One of the simplest and the best definitions that i have come across for good and effective leadership is in the Tao Te Ching.
I was reading the English translation (by Derek Lin) of this ancient chinese text and came across this quote in chapter 17:
The highest rulers, people do not know they have them,
The next level, people love them and praise them,
The next level, people fear them,
The next level, people despise them,
If the rulers trust is insufficient,
Have no trust in them.
Proceeding calmly, valuing their words,
Task accomplished, matter settled,
The people all say, “We did it Naturally”
So, the most effective leaders are those who are never in the way of the people whom they lead. They make their followers feel as if they achieved everything all by themselves, without even noticing the presence of the leader.
The next best leaders are those whom people love and praise. Then come leaders who get things done by instilling fear in their people. Majority of managers fall in this category. They use their power (by virtue of their position) to push people to try & get things done.
Then come the leaders whom their followers actively despise. There is no trust in them or their leadership.
So, where in the leadership spectrum do you fall in?