1. the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group: He managed to maintain his leadership of the party despite heavy opposition.
  2. ability to lead: As early as sixth grade she displayed remarkable leadership potential.
  3. an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction: They prospered under his strong leadership.
  4. the leaders of a group: The union leadership agreed to arbitrate.


  1. the position or function of a leader
  2. the period during which a person occupies the position of leaderduring her leadership very little was achieved
    1. the ability to lead
    2. (as modifier)leadership qualities
  3. the leaders as a group of a party, union, etcthe union leadership is now very reactionary

n.1821, “position of a leader,” from leader + -ship. Sense extended by late 19c. to “characteristics necessary to be a leader.”

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