Do you know, or can you think of a collective noun for leaders?
Later today, I am previewing a new leadership workshop. For the icebreaker, I have created posters of a number of leaders that will be on the walls as participants arrive.
I plan to invite the participants to choose a leader who they think best merits the title of leader, and then say the single most important thing, to them, that makes this person the ‘best’ leader in our gallery. If they can’t find a ‘fit’ in the gallery, they can say who they would add and why.
When I chose the images, I wanted to depict leaders from history, current leaders and a mix of backgrounds – industry and commerce as well as sports and politics.
I also wanted to represent a good diversity of leaders; a balance of men and women, a mix of leaders from different ethnic backgrounds as well as disabled leaders. What interests me about my choices is that my own bias translated into the images I selected even as I was picking a diverse selection. Not just the “who?” – others may not even recognise Emmeline Pankhurst, but also how flattering the images I selected were. I grew up in South Yorkshire and can remember Dad taking us to the picket lines with several Christmas lunches during the Miner’s strike. I included Margaret Thatcher in the gallery, but I chose not to show her coiffed and serene. No. I picked an image that showed her pointing her finger; frowning; mouth wide open as she was making an animated speech. Seeing the news this morning Hillary Clinton was added too – love being topical.
Back to my icebreaker. I expect some participants will list certain attributes of their first choice. The thrust of the workshop is around leadership flexibility, not single traits, so I hope this will provide an initial discussion on that.
I anticipate some participants will list the results achieved by their first choice. I hope this will provide an initial discussion around ends and means in the context of leadership.
I purposefully included Rihanna and Zayn Malik. I predict some participants will question why these appear in the gallery at all. With some citing Zayn Malik as the most influential Muslim in the UK, I hope we will raise some questions around whether experience is critical for a leader. Can young people make effective leaders? I also plan to use the opportunity to invite participants to explore whether a leader needs followers. With about 45 million Twitter followers, does this make Rihanna a leader? Does a huge number of followers equate to an effective leader?
Up to now, I have been referring to my collection of images of leaders as a gallery. What’s bugging me, though, is that this seems to fit better for a collection of rogues. At school, we learned some wonderful collective nouns. Among my favourites were a parliament of owls, an exaltation of larks and a squabble of seagulls.
I turned to the internet to look for the collective noun for leaders. Where it should have been right between a murder of lawyers and a colony of lepers (hope the positioning isn’t significant) was……nothing. Do you know of, or can you come up with a collective noun for leaders?
Angela Sabin is an executive coach who works with leaders to help them get clear on their goals and mobilise their own resources to achieve these goals.
Contact Angela on 01302 220021 for a free, no obligation chat, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With thanks to stock images by Naypong and sumetho at freedigitalphotos.net for use of the images.