Leadership: Why Define It? Can We Define It?

Warning… This leadership discussion his highly flammable.

Leadership. It cannot be defined. What? That can’t be because Webster defines it, Oxford brands it, and Google’s all over it. Right now, there are leadership “experts” calling me names. They mock me and call me an amateur. Ron Burgundy is calling Busch League. They say I’ve lost my mind. That’s fine. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last.

Leadership. It cannot be defined. I’ll throw out some questions I hear that lead me to this premise that I keep repeating and experts keep denying:

Why are there thousands (OK, hundreds) of books on the subject?

Why are there so many different ingredients in leadership, many that people agree upon, many more that they won’t?

When you ask 10 people to name 5 traits that make up a good leader, you’ll get 10 different answers.

Is leadership a noun, a verb, both?

Is there good leadership? Bad leadership?

Are there poor leaders?

If I view leadership as a positive, how can you have poor leadership? Isn’t that like having dry water?

I could go on and on about the subject of leadership and how we can’t pin down it’s true definition. Why would we want too? Why do we constantly try and put leadership in this neat little box and package it as one size fits all? Why do we go back and forth on the makeup of great leaders, than try and construct one like were in the movie Weird Science? No thanks, I’ll pass on the Scud Missile in my living room.

Leadership. It cannot be defined. It’s “true” meaning changes colors How to construct great arguments like a chameleon as it adapts from situation to situation. Leadership was never meant to be defined. It’s a Unicorn, Sasquatch, the Lock Ness. It can transform like Optimus. We have faith in it and we believe in it, right? It can be surrounded by fog yet simultaneously crystal clear. It’s all around us but we can’t physically see it… or can we? It’s a ghost that whispers your name but you can’t tell which direction it’s coming from. If leadership falls in a forest and no one’s around, does it make any noise? Leadership is a Stealth Bomber, undetectable on radar. Lincoln and Washington were great leaders right? Why? I guarantee that someone’s answer can be applied to Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn… for arguments sake.

 

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