A leader leads. They lead the people and the organization in their charge forward.
- The vision thing. The leader can only lead if she has a clear vision of where she is leading the people in her charge. That vision—and the ability to share it in a clear and compelling way—is what draws followers to her, and what inspires them to take action.
- Making change. No leader ever finds themselves in charge of an organization that doesn’t need to change, or one that could not produce greater results than they are currently producing. That means a leader leads change. That change is what move an organization from their current state to its future.
- Strategy. A leader has to have some idea of how to compete and how to win. Strategy is the plan to do so. Without strategy, the vision will not come to life, and the change will not be achieved.
- Execution. A leader has to ensure execution. Execution is a big deal. You can have the best strategy on Earth and the tactics to achieve them, but without execution, it is all for naught.
- Growing people. Execution isn’t easy. To execute, the people in the leader’s charge will be required to change, to grow, to develop personally and professionally (you cannot have the latter without the former). A great leader helps those in their charge become the best version of themselves. The greatest of leaders build leadership factories.
- Teams. Leaders build teams. They bring diverse groups of people together to achieve what would otherwise be impossible. Teams are a force multiplier, creating value far in excess of the individuals it is made of.
- Nonnegotiable values. A leader creates a culture. They decide what values are nonnegotiable, the core beliefs and behaviors that make the organization in their charge what it is. They decide where the organization stands, what it is for, and what it is against. And then the leader protects that culture.
These are some of the component parts of leadership. That said, what a leader really does is lead.