15+ Common Phrases & Idioms about Leadership in English

In this piece, we will explore some common idioms about leaders, hip, and how they can be used to inspire and motivate our team. As leaders, we often find ourselves searching for ways to inspire and motivate our team. One way to do this is through the use of idioms. Idioms are phrases that have a figurative meaning and cannot be taken literally.

List of 19 Phrases and Idioms about Leadership

  1. (The) Man
  2. (To Be at Someone’s) Beck And Call
  3. (To) Cross All Your T’s And Dot All Your I’s
  4. A Little From Column A, A Little From Column B
  5. After The Lord Mayor’s Show (UK)
  6. Ahead Of The Curve
  7. Big Picture
  8. Call the Shots
  9. Changing of the Guard
  10. Cut Someone Some Slack
  11. Cut to the Chase
  12. Da Man (Slang)
  13. Light a Fire Under Someone
  14. Movers and Shakers
  15. On Point
  16. Put Someone on the Spot
  17. Rake Someone Over the Coals
  18. The Powers That Be
  19. Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians

Phrases and Idioms about Leadership | Image

Useful idioms about leadership in EnglishPin

Expressions & Idioms about Leadership with Meaning and Examples

Examples of phrases and idioms about leadership.

(The) Man

  • Meaning: This informal phrase is mainly used in the United States to refer to a person in power or authority.
  • Example: I honestly don’t know much about the laws; ask The Man about it.

(To Be at Someone’s) Beck And Call

  • Meaning: To be completely at someone’s service and ready to do whatever they ask.
  • Example: The new intern is always at the boss’s beck and call.

(To) Cross All Your T’s And Dot All Your I’s

  • Meaning: To be meticulous and thorough in completing a task.
  • Example: The project manager always crosses all his T’s and dots all his I’s.

A Little From Column A, A Little From Column B

  • Meaning: To choose the best of both options.
  • Example: The team leader decided to take a little from column A and a little from column B to make the best decision.

After The Lord Mayor’s Show (UK)

  • Meaning: Refers to a situation where the excitement is over, and things have returned to normal.
  • Example: After the successful launch of the new product, the team felt like it was after the Lord Mayor’s show.

Ahead Of The Curve

  • Meaning: To be ahead of the competition or trend.
  • Example: The company’s innovative approach to marketing kept them ahead of the curve.

Big Picture

  • Meaning: To see the overall view of the situation.
  • Example: The CEO always focuses on the big picture and avoids getting bogged down in minor details.

Call the Shots

  • Meaning: To be in charge and make the decisions.
  • Example: The project manager has the final say and calls the shots.

Changing of the Guard

  • Meaning: A transition of power or leadership.
  • Example: After the CEO retired, there was a changing of the guard at the company.

Cut Someone Some Slack

  • Meaning: To be lenient and give someone a break.
  • Example: The team leader decided to cut his colleague some slack and give him more time to complete the task.

Cut to the Chase

  • Meaning: To get straight to the point.
  • Example: The manager cut to the chase and asked the employee to explain the issue.

Da Man (Slang)

  • Meaning: A person in power or authority.
  • Example: The new CEO is Da Man around here.

Light a Fire Under Someone

  • Meaning: To motivate someone to take action.
  • Example:  If you want to get this project done on time, you’ll need to light a fire under your team.

Movers and Shakers

  • Meaning: People who have the power and influence to make things happen.
  • Example: The conference was attended by many of the industry’s top movers and shakers.

On Point

  • Meaning: To be excellent and precise.
  • Example: The team’s presentation was on point, and they received high praise from the client.

Put Someone on the Spot

  • Meaning: To ask someone a difficult question or to make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Example: The interviewer put the candidate on the spot by asking about their weaknesses.

Rake Someone Over the Coals

  • Meaning: To criticize someone severely.
  • Example: The manager raked the employee over the coals for their poor performance.

The Powers That Be

  • Meaning: The people who have the authority and control.
  • Example: The decision was made by the powers that be, and there was nothing we could do about it.

Too Many Chiefs and Not Enough Indians

  • Meaning: Refers to a situation where there are too many leaders and not enough followers.
  • Example: The team had too many chiefs and not enough Indians, which caused a lot of confusion and delays.

Application of Leadership Idioms

As we have seen, idioms can be powerful tools for communicating complex ideas and principles. In this section, we will explore some of the ways in which leadership idioms can be applied in business communication and personal development.

In Business Communication

Effective communication is essential for any successful business, and leadership idioms can be a useful tool for conveying important messages. Here are some examples of how leadership idioms can be used in business communication:

  • “Call the shots”: This idiom can be used to assert authority and make it clear who is in charge. For example, a manager might say “I’m going to call the shots on this project” to let their team know that they will be making the final decisions.
  • “Change of guard”: This idiom can be used to signal a change in leadership or management. For example, a CEO might say “We’re going through a change of guard at the company” to let employees know that there will be new leadership in place.
  • “Lead from the front”: This idiom can be used to encourage employees to take a proactive approach to their work. For example, a manager might say “I want everyone to lead from the front and take ownership of their projects”.

In Personal Development

Leadership idioms can also be applied in personal development to help individuals develop their leadership skills. Here are some examples of how leadership idioms can be used in personal development:

  • “Lead by example”: This idiom can be used to encourage individuals to set a positive example for others to follow. For example, a coach might say “If you want your team to work hard, you need to lead by example and work hard yourself”.
  • “Take the reins”: This idiom can be used to encourage individuals to take control of their lives and their careers. For example, a mentor might say “It’s time for you to take the reins and start making your own decisions”.
  • “Rise to the occasion”: This idiom can be used to encourage individuals to step up and take on challenges. For example, a friend might say “I know you’re nervous about giving that presentation, but I have faith in you. You’ll rise to the occasion and do great”.

Business Idioms

Learn common business idioms, expressions and sayings classified by different topics.