they're not family. We can talk about that distinction later, but having them be their best self, having them be better than they have ever dreamed of being before. That is the leader's job. The leader is not in the strategy, making business, the person, the leader developed in a little strategy department is the one and the leader will not hurt it's head or shake her/his head, but just remember this. When you become a leader, you stop doing useful work. Obviously, if you're selling an aircraft engine, the big person's gonna show up and shake hands and pretend that she or he is an important person at the time the sale was made. But even in that case, that's just icing on the cake. The real thing is the people four levels down who have worked with people four levels down in the customer organization to develop the technical specs and develop the relationships and so on. So leaders don't work. Leader help others in doing awesome work.

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