What happens when we empty our space of mushy language?
If I had the superpower to make a single edit across all platforms and podiums — from LinkedIn to TED, from every business school, book and article, to the words of every consultant of every type — I would delete the word “leadership” globally for one year. I would do this right now.
Imagine it. I’m guessing the LinkedIn servers alone would be lightened by about 30% by this change.
Our use of this word has gotten too big, too mushy … too much of a collector of unexamined assumptions.
By eliminating this go-to word, all of us would have to pause and actually discover what we are talking about when we say it. We’d have to be more precise in our speaking and tune it to what is really needed in our organizations, in our lives.
Try this: the next time you say, hear or read the word “leadership,” imagine it instantly vanishing. Then ask, “What am I—what are we—really talking about here?”
With the Earth-sized challenges we collectively face these days, we can’t afford to be mushy about the qualities of participation that are most attuned to creating the organizations, projects, endeavors we want and need.
I’m trying this too and believe me, it’s a challenge for a “leadership” development professional.
As other words arise to fill the space left by leadership, notice if they bring the conversation more alive.
Let’s bring the mind of a beginner to the language we use, so we can work with fresh energy and relevance.