Leadership – I Do Not Think it Means What You Think it Means

Inigo Montoya Tells Vizzini Leadership Does not mean what he thinks it means

Many people do not understand leadership. They think it is an achievement to reach, rather than a commitment to serve. So this scene from “The Princess Bride” is an appropriate meme. In this scene, Inigo Montoya tells his employer, Vizzini, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means” [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Share this post: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Google+ | Pinterest]. Here are some examples when people incorrectly label something as leadership.

Leadership is not…

  • …when someone needs to force the team to an action. Control, alone, is not leadership.
  • …just because the person is recognized as the leader. Real leaders are humble enough they are often not seen as the one in charge, but the one making things happen, “behind the scenes”.
  • …when a person calls them self a leader. If you have to call yourself a leader, you’re probably not [Share this quote: Twitter | LinkedIn].
  • …being the CEO, COO, CMO, CxO or any person with a title indicating an executive role (chief, vice president, director, manager, supervisor…). One earns a leadership role – it is not given to them. Leadership has nothing to do with title.
  • benefits and perks are reasons to become a leader. In fact, these items often dissuade some of the best from accepting lofty titles. A great leader’s humility holds them back.

Instead, leadership is…

  • …a commitment to serve.
  • …serving all your stakeholders.
  • …hard work.

So the next time you hear someone mislabel leadership, correct them. Explain to them, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Then, you may suggest they take the (free) Servant Leadership 101 course (grin).

Question: How else do you think people mislabel leadership? Leave a comment.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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