I had another epiphany last week – years of working for terrible / bad / disingenuous leaders has conditioned our workforce to automatically disbelieve, mistrust or at least dismiss a fair bit of what those leaders have to say. Many large institutionalised organisations lack leaders at all, they have managers, many managers, who claim to be leaders – think about all those Senior Leadership Teams (SLT) you have interacted with – but no leaders. Leadership is critical to success, without it how will your team know where they are headed? how will they coalesce? grow? evolve? live up to their true potential?
Enough ranting, back to the epiphany story. We were celebrating Brian heading off to lead the charge in our new Melbourne office (exciting times) standing around the kitchen all talking and laughing as we do. Shane was telling a story about our (future) chocolate factory and our plan to buy a conche. One of our team exclaimed – “you are really going to buy a conche? I thought that was just a story …” and that’s when the lightbulb went in my head. Awesome person who has been with us for less than a year but still conditioned to expect spin and fud from their leadership team.
Being genuine in everything we do is a strong personal value for both Shane and I – it is a dimension of our organisational value “don’t be dodgy” and part of what I describe as a strong moral compass, something we are learning to identify in others as we are growing the team. The upshot with us is what-you-see-is-what-you-get, cliche as it sounds that’s the reality and it works. We are open and honest, sometimes to a fault, we don’t spin and we don’t have conveniently constructed stories for marketing purposes (we really did start this so we can own a chocolate factory, a conche, an allergen free cafe – there is a long list and we will do all of it). We are just ourselves, not perfect, so much to learn, loads of energy and noise to drive our team nuts at times, but always genuine.
Today I read something called the Real Leadership Manifesto on Changethis.com – link below. The context doesn’t strictly apply to us but I can completely relate to the description of how the leadership model is broken having worked in Senior Management roles within large organisations, especially within government departments, earlier in my own leadership journey. I did thoroughly enjoy and identify with the messaging on Leading – leading yourself, the thinking, your people and a balanced life; especially with the overall theme of being genuine, as I said before, what you see is what you get takes you a long way.
As an aside another point made in the Real Leadership Manifesto is about Sharing – one of our favourite topics, we share everything with everyone and figure if we’ve had to go through the hard stuff or learned some cool stuff we might as well give everyone one we know a heads up on what we’ve learned just in case it can help them. So we don’t hesitate to share, even our many business ideas because sharing leads to learning and we have so much to learn. It seems we’re not alone there either, try an internet search of the phrase “sharing is the new” and see all the article and blog headlines, sharing is trendy. Sadly there are still many, many people who live by the adage that information is power so sharing hasn’t matured to it’s fullest potential, yet.
Happy leading, Vic.