REAL Glossary

Leadership language is an important part of our leadership toolkit. Being able to use the correct terms and grapple with different concepts enable us to have courageous conversations about our leadership identities, behaviour and journeys.

We have a growing REAL glossary of key terms that come up in our leadership programme, coaching sessions and through the REAL blog and REAL podcast.

  • Allyship: Allyship is the practice of emphasizing social justice, inclusion, and human rights by members of an ingroup, to advance the interests of an oppressed or marginalized outgroup. Allyship is part of the anti-oppression or anti-racist conversation, which puts into use social justice theories and ideals.
  • Authenticity: Being authentic means coming from a real place within. It is when our actions and words are congruent with our beliefs and values. It is being ourselves, not an imitation of what we think we should be or have been told we should be.
  • Change Management: Change management is a collective term for all approaches to prepare, support, and help individuals, teams, and organizations in making organizational change.
  • Coach: Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee or a client.
  • Confidence Gap: Research on confidence in the workplace finds a gap in men and women's confidence, with men being more likely to be overconfident, and women more likely to be under-confident in their skills and performance.
  • Diversity: Diversity is differences in racial and ethnic, socioeconomic, geographic, and academic/professional backgrounds. People with different opinions, backgrounds (degrees and social experience), religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientations, heritage, and life experience.
  • Equity: Social equity is concerned with justice and fairness of social policy. Since the 1960s, the concept of social equity has been used in a variety of institutional contexts, including education and public administration.
  • Fierce Conversations: The simplest definition of a fierce conversation is one in which you come out from behind yourself, into the conversation, and make it real. You know you are having a Fierce Conversation when: You are speaking in your real voice. You are speaking to the heart of the matter. You are really asking and really listening.
  • Gender ‘Blindness’: This term refers to the lack of awareness about how men and women are differently affected by a situation due to their different roles, needs, status and priorities in their societies. (Beware of this ableist term as the use of blindness is problematic when used in this way).
  • Glass Ceiling: A glass ceiling is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that keeps a given demographic from rising beyond a certain level in a hierarchy. The metaphor was first coined by feminists in reference to barriers in the careers of high-achieving women.
  • Glass Cliff: The glass cliff is the phenomenon of women in leadership roles, such as executives in the corporate world and female political election candidates, being likelier than men to achieve leadership roles during periods of crisis or downturn, when the chance of failure is highest.
  • Gravitas: Some people have an authority, a presence, that's often called gravitas. It is defined as “Seriousness and importance of manner, causing feelings of respect and trust in others.” When some people walk into a room, others take notice. When they speak, others listen.
  • Imposter Syndrome: Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. 'Imposters' suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.
  • Inclusion: Inclusion is “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization's success.”
  • Inner Critic: Inner critic refers to an inner voice that judges, criticizes, or demeans a person whether or not the self-criticism is objectively justified. A highly active inner critic can take a toll on one's emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.
  • Mentor: Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. The mentor may be older or younger than the person being mentored, but they must have a certain area of expertise.
  • Motherhood Guilt: The pervasive feeling of not doing enough as a parent, not doing things right, or making decisions that may “mess up” your kids in the long run.
  • Neurodiversity: The term neurodiversity refers to variation in the human brain regarding sociability, learning, attention, mood and other mental functions in a non-pathological sense.
  • Resilience: Resilience means knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, or barriers, or limited resources. Resilience is a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing, and able, to overcome obstacles to get it. It has to do with your emotional strength.
  • Self-care: Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it's a simple concept in theory, it's something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.
  • Self-regulation: Emotional self-regulation or emotion regulation is the ability to respond to the ongoing demands of experience with the range of emotions in a manner that is socially tolerable and sufficiently flexible to permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous reactions as needed.
  • Sponsor: Sponsoring something (or someone) is the act of supporting an event, activity, person, or organization financially or through the provision of products or services. The individual or group that provides the support, similar to a benefactor, is known as sponsor.
  • Vulnerability: It's important to be vulnerable because doing so allows us to share those things which have hurt us, and feel compassion in the act of sharing. And the same vulnerability allows us to experience great new avenues of thought.
  • Wellbeing: Feelings of wellbeing are fundamental to the overall health of an individual, enabling them to successfully overcome difficulties and achieve what they want out of life. Past experiences, attitudes and outlook can all impact wellbeing as can physical or emotional trauma following specific incidents.