Authentic leadership does not rely on techniques or manipulation. A good leader is real. There are no performances or games playing. What you see and hear is one very authentic person, consistent with their core being, and therefore dependable in all they say and do. Because of whom and what they are, those surrounding them feel secure in their roles.
Humans are feeling machines, and these emotions play havoc with our behavior. What is our behavior if angry, disappointed, confused, or threatened? Even for those who have learned to hide behind a façade of smiles and cooperation, whatever happens behind the face is felt and ultimately revealed.
I believe and have taught that poor leaders are akin to the naked emperor, believing they are dressed in the finest garments, yet everyone sees the truth. Ultimately, bad leaders are always paid back in kind, whether it be in subtle and not so subtle ways. When it happens, the cost is dear, although ironically, failures are often blamed on those closest to the leader.
Conversely, the effective leader is direct and rarely experiences negativity in those close to them. When they do, the good leader is quick to confront the troubled people in their organization and are direct and honest in culling them out or helping them grow into a contributing member. I remember seeing this as a “grow or go” moment. I had them, and I dealt with them.
So, to me, leading was fun, and Lenette and I formed wonderful relationships with the people we worked with. Now, as we age, we are enveloped by grand memories and those kids and staff whom we value as family.
Leaders and leaders—Rare are the great ones, too few—why? A great?
Am I me?
I lead, but am I a leader?
I read, but am I a reader?
I write, but am I a writer?
I fight, but am I a fighter?
We think of ourselves as this or that.
That we know ourselves like we know our hat.
That what we see in the mirror is who we are.
But the mirror is wrong, it tells a lie by far.
Like looking at an apple and thinking it’s a pie.
The mirror is just a reflection of a little white lie.
It is others that know us best.
On this truth you can surely rest.
We can only guess as to who and what we are.
Find a trusted friend, they know you better by far
They know you as they see you.
And if they trust you, they will share what is true.
Pay attention to what your good friend has to say.
If you are open and willing to hear it will make your day.
You will learn something important about you.
And you can bet it is likely true.