An International Leadership Association, 2013 Lifetime Achievement award winner, Ralph Stogdill put a fine point on our understanding of leadership, when he said, ”There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept."
Leadership is a fun word to play with. Without an agreed upon definition it becomes a bucket in which we can toss just about any fad or framework.
We see the phenomena “leadership”. We see one human influence another. We have experienced it from our first days on the planet.
Companies and countries rise and fall. Families and friendships are healed or broken. Innovations and ideas are born and die and all is attributed to leadership.
It’s grown to mean so much to so many that, unfortunately, it has come to mean very little.
A Washington Post article, introduced me to Igor Krupnik, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Washington. Igor was tasked with verifying the well know myth that Eskimo’s have 50 different words for snow.
After doing the fascinating work of charting the 10 Intuit and Yupik dialects, he discovered that the rumor is in fact, true. For example, the “Inuit dialect spoken in Canada’s Nunavik region has at least 53, including “matsaaruti,” for wet snow that can be used to ice a sleigh’s runners, and “pukak,” for the crystalline powder snow that looks like salt.”
Do you think we may need more words for leadership?
New game: What is your new word for leadership? What would your definition be?
Here are a couple of mine:
Bullership- Using passive-aggressive threats to pressure subordinates to work extra hours to pad their personal numbers.
Posapeeraship - Postively influencing a peer to accomplish a shared objective.