I seldom write on leadership because I am a still a struggling student in that area. So at best, I share my lessons from the school of hard knocks; my personal experience running a business. Need I say, although I have never missed a class, the lessons have been brutal.
I was reading a business book the other day and it advises that you cannot show the people you lead your true face.
It explained that we have many faces and we should show the most appropriate face to get the results we want. In fact, it argues that it is folly to reveal the true status of affairs, especially dire circumstances to the people you lead and love.
I have watched several CEOs literally act in front of their employees. I remember my best CEO rehearsed every scene before meeting with employees.
I have watched great leaders tell lies because they believed it was for the greater good.
I remember visiting a well respected business leader, and in responding to an issue brought to his attention, he spoke very sternly to his employees. As soon as they left his office, he literally took off his mask, and started cracking hilarious jokes. He was like night and day.
I have watched the true-to-self style of a Business Leader crumble an empire. His style was 100% authentic but inappropriate for the business. By the way, he was just being himself.
For those of us who have children, do you sometimes pretend that you are angry when you are not? I know many business leaders who pretend just to get a message across.
If I was myself, I would work from home everyday and cry often to let out steam. But who really wants to see their boss crying? So when I cry, only my husband sees that face.
Can leaders really be themselves?
Or do they need to be the person the people and businesses they lead need them to be?
Leadership is for those who can accept the many faces of leadership.
What are your thoughts?