Action Catalyst Blog

What’s leadership?

What’s leadership?

The word leadership gets thrown around a lot, right?

Have you ever taken a class on leadership? Probably not.

My minor from the University of Denver was actually in leadership, but I attended a very new, unique program. That’s not the case for most people.

The thing about leadership in the real world is that you learn how to do it by being led. You learn by observing and following other leaders.

One of the things we do at Southwestern Consulting is coach leaders, so we have a chance to work with so many different types of people.

What we’ve learned – and what’s fascinating about leadership – is that there are so many different ideas about what makes a good leader.

If you go to Amazon, there are so many different books on leadership. And if you do a Google search, you’re going to see pages and pages of information.

Yet, leadership doesn’t have to be so complex.

Too often, we over-explain leadership and under-deliver on it.

If we really understand what leadership is, we can be good leaders.

I’m going to boil leadership down to just one word.


Leadership is looking out for other people. It’s caring about other people. It’s solving problems for others.

Leadership is misunderstood because people focus on the perks: the corner office, a high salary, a fancy car, or the C-level title that screams, “I’m in charge.”

Of course, some of those perks are byproducts of leadership, but that’s not what it is at its core.

Leadership is service.

When leaders misunderstand leadership, they’re in influential positions, but they’re not leading. Most likely, they’re looking out for themselves.

If service isn’t exciting to you or it feels beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.


Because service is the heart of leadership.

It’s impossible to be a great leader without looking out for other people.

It’s OK if you’re new to leadership and haven’t read tons of books, earned a degree or spent time with thousands of leaders.

The core of what you really need to know is leadership is service: You look out for the people in your care, and remove barriers for them as you create opportunities for them to succeed.

If you do that, you’re leading. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first day or you’ve been leading for 25 years.

Remember, if serving is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.

If you haven’t yet, request a free call with one of Southwestern Consulting’s sales and leadership coaches, who can help you develop your leadership skills.

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