Great leaders tend to define words differently.
They understand the deeper meanings and don't live according to the well-accepted rules of the dictionary. They write their own Webster's.
Here are a few good examples:
When you look up this word in a dictionary, you find an interesting definition. It says the "assumed" function. Grab a pen and strike that out! Write your own definition as a leader. When you use the word, define it as clearly as possible to those on your team, they desperately need that. Consider experience, background, talents, wishes, aspirations, dreams...all of it. Great leaders never assume anything.
I learned a better definition of this word when I heard a talk by Kevin Warren, who is the Chief Operating Officer of the Minnesota Vikings and, by the way, a really smart guy. (In the space of ten minutes, I filled up a notebook full of ideas.) Don't ever see a "meeting" as something on your schedule, a boring old noun. See it as a verb. You are meeting. You are interacting. Give the word some vitality.
Great leaders don't abide by the boring, well-established, tried-and-true definition of words. If you lead that way, you will create boring employees. The word talent means natural ability. Well, that's what it means to average leaders who live by the rules. For a great leader, talent means the spark inside someone, the innate qualities only that person has. Great leaders know how to tap into it and encourage it.
We all know leadership is about communication. Yet, too many of us stick with the boring definition, which is to exchange information. Folks, we are not delivering the mail here. You don't hand over the news about the higher than usual sales numbers or the expansion plans like you are handing someone a package. Communication needs to be lively, direct, multi-faceted, and (above all) personal.
I see too many leaders who think the word servant means to perform menial duties. That's because those words are printed next to the word in a dictionary. It's a mistake. Great leaders know that serving is a role of inspiration. It's about being an example of greatness. (If you have read anything by Simon Sinek or watched his TED talk, you know this.) Forget menial tasks. Do amazing tasks. Lead by inspiration.
Which words do you define differently as a leader? Share them on my Twitter feed.