What Is a Leader?

The other day, I asked my older 2 kids (separately), “What makes someone a leader?”

I was very happy with their answer, which was almost exactly the same wording, “Helping others.”

Leadership is about making other people's lives better, and making them better, too.

There are other definitions of leaders, but these two guys echo the same idea:
  • Jon Acuff:  "Leaders ask: 'What can I give to this person?'"
  • Jonathan Pearson:  Leaders show vision, self-control, and loyalty.

How would you define a leader?


  1. My son says "a leader is someone who shows compassion and others do too because of their example."

  2. A leader is a person who leads. A good leader is effective in causing change. A good leader is an effective leader. Not all effective leaders are good in their pursuits. Many tyrants and dictators have been great leaders, but have caused much suffering in this world.

  3. That's a good point about the distinction between any type of leader, and the type of leader that we SHOULD be.

    When I was in college, a mentor told me that a leader is someone who HAS a vision, and who can COMMUNICATE that vision. It's a broader definition that includes folks like Hitler. But of course, that's not the type of leader that I want my kids to aspire to.