Do we need leaders

Does the world need leaders

In April, I heard someone ask, “Does the world need leaders?”

Obviously, the answer is a most definite yes! I won’t dwell on this too much, as the conversation then steered towards how leadership and leaders are the same thing. This is what made me think. What is a leader? What is leadership? I explore both, below. I try to keep it brief and simple.

Leadership and management

First, a little background. Leadership and management are very different topics, ideas, and values! They really are like apples and bananas. Both fruit, but the flavours are not the same.

Leadership focuses on people. It is about doing the right thing (ethics, morals, values).

Management focuses on processes and procedures. It is about doing things right (efficiency).

The nice thing, you need people (leadership) completing processes (management) to have successful and effective organizations and businesses. In other words, no people and you have one guy trying to inspire a bunch of air; no processes and customers get a different experience each time they interact with your organization (research shows a consistent experience can serve as a better customer service tool than quality).


Leadership is really about the process of building relationships with other individuals to bring about change.

Normally, this is where I stop my definition. However, this definition allows many of humankind’s enemies and black marks to be included (e.g., the purpose behind World War 2). Therefore, I have started to include “positive and ethical change” in this definition.

So, leadership is about building relationships with others around you (don’t have to be top dog to be good at leadership) to bring about positive and ethical change. I don’t include the word legal in here as some of the greatest examples of leadership that have changed the world have been illegal but still ethical (Rosa Parks sitting at the front of the bus).


Being a leader is different than leadership. A leader is an individual who uses his or her leadership skills to influence others.

As above, I have started to add a portion about positivity and ethics. One could argue that someone like Hitler is a leader based on the definition (this post isn’t meant to provoke debate about one of the darkest moments of human kind so that will stop there). Instead I like, “positively and ethically influence others.”

To build on the fruit metaphor from above, a leader’s fruit cousin is a manager. A manager is worried more about specific results, and the rules that have been put in place to make profits or reach goals and objectives.

Do we need leaders

Do we need leaders? Based on some of the enemies existing in the world today, yes, we need leaders! Leaders of all skill, background, culture, age, education, and passion.

We don’t just need leaders to influence their followers to work towards a vision/goal. We need leaders who will influence people, by coaching and mentoring, to get people to develop a deeper understanding of themselves (self-awareness), their emotions (self-management), and their dreams (positive compassion). We need to influence young generations into becoming leaders and developing leadership skills to help the world continue to get better every day.

Some famous leaders

This post is titled “Do we Need Leaders.” I think those that say no don’t have a deep understanding of the human species and globalization.

We could still have African Americans sitting at the back of the bus without Rosa Parks leading us into a new era of dialogue around human rights. We still need leaders on basic human rights. So, one example of yes, we still need leaders using their leadership skills.

We could end up killing ourselves in the next few centuries if we don’t re-think how humans interact with the ecological environment. We need more Canadian young leaders like Ian Andvaag to influence individuals, governments, and corporate Canada to think about sustainability and the environment.

Your Call to Action

If you agree, tell your Twitter network: #beadifferencemaker

The world is a much better place today than it was yesterday. We need more leaders engaged to make tomorrow even that much better.

Now it is your turn! Tell us what you think about leaders and leadership! Comment or connect with us online or in-person.


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Adam Goodwin is changing the world by growing the local #TakeTheActivePledge to a global movement. He is currently Marketing Coordinator for Okanagan Elite Athlete. Along with his start-up one3ag, he is changing the lives of individual children, teen, youth, adults, and older adults with the #TakeTheActivePledge movement. Join him today to help save a generation.

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