Not love, but lead/leader/leadership/etc. or lead* for short.
We, as a nation/world, have shot our collective discussions in their metaphorical foot by using certain words as if they’re interchangeable when they’re not.
Statesman, leader and politician certainly aren’t synonymous, but they’re often used interchangeably, especially by spinmeisters.
Likewise, Board Chairmen, CEOs and other executives aren’t necessarily leaders, but the higher they are the more often lead* words are used in conjunction with them—starting, again, with the spinmeisters.
In an opinion piece on this subject, Henry S. Givray says, “the problem’s roots lie in the fact that the terms “CEO” and “leader” have mistakenly become synonymous. Nothing could be further from the truth. CEOs are measured by quantitative results. Leaders are shaped and defined by character.” (Note: I consider the implied idea that “character” equates to good/fair/ethical incorrect.)
The July 23rd WelshWay column answers the question, “What is lousy leadership?” by describing bosses who aren’t leaders, just lousy bosses. Again, the assumption that managers are always leaders.
I have two ideas for addressing this.
The first is that people start using the correct term for what they really mean to say and/or stop talking leadership and all other variations of lead* into the ground.
My second idea is a new reality show called So you think you can lead…
It would start with an online questionnaire to reduce contestant numbers from millions to thousands and then, like Idol, it would have local, regional and national tryouts, just a lot more of them to accommodate the number of contestants who passed the written tests.
The judges of the final finalists would be selected from nominations sent in by subordinates (self-nominations not allowed). The final decision for judges resting with proven leaders—those whose leadership skill has stood the test of time. (Unfortunately, most proven leaders are also dead, but this gives great cross-promotional opportunities with other reality shows whose stars talk to the dead.)
The show would run for two seasons, with judge selection and tryouts in the first season and the televised competition between the final finalists in the second. Best of all, instead of summer reruns, the finalists could be profiled and filmed actually leading.
So, all you leadership junkies, what do you think? Would you watch—or would you get yourself nominated?