It takes a lot to get me wound up and just under a week ago my buttons were pushed and pushed hard. I was at a business networking event and I used the term ‘leadership’ in a group conversation setting.
One of the persons in the group at the mere mention of ‘Leadership’ verbally dumped on the group their thoughts that “The masculine version of leadership of command and conquer is dead!” She then proceeded to ‘Explain’ in a very demeaning way her thoughts on leadership to me and the whole group!
After a good ten minutes of this person’s rant, my patience was thinning tremendously I politely asked the person for their definition of leadership. Again, I got the characteristics and qualities of some really great leaders. But NOT a definition of what ‘Leadership’ is or was.
Heres the online Oxford dictionary definition.
The action of leading a group of people or an organization.
This was my definition that I offered to the person, which was immediately shot down as ‘WRONG’
The act of leading a group or an organization from A to B.
I added further that you only needed a leader to go somewhere or achieve something collectively. If you were going to sit on the beach and veg you didn’t need a leader.
So after I offered up my definition of leadership I asked the person again, “What is your definition of leadership?” I even changed it to, “What is a leader?” But, I still got the personal characteristics of a leader.
The person’s cellphone rang, they were expecting a call and they needed to take it. So they excused themselves and took the call.
The group and I continued our discussion on leadership and we all came to a consensus on leadership. That for the sake of our discussion the definition I offered up on leadership would work. We also agreed we loved some of the characteristics that were offered to the group by the dissenting party!
By the time the dissenting person returned to the group, we had changed the subject of conversation. We were now discussing social media. Without as so much as missing a beat the person sat back down into the group and looked at me and said, “Neil, usually you are pretty smart I can’t believe you know so little about leadership!”
The group went completely silent and was utterly stunned!