The word leadership is a fine word that describes a practice of influence, persuasion, strategy, vision, and all of what you think it means.
It doesn’t describe what I teach. It’s the closest I’ve come across, but it’s off.
The biggest problem is that leadership, in today’s world, implies business more than what I teach. Business is just one application.
I teach the social and emotional skills underlying the ability to lead oneself and others—skills like empathy, compassion, listening, creating meaning, value, importance, purpose, and passion for themselves and others, responsibility, influence, persuasion, and such. Business isn’t essential, nor non-profits, sports, military, or any other applications people associate with leading.
An analogy may be sports as compared to fitness, which is more general. If you make yourself fit, you can play sports, but you don’t have to. Fitness isn’t just eating a certain way and exercising. It’s a mindset and way of living consistently. Maybe
sports : fitness :: leadership : what I teach.
Someone could make him or herself very fit without playing a sport. He or she could live more healthily, sleep more soundly, be more confident, and all the other benefits of fitness.
Likewise, while I see nothing wrong with leading, and I hope many students apply what they learn from me to leading themselves and others, someone could learn all my stuff, never lead anyone, and still get great value in accomplishing more with less effort than they would have, enjoying the process, remaining calm, having better relationships than they would have, and so on.
The other missing word
By the way, the first missing word, which I think I’ve written about before here, is for the emotion of feeling understood, which I’ve found is an emotion as strong and desirable as love. To feel understood doesn’t capture it. I see people feel the emotion when I do the Make People Feel Understood exercise in chapter 18 of my book. When it happens, it creates openness and intimacy beyond almost anything you can get otherwise.
People love feeling understood, in proportion to how vulnerable what you understand them on makes them feel. But that’s a topic of another post.
Learn to make Meaningful Connections
with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.
- Step by step instructions
- Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
- An excerpt from my book