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Perfect leaders don't inspire anyone

Perfect leaders don't inspire anyone

Last time I claimed vulnerability was the crowning glory that completes a connection.

Rather than describe it simply as a concept, let me show you what I mean.

I don’t know about you, but as I read books I find myself putting the author on some sort of pedestal. After all they’ve written a book and most people who talk about writing a book do no more than talk. The more books I read the more pedestals I create, and the more pedestals I create the taller they become, until I am left looking up into the lofty heights of authordom feeling woefully inadequate. And as I attempt to write my book all sorts of thoughts run round my head. What am I doing? Who am I to write a book? I’m not a professor. I don’t even have a PhD. What am I thinking?

But these people are just ordinary people, who also lose their keys, break things, have arguments, spill drinks down their front, take wrong turns, make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. They have likes and dislikes, they have hopes and fears, they have insecurities and soft underbellies.

When we see people up on those pedestals they become unattainable, unreachable and unconnectable.

On the face of it I have impeccable credentials. I have a Degree and a Masters Degree, I am a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. In my profession I couldn’t aspire to any higher accreditation. In fact the standing joke at home is that despite my frequent stupidity I have more letters after my name than I actually have in my name. And it’s not just the letters. I know I’m very good at what I do. But underneath I am still thinking “at some point someone will switch on the lights and realise I am just working this out as I go along!”

I have led teams. I have achieved results. I have learned from others. I have made stupid mistakes. I have learned from them as well. I’m a real person with experience of what works and what doesn’t simply bringing it together into one place. And that’s exactly what most authors are. They are normal people with some ideas to share. Some ideas are their own, some they have learned through experience, some they have learned from other people.

So what has happened now? A very few of you may have thought “Hmm – this guy clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about” and switched off. But most of you will have thought “I know what you mean! I feel like that sometimes.” And as a result it has become abundantly clear that I’m made of flesh and blood – the same stuff we are all made of. Then turn this into a two-way conversation where you follow with “Well Peter, for me it’s like this…”, sharing what's going on in your head before we know it we are coming alongside each other. There is no pedestal for either of us to stand on. We are in the arena together and we connect.

So it’s time to let the force-field down, to take off the mask and be honest with your team. Because the more perfect you appear to be the greater the distance that separates you – so close the gap by opening up and being honest about what's going on in your head. You will be surprised at the results.

 

 

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