What Does Leadership Really Mean?

What Does Leadership Really Mean?

Irene Becker | Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™ | 3Q Leadership Blog
Helping smart people and organizations move forward smarter, faster, happier


“Leadership is a big word with such a broad, deep, and pervasive meaning. You know it when you see it. You know when it is missing. Good leaders distill complexity into the things that matter most. That’s what Irene has done in this blog. Anyone who is working on improving their leadership ought to keep these tenets close by.”
  John Richard Bell, Former CEO of Jacobs Suchard, Kraft, Nabob

Leadership means seeing the challenges we face with new eyes; eyes that ignite passion, purpose and potential at the speed of change, in the face of multiple challenges and incredible opportunities.  Leadership means  building the solution focused collaboration, communication, ideation. It means building a new bridge, a stronger bridge between what is and what can be; a bridge that will help guide us from the Age of Information to the Age of Innovation.

Leadership means building communities of thought and action. It means developing learning and living organizations with new ways of seeing, thinking and communicating that drive enhanced ideation and action-ability (IQ)  improved communication, collaboration, leadership, emotional resiliency (EQ) and a strong alignment with the universal values that are the critical underpinning of sustainability and success (SQ). (The 3Q Edge™)

Leadership means satisficing, will no longer work.  Satisficing, a word coined by Nobel Lauriate Herbert Simon, means doing what is adequate. Doing what is adequate is no longer enough.  Satisficing will not help us to find new ways, better ways to become more positive and solution focused; ways of thinking, communicating and doing that can help us actualize our potential to transform challenges into solutions, difficulties into opportunities.

Leadership means harnessing our power to build a new and better future.  It starts in an alignment of head and heart, in an optimization of our true passion, purpose and potential. It starts by looking at the walls, the challenges, the hurdles we face with new eyes that take us forward faster, better and happier.  It means embracing the courage, faith, integrity and humanity, the Q strengths, that can help us use what is to create what can be in our life and the lives of others.

Click on blue text for More 3Q™ Leadership Posts:
3Q Leadership and REACH Benefits
Mission Critical:  Championing, Empowering and Enabling Our Ability to Win
Goodness to Greatness Leadership-7 Steps from Me to WE
The Thriving Organization: Ten Power Steps Out of Jurassic Park
The Leadership Compendium

Irene Becker | Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™
Helping smart people and organizations move forward smarter, faster, happier
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36 replies
  1. John Richard Bell
    John Richard Bell says:

    Leadership is a big word with such a broad, deep, and pervasivie meaning. You know it when you see it. You know when it is missing. Good leaders distill complexity into the things that matter most. And that’s what Irene has done in this blog. Anyone who is working on improving their leadership ought to keep these tenets close by. They are bound to come in handy.

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      John: I am so sorry that there were technical problems with my blog and my reply to you did not post.

      Please know how very much I appreciate your sage comments, wisdom and leadership. I remain humbled and honored by your comments and your appreciation for my article and blog.

      Best regards, Irene

  2. Andy Phillips
    Andy Phillips says:

    Good points there Irene. I have though myself settled into a simple definition of what leadership means. To me leadership means having integrity. Leaders can be wrong. But if they act with integrity (which means admitting they are wrong when they realize it) all else fall into place. All your points above sit comfortably under this simple but powerful word – integrity.

    Always enjoy your posts!

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Thank so much for your comments, Andy. I do not think there is a simple definition of leadership in that we can apply leadership to many different aspects of life and work. However, I agree that no matter how we define leadership, true leadership is all about integrity. And, to that end it is the integrity of our ambition that reflects leadership. Sharing another post I hope you will like: Leadership is Olympian-Time to Lead Forward http://justcoachit.com/blog/2012/07/27/leadership-is-olympian-time-to-lead-forward/

      Thanks for taking the time to write, and for your feedback-SO appreciated, Andy

      Very best! Irene

  3. PM Hut
    PM Hut says:

    Hi Irene,

    I think leadership means that others are willing to follow you regardless of your decision. They are willing to work not for money, but to make you happy. Leadership is about feeling admired, all the time, by your followers.

    By the way, I believe that leaders are born, not made. I remember I worked for a 22 year old manager that was a better manager than any of the other managers I have worked for or I have met!

    Leadership is very important in project management – check this post: http://www.pmhut.com/leadership-traits-in-project-management

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi! Thank you very much for your comments. While we have a bit of a difference of opinion in terms of what leadership means, I think that differences make for learning, growing and are good! The difference being that I think that leadership is not about feeling admired, but rather about leading others forward in ways that optimize their potential and speak to the greatest good possible. Admiration is lovely, but there are times in every leader’s career where what he/she will say or do may be challenged by many, even the most ardent followers.

