The droning goes on and on. One, right after another. They march up to the microphone, say a few things that people will not remember, then someone else says something forgettable. This takes place on a regular basis, but in recent months, the speeches given by Members of the United States Congress took on a different level of drama. With the discussion of financial crisis at the center of the debate, many new eyes were watching the leaders of this country. What were they looking for? Well, without getting into a debate over politics and opinions, they were looking for something quite simple…LEADERSHIP!!
Again, regardless of one’s politics, I’m not sure you have seen any real leadership in the recent national debate. There’s been screaming, name-calling and in-fighting, but leadership…I don’t think so. People want to follow a leadership who will be clear and articulate a vision in which to rally around. I think people actually want to see that their leaders are real people…people who have faults and then can admit them. That’s part of authentic leadership…I just wish we could see more of it.
An older version of leadership has the leader with all of the answers and leading in an authoritative way (probably not very effective either). But are people drawn to that? Maybe at first, but over the long haul, I’m not sure. Does it make sense, as a leader to put yourself out there in an honest way in hopes that people will do the same? That’s a tough question many leaders may be finding themselves asking.
Authentic leadership means you are willing to be REAL with people You want to hear from them and are willing to let your guard down as well. For some leaders, this can be tough….aren’t we supposed to have the answers. We’ve been conditioned to think and believe the leader has no failures, faults or mistakes. The problem with that unreal ideal, is that few people will be able to relate to the leader. I believe people are drawn to authenticity, especially in leadership. Can there be issues with this new found transparency,,you bet. But the overall result may produce an environment where people can be real with each other and be more effective accomplishing their goals. I’d stay up late to watch that.
Now GO Lead!