In one sense, leadership can be thought about in terms of several activities or mind-sets centering around three elements of the leader’s job: (1) leading others, (2) helping followers grow and develop, and (3) fostering compatible organizational culture creation and maintenance. As leaders of work communities, leaders inspire, and widely broadcast a community vision by focusing on what they, as leaders, think is important and communicate authentic caring for each coworker. In their relationships with followers, leaders concentrate on power tactics like influencing followers to vision-directed action and empowering them to work toward that vision independently (Spreitzer, De Janasz, and Quinn, 1999).
Leaders set values, establish norms and standards, and set expectations about follower performance. Each of these activities describe elements of the techniques leaders use in working with others. Each is described briefly here. These activities describe the leadership process generally, constitute guidelines for its practice and evaluation, and are content benchmarks for leadership training programs.
Inspiration. Leaders go beyond motivation to inspiration. They tap something deep within the stakeholder team that strikes a responsive chord. Leaders are inspiring because they are inspired (Cashman and Burzynski, 2000).
Visioning. Leadership involves horizon thinking—thinking beyond the problems of the day toward the possibilities of what the organization and its members can become (Yearout, Miles, and Koonce, 2001).
Focusing. Leadership is paying attention to what is important (Antonioni, 2000). It is spending time and resources on one thing (or a few things) as opposed to other things—programs approaches, methods, tasks, and the like—that the leader could focus on.
Caring. Leaders place priority on authentic caring about things—employees, services, clients, all people with whom they work (Bender, 1997).
Sharing Power with Employees. Leaders lead with and by example. They share power, encourage personal initiative, invite ideas and feedback, and motivate via values (Bender, 1997).
Influence. Leadership involves the leader in intense interpersonal relationship with followers, the central nature of which is influencing followers to do what they want done (Gareau, 1999).
Empowerment. Leaders simultaneously follow two purposes: to attain the mutually desirable end-state both leader and follower desire and importantly empower followers to develop into mature personalities capable of being the best they can be (Kulwiec, 2001).
Values. Leaders lead through shared values. They articulate values that followers also hold, or they help followers shape their own values in ways that prioritize the leaders’ values that followers come to desire (Bjerke, 1999).
Expectations. Leaders set high expectations for performance for the group, expectations that focus and direct vision, values, and standards (Gareau, 1999).
Standard Setting. Leaders set group standards, teach them, live them, and inspire others to live them (Serven, 2002).
Using Symbols. Leaders use symbols—ideas, words, tangible objects representing aspects of its culture to define the work community (Denison, 1990), and give it its character.