Updated March 29 at 11:29am

Leadership words that need to be banned

Pabulum leadership words really bug me – but not as bad as they may bug you if they’re uttered by your leader.

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Leadership words that need to be banned


Pabulum leadership words really bug me – but not as bad as they may bug you if they’re uttered by your leader.

Leaders are known by their words, deeds, actions, values, principles, and by the people they attract both on their team and in the world, but …

• It’s their words that set the tone for the environment.

• It’s their words that start the internal chatter.

• It’s their words that start their internal reputation. … then it’s the actions that follow. All are studied and judged by the team.

Great leaders attract great people. So why is there so much leadership mediocrity? Must be their words (and the way they’re spoken)!

I read a lot of stuff about leaders and leadership. Below are a bunch of leadership “words” (in no particular order) that sound good, but mean virtually nothing. You’ve heard them, and groaned about them.

I’m defining several of the words I have an issue with (cannot stand), then explaining why I have the issue, challenging the status-quo, and suggesting better words, replacement words, substitute words, in ALL CAPS, and explaining my reasons.

• Embrace – means you’re OK with it, but not necessarily a participant – not good. I don’t want leaders to “embrace change.” I want a leader that takes ACTION. ACTION is a better word, because it means something’s happening.

• Accountable – means they fess up if (and after) something goes wrong, and results are measured. RESPONSIBLE is a better option. Be responsible for yourself and to yourself. Be responsible for your words and deeds. Be responsible for your attitude. Be responsible and take responsibility for your achievements.

• Effective – to me, effective means mediocre. Sort of carries a “so-what” feeling to it. I really don’t want an effective heart surgeon. I want the BEST. He’s an effective salesman? Or he’s the BEST salesman? Which would you rather have?

• Diversity – I really don’t know what this means in business. It’s a word spoken by many, understood by few. I guess it refers to hiring and doing business with all types of people and businesses. Sad that the world has to come to this. It seems forced. When leaders preach diversity, they have to make a special effort, rather than a natural effort. I prefer the word INCLUSIVE. It tells a deeper tale of involvement, and is a positive word that needs no defining. It’s also singular. I’m inclusive. “I’m diverse” or “I’m all about diversity” sounds contrived.

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