Nobody is invincible or invisible…
I believe that authenticity and transparency are to be the hallmarks of emerging and successful leadership. No longer will leaders be able to hide behind veils of unaccountability, anonymity, and be untouchable. For in this ‘always on’ society there is nowhere to hide. Leaders comments are recorded (emails, voice and video) and later released embarrassing them and their organizations.
When leaders are exposed for who they really are, if there are questions about motive, honesty or trust, the customers, the clients, the followers, and the listeners will leave – and leave in droves – just look at the debacle in both NBA and NFL when recordings of ‘leaders’ are shared. The employee, consumer and the fan will and do speak up, and they make a big noise in this “Always On” world.
Unless the people are allowed to have a dialog, to contribute, and are given space to voice their opinion in an environment of openness, they will seek greener pastures. Look at the recent experience of ‘Facebook’ who heard the voice of its customers.
Men and women of all ages and cultures gravitate towards leaders who are authentic, transparent, vulnerable and approachable, and are repelled by hype, spin and the flash and dash of ‘charisma’. Today’s leader needs to be a “Communicating” leader.
The pyramidal leadership model of hierarchy, based on the military chain of command, is being challenged. It is being leveled to unveil a landscape that is now broad and expansive, and where leaders have the opportunity to involve their followers in the spirit of authenticity, transparency, respect and understanding.
People will no longer be just told what to do!
We see this clearly as the cracks are already beginning to appear in the old leadership styles of NFL, NBA and Sony. The walls behind which many leaders are currently hiding – whether in politics, education, organizations, charities, churches or businesses – these walls are falling quickly. Travis Kalanick stepped down as chief executive of Uber, the move caps months of questions over the leadership of Uber and revelations concerning Kalanick.
To become the respected leaders of the Baby Boomers, the Gen X’s, Gen Y’s and the Millennium’s, along with all of the future generations that will follow – leaders need to put on their listening ears and pay attention to authenticity. People are demanding, and will continue to demand, to be heard. They demand to be acknowledged and respected as contributors, and not just as receivers; they will no longer be just told what to do.
The “Always On” World
Because they demand to be heard, if there is no-one listening they will leave with either their money or their support in search of another who will take the time to hear their voice. That is why Donald T. Sterling lost his NBA team: he told people; he never truly listened. And Ray Rice was caught on video punching his fiancée out cold. Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson has sold his controlling stake in the Atlanta Hawks after an email he sent two years ago that contained racially insensitive comments emerged.
Are you ready to be an “Authentic” leader and to show up? As the demand for authenticity increases perhaps take time to review your communication style, review what you see as working and what is not. People are ready to be led by true authentic transparent leadership.