Why Do We Call Them ‘Leaders’?

Leaders HBR

Interesting article in HBR, and by a respected author.

I would argue though that the problem does not exist. Or should not.

But why do we call them ‘leaders’ in the first place? We do not have to. Nothing’s wrong with ‘managers’ or ‘administrators.’

This is just another case of semantic escalation albeit widespread and severe. To cope with the problem, we must avoid glorifying the administrative positions that may have some control over our careers.

In most cases, we are talking about ‘position leaders’, i.e. about the lowest level of the leadership hierarchy – leadership by appointment, at best, leadership by permission, as per John Maxwell’s description.

Only a small percentage of them will ever make it to the higher leadership levels. But those who make it will be called leaders by their teams and not by HR (or by themselves). And rarely will they think that they’re better than they actually are, because they have other things to care about.