January 23, 2018

How we write about leadership in the modern era

How to write about leadership

Memo to self: Five things you must do when writing about leadership in the age of social media. (This is, erm, a parody.)

In reverse order of importance, here they are:

 #5. Use quotations up the wazoo. Big sweeping, philosophical quotations can be tweeted very conveniently and are hard to refute.
Leaders really need these quotations and can hardly survive without 'em. And besides, you never have to explain: By the time they read your quote or try to pronounce the source (‘Thucydides’) it’ll be time for the next one. Be sure to keep doing this non-stop, or everything will fail. But if we all just keep tweeting philosophy, the meaning of life will eventually work itself out. Make open demands for re-tweets.

#4. Make your observations as facile as possible. This really helps the leadership cause. Generic platitudes are best of all: “Great leaders are great listeners.” (That’s always a good one. People love it.) The there’s “Establish a crystal clear vision for your organization.” (A timeless classic.) But don’t forget, “Be a master of personal productivity.” (Beast!) Leaders are dying to know facts like these -- over and over again. They can’t get enough of them.

#3. Cover the entire sweep of the subject in your book/post/tweet, and in a non-specific way. Never narrow stuff down. Follow a short paragraph about ‘vision’, with one about ‘character’, and the next about ‘dealing with failure’ (or something like that). Juxtapose wildly and make everything interchangeable. Take a list from one book, mix and match it with another, and call it wisdom. Feel free. It won’t make an iota of a difference

#2. Employ lists, lists, and more lists. Lists are great. You can never have enough lists. Lists inspire. Keep lists of the lists. If there’s one thing the internet needs is lists. How many lists are there on the internet anyway? The average joe can retain circa 15,000 lists in his head at any one time, so load 'em up.

#1. Tell people what to do. This is the biggie, the number one guideline. There’s nothing a leader likes better than being told what to do. He loves it. Leave nothing to the imagination. Don’t do irony, and never stump him. Remember that he’s busy transforming visions into reality. Tell-him-what-to-do, for goodness sakes.

Now I understand that this post is way too long and way too in-depth for the modern era, but that's because I have a lot to learn about leadership.

Ken Carroll


If you liked this post...
sign up here for free email updates and special offers


  1. Hello Ken,

    We just wanted to stop by and let you know that we love what you’re doing on your blog – and although it catalogues your work, ideas and inspiration on leadership, we think it’s of genuine interest to many others also. We also wanted to offer up a way for us to work together.

    Who are we? We’re two London based editors with deceptively French sounding names. We travel, read and engage with a lot of information on a daily basis and know how difficult it can be to find interesting and inspiring content both offline but especially online be it music to politics, arts to science.

    So we’re doing something about it by starting ChorusandEcho.com. C+E is way to give our readers informed access to ideas and cities across the World, while at the same time giving our family of contributors a far larger audience and an opportunity for them to make a little bit (but hopefully a lot!) more money from their content.

    We have spent months pouring over thousands upon thousands of blogs and sites and have decided to launch in 20 cities with a handful of blogs in each. We would love to work with you here in London and beyond. We would use the content you post up on your blog, so there’s no extra work for you at all. At the same time you would be credited for any content, which means extra traffic for Ken-Carroll.com.

    We wanted to send you the C+E one page overview, but couldn’t find your email address. If you’re interested in getting involved or have any questions you can contact me at jean-robert [ at ] chorusandecho.com and I’ll get back to you straight away.

    Hopefully we’ll speak soon.

    Luc Le Corre and Jean-Robert.

Speak Your Mind