Monday, October 31, 2011

Are You a Halloween Leader?

Photo by William Warby

Leader / Manager Masks

Many managers and leaders show up each day in disguise. Here are just a few examples of the masks we wear. Do they look familiar?
  • The Boss [Because I'm the boss - that's why!]
  • The Hulk [Don't make me angry - you won't like me when I'm angry.]
  • The Royal Bureaucrat [I haven't got time for your petty concerns - what I'm doing is important!]
  • The Indulgent Parent [There, there, it doesn't matter - I'll take care of it for you.]
  • Mr. Perfect [I've never made a mistake in my life - did you??]
  • The Mystifying Manager [I'll talk gibberish until they're confused and leave.]
  • etc etc.
When we wear masks with our teams it's often because we either feel like we have to in order to be effective or because we just don't know what else to do.

But wearing these masks lessens your credibility. They keep people at a distance - which may keep you safe, but it doesn't help you lead. It really is about credibility - the people you're leading are real and they need you to be real too. 

Effective leaders bring their authentic self to every situation.

Take Off the Masks

Here are a few ways to take off some of the masks we wear:
  • Explain the reasons for requests. Invite people to participate in your vision.
  • If you experience frequent outbursts of anger with your team, talk with a trusted coach, mentor, friend, or therapist.
  • Make time to talk with your team and find out what's important to them. If you really can't meet with someone when they ask, make an appointment with them and honor it.
  • Treat mistakes as learning opportunities, focus on next time, and reinforce the need for results.
  • Periodically share some of your own learning journey. When you screw up, admit it.
  • Speak clearly and to be be understood. If you can't say something because it's confidential, either don't bring it up in the first place or else, be direct, and acknowledge it is not something you can talk about.
Authenticity doesn't mean throwing out wisdom - of course you don't share everything all the time. But in every situation, you bring your real self and are present with the people around you.

What other leader/manager masks have you seen (or worn yourself)?
How do you practice authenticity?

David M. Dye

If you know someone who would benefit from this post or the entire blog, please retweet, like, share, +1, or email it on. Thanks!

Subscribe today or join the discussion at:
Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home