What is a Leader? Definition and Examples

The definition of the term Leader may vary, depending on its context.

In most cases, it refers to a person, as in: “Winston Churchill was a great leader during the Second World War.” We can use the term for countries, companies, organizations, the armed forces, and governments.

What is a leader - Winston Churchill was a great leader
Winston Churchill was a great leader during WWII.

Leader may also be a jargon word in some situations. Later in this article, you will see the term used in marketing and strategic pricing.

The Cambridge Dictionary has the following definitions of leader:

“1. A person in control of a group, country, or situation. 2. Someone or something that is winning during a race or other situation where people are competing. 3. A company, product, etc. that has higher sales than its competitors. 4. The most important violin player in an orchestra.”

Human society has many types of leaders

When referring to human beings, the leader is somebody who is in charge of a country, town, organization, company, section, or a branch. Anybody who has people under them are those people’s leader.

When on a tour of a city, I and several other tourists may follow our group leader. The leader of part of a business is a manager, while the head of the whole company is its CEO (Chief Executive Officer).

What is a leader - man being followed by lots of people
Pixabay.com image adapted by Market Business News.

In the world of business and finance, leaders show their companies and workers which way to go, i.e., they provide direction. Anybody who is involved with or affected by a company, i.e., its stakeholders, needs to know what a business’ goals and objectives are. Your goal is your destination, while your objective is a description of how you plan to get there.

Good leaders set a positive example for workers, managers, and other company employees to follow. They must, above all, inspire people to learn new things, work hard, and strive for shared goals.

Leadership extends beyond formal titles and can manifest in community initiatives, education, and mentorship programs, where individuals influence and guide others towards growth and achievement.

In the digital age, the concept of leadership also encompasses those who pioneer new technologies and innovations, guiding digital transformation across various industries.

Leadership qualities

Qualities of a good leader - What is a leader article
Image created by Market Business News.

What are the qualities of a good leader? For a start, they must have passion, commitment, drive, and confidence. They should be able to inspire and motivate others. Resilience, honesty, empathy, and courage are also very important qualities.

We refer to all these features as leadership qualities.

Top leaders are always willing to take responsibility for their actions and decisions. Some of their decisions may affect their workers as well as other stakeholders. If a major bank goes bankrupt, the whole economy and financial system of that country could be affected. It could even cause an economic recession. Leaders should be aware of how their successes or failures could affect the wider community, town, or whole country.

Leaders such as mayors, generals, CEOs, prime ministers, and presidents have one thing in common. The decisions they make often affect a lot of people and not just themselves.

Loss leader – marketing term

Loss Leader image for article - 3983983983
Image created by Market Business News.

A loss leader is a product that is sold very cheaply. It is part of a pricing strategy that is used in marketing or merchandising. The seller’s aim is to attract lots of customers who will also spend money on other products. These other products are profitable ones. Loss leaders are sometimes used by providers of services too.

Some marketing professionals refer to this bargain product as a loss leader while others simply say leader. Supermarkets globally often select a staple food as a loss leader to attract customers. In most cases, the loss leader is sold at less than cost.

According to Wikipedia:

“A loss leader (also leader) is a pricing strategy where a product is sold at a price below its market cost[2] to stimulate other sales of more profitable goods or services.”

A loss leader might also be a product you sell at a very low price because a good profit can be made later. Printers, for example, are very cheap. However, printer toner (ink), usually just for that printer, is quite expensive. The supplier’s profits come from selling the toner.

To determine how successful a loss-lead strategy is, marketing academics advise sellers to analyze the effect over time.

Root word ‘lead’

The term ‘leader’ is a derivative of the root word ‘lead.’ There are many derivatives of ‘lead.’ Below, you can see some of these derivatives:

  • Lead (verb)

To guide or direct in a course or to go at the head of.

For example: “She will lead the team to the finals this year.”

  • Lead (noun, position)

The front position in a race or competition that indicates the foremost participant or the act of being in charge.

For example: “He took the lead in the race just before the final lap.”

  • Lead (noun, metal)

A heavy, soft, malleable metal with a low melting point and a high resistance to corrosion.

For example: “The pipes in the old house are made of lead.”

  • Leader (noun)

A person who leads, especially one who is in charge of a group, organization, or country.

For example: “The group looked to their leader for guidance during the crisis.”

  • Leadership (noun)

The action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.

For example: “His strong leadership was evident in the way he managed the project.”

  • Leading (adjective)

Occupying a position at the forefront; most important or advanced.

For example: “She is the leading authority on sustainable architecture.”

  • Led (adjective, past participle of lead used descriptively)

Influenced or directed by a particular leader or ideology.

For example: “The led group felt more confident with their guide at the front.”

  • Leaderless (adjective)

Without a leader or not having a leader at the moment.

For example: “After the CEO resigned, the company was temporarily leaderless.”

  • Lead (noun, indication)

Evidence or clues that lead one to a conclusion or to further information.

For example: “The detective followed the lead to solve the mystery.”

  • Lead (adjective, related to the metal)

Made of lead (the metal) or containing lead.

For example: “The product was recalled due to its lead content.”

2 Videos

These two interesting video presentations, from our sister YouTube channel – Marketing Business Network, explain what the terms ‘Leader’ and ‘Leadership’ mean using simple, straightforward, and easy-to-understand language and examples.

  • What is a Leader?

  • What is Leadership?