Verb is a word that describes an action, state, or occurrence. My high school English teacher, Mrs. Yoder, would be proud. The dictionary clearly states that “leadership” is a noun. That means it’s a person, place, or thing. Again, Mrs. Yoder is smiling somewhere.
Why do I think leadership is a verb? Maybe it’s because of all the adjectives that ascribe “verb-like attributes” to leadership. Here’s just a partial list: adaptable, challenging, forward-thinking, inspiring, problem-solver, tireless. These sound like a state of action to me.
When Is Leadership a Noun?
Leadership is a noun when it describes the titles, corner offices, specific roles, or positions someone holds. We all know leaders “in name only.” Their ability to inspire, engage, or support those in their charge is often nonexistent. What a shame!
A leader’s characteristics, even positive ones, don’t define their leadership effectiveness.
Even leaders who are smart, confident, and decisive aren’t always modeling leadership as a verb.
When Is Leadership a Verb?
Leadership is a verb when the person with the title or role is actually doing something that makes a difference in the lives of his or her followers. Here’s what that might look like.
- They are inspiring others. Rather than persuading or manipulating, these leaders say and do things that inspire the best in those who follow them.
- They are including others. Leadership is an ability to engage the best thinking and efforts of others toward a common purpose.
- They are modeling courage. Being a leader is challenging. Those who move beyond their limitations and fears are worth emulating.
- They are serving others. The best leaders listen well, identify the needs of others, and work hard to meet them.
- They are holding themselves and others accountable. Success results from leaders or those they serve giving their best effort.
Successful leaders are people of action. They get things done. They’re improving all the time. They listen, learn, and show the way.
We need more leaders who can perform. Their teams should be getting better. The organization should be growing. Top performers should be staying.
What clues are you leaving that reflect your leadership? Hint, it should be something everyone can see and measure.
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