Leadership Idioms: 10 Common Idioms about Leadership

10. After The Lord Mayor’S Show

Definition:

Anticlimactic; occurring after something impressive

For example:

The tournament finals were OK, but they had the feeling of being after the Lord Mayor’s show—the big upset in the semifinals were all anyone was talking about.

9. Ahead Of One’S Time

Definition:

Offering ideas not yet in general circulation; highly creative

For example:

Cynthia’s management style seems crazy sometimes, but think about it some more. She might be ahead of her time.

8. Ahead Of The Curve

Definition:

Offering ideas not yet in general circulation; highly creative
Above average; generally performing well.

For example:

Indonesia has a group of young, creative mayors who are ahead of the curve in terms of urban management.

7. (To Be at Someone’s) Beck And Call

Definition:

To be under someone’s total command, to be forced to fulfill someone’s orders or whims

For example:

I spent three years at the boss’s beck and call. At least he paid me well.

6. (The) Man

Definition:

The boss; authority in general

For example:

Did you know our old Indonesian teacher is working for the American military? I wonder how she likes working for The Man.

5. Rake Someone Over the Coals

Definition:

Scold severely

For example:

My boss really raked me over the coals today about being late to work. I need to buy an alarm clock.

4. The Powers That Be

Definition:

People in charge, often used when the speaker does not want to identify them

For example:

You want to schedule your vacation for next month? I’ll check with the powers that be.

3. Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians

Definition:

Everyone wants to be a leader, and no one wants to do the actual work

For example:

Everyone wanted credit for the project and tried to take on a supervisory role. So the project never got done. It was too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

2. Cut Someone Some Slack

Definition:

Avoid treating someone strictly or severely

For example:

Reynaldo has been on the job for only two weeks. It’s natural that he would make mistakes. Cut him some slack.

1. Big Picture

Definition:

A wide perspective; a broad view of something

For example:

Don’t get bogged down in the details. Keep the big picture in mind.