      I agree that leadership is very important for project management, and I am giving a leadership training workshop for the Project Management Institute in Toronto Nov 3. Thank you so much for sending me the link to the article on project management and leadership, I will read it with great interest.

      Very best! Irene

  4. Sérgio Bozza
    Sérgio Bozza says:

    Dear Irene, good afternoon
    True leaders are always connected with their followers, passing them everything they know, to contribute to the growth of each, assuming all responsibility for the mistakes and always guiding the team to continue to be better and better. A leader is simple, polite and supportive, stimulating, seeks perfection from his team ever!
    Happy day to you, and congratulations on your beautiful work.
    God bless your life richly, abundantly!
    Sergio Bozza

    http://br.linkedin.com/pub/sergio-bozza/48/a85/866 ; http://br.linkedin.com/in/713713;

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Sergio: Thank you very much for your comments! I think that true leadership is servant leadership and speaks to the ability to not only inspire the best in one’s people, but to be a strategic thinker who can also communicate and guide results because he/she has the wisdom, experience and people skills to see the big picture and understand what is necessary to make that big picture a reality.

      I am do glad that you enjoyed the post. There are many more posts on leadership on the blog, and there is also a post Top Ten Leadership and Communication Posts that I am sure you will enjoy.

      Sincere appreciation for your comments, your wonderful blessing! Hope you continue to enjoy the blog and send me your comments.

      Very best, Irene

  5. Japhet Simon
    Japhet Simon says:


    Great post again, and I enjoyed reading it. To me, leadership is like having and driving a car, you need to care of it, fuel the car and service it regularly, there are sometimes you need to drive slow and other times fast. You need to remember the fact that you are in control, does not mean you have the right to run down everyone on street, you need to considerate and sometimes strong. Fail to take care of it (Employees, Customers & Communities), you are doomed.


    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      This is an important question, Abe. Today, managers must develop leadership skills in order to manage, however the leaders job is not to managed but to lead the organization forward so that emphasis on leadership strengths and his/her focus is different from that of management.

      The best way I can answer it is to share an excerpt from On Becoming A Leader by Warren Bennis:

      – The manager administers; the leader innovates.

      – The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.

      – The manager maintains; the leader develops.

      – The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.

      – The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.

      – The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.

      – The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.

      – The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.

      – The manager imitates; the leader originates.

      – The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.

      – The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.

      – The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.

      Best, Irene

  6. Gary Winters
    Gary Winters says:

    Irene, I was led here by Gwen Teatro (http://gwynteatro.wordpress.com/) via Twitter, who’d posted the link to your Top Ten 2012 blogs on Leadership, Communication, Career. I enjoyed the original post as well as the insights in the comments, plus your responses. “Leadership” is bandied about so much. No one blog can claim “This is the final definition,” but your piece does include some key elements about dealing with challenges and change. If we want talented people around us supporting our goals and helping our company be successful, we have to recognize their value and use it—not abuse it and treat them like paycheck earners. Honor, humility and honesty (the three “H’s” of leadership) need to be seen more in the workplace.

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Gary: Thank you so much for your very kind comkment. I agree wholeheartedly that honor, humility and honesty need to be applauded and engaged in our workplaces and our lives. What is not built upon what your 3 H’s of leadership is ultimately destined to crash and fall.

      Wishing you a terrific 2013.

      Best, Irene

  7. lily
    lily says:

    hi Irene,
    I am going to be in ASB in my school but i’m not what a leader would mean. I am kind of shy and that outgoing do i’m not sure if I can be a leader.

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Lily: My apologies for the delay in replying, as there is a technical glitch on my blog. Not everyone wants to be a leader in the traditional sense, but we all need and can develop our personal leadership skills. Sharing an article I hope you like: The Empowerment Compendium http://bit.ly/14Qx7vv

      Best, Irene

  8. Shivali
    Shivali says:

    Hey Irene.Your points are really fantastic. They have helped me a lot in my presentation.But sorry, I couldn’t get the second point clearly. Leadership means building communities of thought and action. Can I have its explanation in simpler words.Please provide me if you can.

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi Shivali: Thanks for your comments and question! My apologies for the delay in replying. I came back from keynote and work in UK to post trip backlog and am only now catching up with blog comments!

      I believe that communities of thought and action, are best described as groups of people who share the same values, objectives and come to the table with complimentary skill sets and work on ideas, strategies, action steps that are powerful because they are a collaborative effort focused on shared goals, objectives, outcomes! The ability to develop communities of purpose within an organization that will be agents for positive growth and change is to me, critical.

      Best, Irene


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