In stressing the difference between “leadership” and “management,” the gurus often point out that it takes no skill for a boss to order an underling to perform a task. Yelling, “Tote that barge! Lift that bale!” isn’t leadership because real leadership is about influencing, not ordering. It’s about inspiring rather than directing.
Like it or not, high profile athletes often have great leadership opportunities, though they rarely do more than use these to promote their “brand.” The fact that so many citizens hang on Tiger’s every word may drive some of us bonkers, but it’s also worth remembering that Michael Jordan, who at one time sported the world’s most recognizable face, never so much as uttered a single political thought. When asked about this, MJ’s refrain was, “Republicans buy underwear, too.”
But change may be in the air of Washington, DC, where for years there has been an ongoing debate about the need to change the name of the city’s football team. The only possible defense – and it’s a weak one — for continuing to call the local NFL franchise the “Redskins” is tradition. Rumours have it that Robert Griffin III, aka “RG3,” a young star who enjoys nearly Grezkyesque popularity there, may soon speak out against the name.
Because Dan Snyder, Washington’s owner, seems so smitten by his young quarterback, one wag observed that if RG3 were to demand the name be changed from Redskins to “Subway” (he is a pitchman for the sandwich company), Snyder’s only question would be, “Should we be the ‘6 Inchers’ or the ‘Footlongs’?”