Leadership Truth #2 - Great Leaders Live Their Vision
Have you ever personally met one of the top speakers or authors of our time? I have had the privilege of interfacing with many bestselling authors and several world-class speakers who influence millions of people every year. One thing that has struck me as a common denominator with these people is that they all seem to live the life they talk or write about. You do not get to the top of your profession by being hypocritical or leading a double life (unless you are a politician). As Will Rogers said, "The taxpayers are sending congressman on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it, except they keep coming back." The enduring gurus of leadership are the ones who have deep values and live them consistently every day. As a society, we are incredibly sensitive to the slightest hint of duplicity. When you meet one of the great ones, even if only briefly, you know it instantly. It is not a show. It is the real thing.
Every leader has an opportunity on a daily basis to demonstrate congruity or lack of it. If we have the perceptual power to decode a great leader we have only experienced for a few minutes, imagine how well we can read the leaders we witness every day!
There is no place to hide your true self as a leader. If you lead a phony existence and spin things to get a specific result, your people know it, even if you can't see it yourself due to denial. If there is low trust, people will not share their views with you directly, but if you could put a tape recorder in the break room, you would quickly hear what they think. Of course, if you are the type of leader who goes around putting tape recorders in the break rooms, your "clueless meter" is pegged out already. There is just no substitute for being genuine. You can be an SOB or a royal pain in the ass, but as long as you are the real article, people will eventually respect you. Conversely, you can be the nicest, kindest leader on the planet, but if you are holding back, the admiration of your constituents is undoubtedly just painted on.