What is leadership?
Dictionary.com defines leadership as “the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group.” But if leadership is so clearly defined, why are there countless books, courses, and presentations on the meaning of leadership?
When it comes to leaders and the meaning of leadership, there is perhaps no greater expert than the person who Forbes Magazine coined the “CEO of CEOs” — Jack Welch. Jack is one of the world’s most respected and celebrated business leaders of all time. Under his leadership as chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001, the company’s value rose 4,000%.
Jack famously stated:
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.
Which is why Jack created the Jack Welch Management Institute. The top-ranked online MBA program teaches Jack’s winning and time-tested philosophy on leadership development, people management, and more. So with all of Jack’s rich learnings in hand, we asked some JWMI graduates, what leadership means to them. Here are their responses.
JWMI Alumni Share What Leadership Means to Them:
We asked Bob to share what leadership means to him. True to JWMI principles, Bob over-delivered and not only shared written answers below but a video testimonial. Watch his video here.
“Are leaders made or born? That was one of my JWMI admissions questions. One of the first things I learned from Jack Welch himself was that “When you become a leader, it’s not about you anymore. It’s all about them.” That’s a profound shift from the command and control leadership styles from which I am most familiar. It sets the stage for a servant-leadership style. That approach hooked me. I understood what it meant to serve my family and friends but I wasn’t sure how to apply it to business in our data-driven, distracted world. When you internalize Jack’s perspective, you uncover three crucial leadership traits. They are 1) putting others first, 2) listening without an agenda, while setting boundaries, and knowing when to say “no,” and 3) practicing a continuous learning growth mindset with a servant-minded perspective. You learn about people, what makes them tick, and how each business discipline impacts their day to day needs, wants, and desires. As a leader, you don’t always make popular decisions, but you still understand the data, the context, the perspective of all the brains in the game, and you make informed business decisions based on diverse input from your team. You do your homework, you advise based on feedback, and you listen to everyone to make sure you understand what is best for the organization, them, and then you. As a leader, the buck stops with you, not them, and you need to make sure you always support the mission and promote a shared unified vision. That’s how leaders are made.”
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper said it in a simple phrase, “you manage things; you lead people.” Leadership is being effective with people and efficient with things. And Jack Welch said leading people with truth and trust is fundamental to leadership. Great leaders build trust, inspire others, build great teams, have a generosity gene, and celebrate.
Leadership is about being true to your personal values while aligning the company and team to win.
A leader must have a real passion for the strategy they implement, and a relentless drive that not only pushes them forward but also inspire others to do the same.
Leaders… inspire people with clear visions of how things can be done better.
Ready to lead? Request more information on the different leadership programs at the Jack Welch Management Institute.