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How does Peter Drucker define Leadership?

Leadership is the elevation of human condition


How did Drucker define Leadership? Drucker said, leadership is to bring an individual perspective to the next level, to help the others to break through limits of oneself, in order to attain higher achievement. As a result, the potential and innovative momentum of an individual can be brought out, and let him attain the unimaginable accomplishment. The definition of leadership is to have followers, and followers create leader. Most importantly, only the direction that you are leading your followers to does count.


A true leader has no choice, they either lead or mislead. Many of the so-called Superior Leaders, are leaders who mislead, instead of leading.

Leadership is never neutral. The measurement of success of a leader, does not simply count on the number of followers. For instance, although Hitler and Paul Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany were considered the greatest marketing experts in history, they didn’t only fool the whole of German, but even able to fool the world.

Many Europeans failed to see the nature of Hitler, and even believed that Hilter was the hope of Europe before he initiated the war.


This is a “successful” marketing strategy. Joseph Goebbels once said, “ If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” , unfortunately, there are still believers of this ideology.


Both entrepreneurs and managers should take a moment to look back on their business processes, are they elevating themselves and their followers to the next level, or are they leading them to degenerate?  Drucker suggested that the motives of leadership is to elevate human condition, based on the sets of “value, mission and promise”, and this is what makes the Drucker management theories so extraordinary. Drucker believed that the nature of leadership couldn’t deceive people.


All actions of entrepreneurs and managers are controlled by their sets of values. Why do they decide to do this instead of doing that? Why do they decide to do it this ways, instead of that way? Why do they pick this person, but not the other? Why do they join hands with this person, instead of the other? Why do they pick this tool for measurement of performance? Why do they advocate to this direction? All actions are backed up by sets of values and beliefs, and these factors determine whether the followers and the leader are elevated or degenerated.


When it comes to system of value, majority of people thinks that system of value is invisible and intangible. In fact, no matter it is entrepreneurial objectives, leadership or marketing strategy; they are all supported by the value system.

Author: Shao Ming Lo

              Founder of Peter F. Drucker Academy

              Chairman of Bright China Group


The article is excerpted from Business Review

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