Total Quality Management

February 2, 2009

Definition of Leadership

There is no universal definition of leadership and indeed it is one of the most researched area of behavioral science that deals with organizational psychology. In fact, there have been number of books devoted to the topic of leadership.

There are various definitions of leader or leadership and some of them are as follows:

  • “Leaders is one who instills purposes, not one who controls by brute force. A leader strengthens and inspires the followers to accomplish shared goals. Leaders shape the organization’s values, promote organization’s values, protect the organization’s values and exemplify organization’s values.” James Burns
  • “Leader is someone who can take a group of people to a place they don’t think they can go. Leadership is we, not me; mission, not my show; vision, not division; and community, not domicile.”  Bon Eaton, CEO Daimler Chrysler.

As above illustrates leadership is difficult to define in anything other than lofty words. The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award of United States has a more grounded definition of leadership in its core values. As stated in its core values and concepts, visionary leadership is:

“An organization’ senior leaders should set directions and create a customer focus, clear and visible values, and high expectations. The directions, values, and expectations should balance all needs of all your stakeholders. Your leaders should ensure the creation of strategies, systems, and methods of achieving excellence, stimulating innovation, and building knowledge and capabilities. The values and strategies should help guide all activities and decisions of your organization. Senior leaders should inspire and motivate your entire workforce and should encourage all employees to contribute, to develop and learn, to be innovative, and to be creative.

Senior leaders should serve as role models through their ethical behavior and their personal involvement in planning communications, coaching, development of future leaders, review of organizational performance, and employee recognition. As role models, they can reinforce values and expectations while building leadership, commitment, and initiative throughout your organization.”

Source: Total Quality Management by Dale H. Besterfield



  1. Thank you for the two definitions of leadership. Bass & Avolio expand James McGregor Burns’ definition also. I have grown in my leadership skill and acumen by reading all I can from Bass & Avolio. Bass is now dead and Avolio is in Kansas, still researching and writing.
    Blessings on you,

    Comment by dmbaldwin — February 26, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  2. Dear sir
    Even after completion of EMBA we r really enjoying the stuff posted with ur hecctic efforts as u know owing to busy schedule most of us donot have sufficient time at home but even in offices we can see and learn latest updates only b/c of ur relentless efforts

    Comment by Engr.Riaz Hussain Zardari — April 14, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: