I was reading the following this morning http://leaderchat.org/2011/03/21/who-are-you-as-a-leader-6-questions-to-help-with-transparency-and-authenticity/ and two words jumped out, authenticity and transparency. These two words are what true and powerful leadership are about.
If you want to be a mediocre leader, don’t worry about being authentic or transparent. People will still follow you, probably because they have to in regards to work, perhaps religion or some other dynamic where we are more trained to just “drink the Kool-Aid” rather than be part of a movement. Being part of a movement is the piece of leadership which requires people participating because they trust your authenticity and transparency.
When people see you as authentic and transparent and perhaps with occasional imperfections it easier for them to relate to you and believe in you. It is exhausting to have to be “on” all the time and while you may think people are buying it; I promise you they are not. Even if they can’t put their finger on it people connect more when those they look to are being really who they are, not who they feel they should be.
Look at Abraham Lincoln. His life was a mess. That man had some serious drama and yet he is considered a great leader. Dr. Wayne Dyer spent a lot of his childhood in foster homes and look at the inspirational leadership he provides. Tyler Perry had periods of homelessness and has known what it is like to be hungry. He now leads on several levels, not to mention has a net worth of $350 million dollars. People don’t admire these people because of perfection, but because of their imperfection. Our daily challenges and triumphants are what make us relatable. They are what make us heroes when we come out on the other side to those just starting the journey.
Does being authentic and transparent mean you won’t be subject to petty tyranny of those of little hearts and little minds? Nope, you will be subject to petty tyranny on occasion. But seriously, given the greatness of your journey, who cares.