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Leadership means different things to different people. And understanding what  makes someone a leader can depend on their profession and their leadership style.

That’s why defining such a simple phrase can be such a complicated task.  BusinessNewsDaily asked business leaders to define leadership and  tell us what makes a good leader.

“Leadership is accomplishing things that reach beyond solitary  abilities by acting — and getting others to act — with a maturity that surpasses  limited self-interest.” — John Baker, president of READY Thinking,  an organizational and leadership development firm.

“To paraphrase Dwight D. Eisenhower, ‘leadership is the art of  getting others to do things you want done and feel good about it.’ I would go so  far as to say the goal is to get the person to embrace the “mission” and own  it.” — Dale Hamby, a former Army major and a  teacher at Harrisburg University.

“A leader isn’t limited to those with positional authority.  Leadership, instead, is defined alternatively as someone who influences others  to achieve a common goal. This would represent the work and contributions of  anyone who serves in this capacity.” — Barbara  Steel, senior vice president of leadership effectiveness at Zenger Folkman and  co-author of “How to Be Exceptional: Drive Leadership Success by Magnifying Your  Strengths” (McGraw-Hill, 2012),

“A leader comes up with new ideas for his or her business  or venture, innovates further as those ideas develop, and makes sure to choose  the right people to get the ideas and innovations realized. Some business  schools push the view that one can be an innovator or a manager, but not both. I  think that’s flat wrong — one has to be both an innovator and a manager to be a  good leader.” — Dan Biederman, president of Biederman Redevelopment  Ventures and The  Bryant Park Corp.

“Leadership is getting people to want to follow. That requires  engaging them passionately, from the heart, and requires persuading people to  change. Management is tactical; leadership is strategic.”— Tom Kennedy, a certified management consultant and principal of The Kennedy Group.

Leadership is when you give of yourself for the greater good of  others with no expectation of reward. It’s that willingness to jump in a ditch  with your whole team so that the next time they fall in, everyone understands  the best and easiest way to get out. As I deal mostly with military families who  need guidance towards a sustainable future, leadership is absolutely concerned  with getting down in the trenches to do the dirty work.” — Roxanne Reed, executive director of the Military Spouse Foundation.

“Leadership is a mindset of total personal accountability for the  results and outcomes produced without fault, blame, guilt or any manner of  finger-pointing when results are bad. Leadership is being personally accountable  whether someone is going to hold you accountable or not.” — Linda  Galindo,  consultant, speaker, educator and author of “The 85% Solution: How Personal  Accountability Guarantees Success — No Nonsense, No Excuses” (Jossey-Bass,  2009).

“(Leadership is) the ability to make your followers believe that  you possess superior knowledge of the situation, greater wisdom to cope with the  unknown, or greater moral force. Unless you seem to have more of these things  than the average follower does, they won’t follow you around the first corner.” Tom Hopkins, author  of 14 books, including “How to Master the Art  of Selling” (Business Plus,  2005).

“I believe that a great leader is defined by one factor only: the  people he or she leads. If the people are focused, driven, committed,  results-oriented, happy and positive, that is indeed the sign of a great leader.  If you have great results but none of those other things, then you have a  dictator — and that leadership style is not sustainable. Leaders who put  themselves at the bottom of their organization are truly great. It’s like  handing people a fish instead of teaching them to fish. If you’re the kind of  leader who constantly gives them a fish, you need to be one outstanding  fisherman.” — Rick Campbell, president and CEO of ICAT Logistics. “True  leadership is being proactive, especially when it comes to addressing the  not-so- pleasurable events that sometimes plague the workplace. The ability to  anticipate an imminent roadblock and tackle it in a proactive manner is what  leads to progress. Einstein once said, ‘Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses  prevent them.'” — Michael Raanan, president of  the Landmark  Tax Group tax  firm.

Leadership is self-differentiation. It’s simply setting yourself  apart from others and often times setting an example. It’s not about being in  charge or power, but rather caring for others and helping them achieve a common  goal.” — Michael Flanigan, vice president at Expressionary.

“Through my professional experience, I’ve come to discover the  seemingly contradictory truth that a great leader is defined by his or her  teamwork skills. As John C. Maxwell says, ‘A boss says Go and a leader says  Let’s Go.’ Leadership is demonstrated through a strong dedication to a team and promoting  collaboration,  whether you work in a startup or corporate environment.” — Brittany Dowell, director of publication relations at Digital Talent Agents.

“The key to leadership is having a vision, and being strong  enough to say no and not try to please everybody. That’s a recipe for failure. Leadership is  practiced through attitude and actions, rather than words and  memos.” — Matt Mickiewicz, founder of Flippa.com,  DeveloperAuction.com, 99designs, and Sitepoint.com.

Leadership is the willingness to speak up when it’s easier to  stay silent, hold yourself accountable when you have excuses at the ready and  inspire without intimidation or the fear another will surpass you. A leader  shows more empathy than ego and remains dedicated to the betterment of the whole  and not the advancement of one.” — Brenda Della Casa, director of  online content and community at Preston Bailey Designs.

“A leader is someone who actually listens. Someone who takes  advice and implements it. Most leaders need to listen more and talk  less.” — Jeffery Hayzlett, CEO of The Hayzlett Group.

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