What Is a Leader? - European Medical Journal

What Is a Leader?

Written by Kim Cordell  Product Development Administrator, European Medical Journal  @EMJ_Kim


Leader. A word which we have become accustomed to in day-to-day life, but what does the word mean to you? If you think of three attributes associated with a leader, what do you come up with? Someone who is confident, someone who is passionate, and someone who can inspire others? These generic answers are fine if you simply want to use ‘leader’ as an adjective, but is that really what it boils down to, or is there more to it? When discussing the subject of leadership, Kevin Kruse wrote: “We don’t need extroverted charismatic traits to practice leadership. And those with charisma don’t automatically lead.”1 So, to go back to the age-old argument: are people born leaders or made leaders? Answers on a postcard, please.

In my opinion, leadership is inherently a conflict of nature versus nurture. You can be born with the potential to become a great leader, but if you don’t have the passion and drive to push yourself further, you will never reach your potential.

The dictionary defines a leader as: “the person who leads or commands a group, organisation, or country”,2 but dig a little deeper and you’ll recognise a whole host of other definitions. Can you guess the one that stood out for me? “An organization or company that is the most advanced or successful in a particular area.” Why? Because really if you are working within a business you truly feel passionate about, your work should help contribute to the bigger picture of working towards your company’s goal.

For EMJ, that goal is to become the go-to place for healthcare professionals by 2025, and, although we have a cow as our mascot, we aren’t here to be part of the herd. We’re here to shake things up in the medical publishing industry by striving to embody every aspect of the word ‘leadership’.

Launching in July, seven members of the EMJ team will be embarking on our 6-month Future Leaders course. Crafted as an opportunity for staff to learn new skills and develop a deeper understanding of the EMG principles, that will offer those on the course a stepping stone towards greater opportunities within the company. You can expect to follow our journey through this course, with new blogs popping up each month.


  1. Kruse K. What is Leadership? 2013. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2013/04/09/what-is-leadership/#4b0eb9be5b90. Last accessed: 14 June 2017.
  2. Oxford Living Dictionaries. Definition of leader in English. 2017. Available at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/leader. Last accessed: 14 June 2017.

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