Asking respected leaders what their definition of leadership is returns a flurry of opinions.  Dwight Eisenhower defines leadership as “the art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it.”  For Eisenhower, leadership is the ability to successfully motivate.  Warren Bennis, who BusinessWeek called one of the ten business school professors who have had the greatest influence on business thinking, describes leadership as “the first job of a leader is to define the vision of the organization.” The difference between these two quotes is that Eisenhower defines how to nurture motivation and Bennis describes leadership as vision first then action. Vision provides a stable core while motivation changes as your business evolves.

Think about the difference between your business’ mission and goals.  The mission statement shows why your business exists and the goals state what your business is accomplishing at that time.  The goals and how you motivate your employees towards them are moving targets influenced by factors such as social trends, employee capability, business capacity and etc.  As your business decides which goals to implement, you return to the mission statement to ask is this what we are about.

Also, Brian Evje, a leadership columnist for Inc., writes that leadership begins before your vision.  It begins with your personal mission statement for your leadership.  Your personal mission statement develops your vision for your business and how you will lead it.  A personal mission statement defines who you are and your top goal is the vision for your company.  According to Evje, the mission statement provides you with the opportunity to refocus when your tasks as a leader become scattered.  You can look to others for examples, but, in the end, it is your personal mission statement, because each leader is an individual with specific attributes that produce success in a specific situation.

Having these three components defined makes it easier to communicate. We all know that communications is a key and here the integral approach comes very handy. You sit down with your people, create a feeling of a unified team, and make sure that people feel that their opinions matter and that your vision becomes a common vision and your people own it. This will create real coherence. And, then your people will know who you are and communication will not be muddled by their having to guess what you expect to hear.  They will know exactly what actions you will take and they will be ready for them.